White Out

With the pace of retail faster than ever, the chance to pause, slow down, or take a moment in time is the ultimate luxury. Brands are looking to stark, white colour palettes and calming retail environments to create the perfect space to sell to consumers.

To ‘pause’, to cut out the white noise, to create something ethereal, gentle and diffused is a trend permeating visual marketing. It is a trend forcing brands to talk about and showcase products in a different way. Time is a new luxury and taking a moment ‘to pause’ is reactive to the demand to slow down and take stock.

New research has suggested that shoppers are more likely to buy products with more space around them. Brands, therefore should consider soft, fluid layers and a weaving customer journey. Retail design should take inspiration from the trends in mindfulness and wellbeing, incorporating design touches such as open-plan layouts, minimal décor, soft lighting, and natural materials.

Intended to stimulate the senses without overwhelming, mindful design aims to relax and re-focus those who visit the space. Entirely white retail space also offers a blank canvas for retailers, who can play with contrasts, with brightly coloured clothing or fixtures popping against white flooring and walls.

This trend ultimately follows the rule that ‘less is more’. As consumers, we are on the verge of ‘peak stuff’ and by simplifying the retail experience, brands can celebrate one important message or emotive response with visual and textual toning. The ‘stuffocation’ or anxiety caused by too many material objects and the need for human connection have fueled these changes to retail design. This calming and tranquil retail environment creates a pause, or a break from the fast-paced selling of bricks and mortar stores.  

This basic palette highlights materials with soft white and light grey tones creating a pure and crisp aesthetic. Stark white is a cleansing colour level, echoing advances in refined technology and a shift towards elevated colour usage. Materials use texture and pattern, playing with light and shadow to create interesting, tactile surfaces.

Ultimately, this trend creates a period of pause by providing shoppers with a calming, capsule environment and a breathing space from the hectic shop floor, enabling shoppers to unwind in a retail haven. 

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