The Promotions Lab at UW-Stout’s Business Department is home to Retail students during their Visual Merchandising class. In the lab, students receive hands-on experience in visual design.
“We are very fortunate to have this space available at UW-Stout,” Professor Meriem Chida said. “It helps students link between theory and application.”
Students learn about the importance of lighting, color, design principles and elements, business principles, and visual storytelling. The Promotions Lab is a unique asset as students have access to top of the line props such as mannequins, slat walls, grid walls, five medium window displays and one large window display, and display tables. The lab also has tools like staple guns, glue guns, and ladders. The Retail faculty replenish the lab each semester with supplies such as paper, tape, and additional props needed based on the previous year’s demand.
Retail majors have the opportunity to bring their projects to life in the Promotions Lab. Students apply theories learned in class to propose a display for a real brand. In doing so, they learn visual merchandising strategies such as how to align a promotion with the brand’s image, what not to do, and how to push traffic to the store. Students quickly learn the importance of “where the eyes go, the feet must follow.”
“We learn how to advertise and promote our products through our displays,” said Jordyn Danielson, a sophomore in Retail. “The Promotions Lab teaches us a lot more than just supplies. We choose how you see things before you even go into a store.” The lab is open during class. It is also open during office hours, and by appointment, should students need to work on project design when faculty or a teaching assistant is available.