Design Trends: Embrace the ‘future nostalgia’ for your brand activations

You want to make a bold statement with your upcoming Spring and Summer 2023 activations and at DisplayWise, we know the key to success lies in staying ahead of the trends and pushing the boundaries of design. 

From ’90s throwbacks, vibrant colours and captivating textures, get your Pinterest and Canva boards ready because we’ve got the latest design aesthetics, tools and trending materials to help get more eyes on your brand campaigns and maximise seasonal sales for your custom displays.

Future Nostalgia

Why not start your mood board by tapping into the aesthetics of decades past and seasonal classics to influence your campaign approach? Think about arches and alcoves through to tunnels and curved silhouettes for your brand activations or custom retail displays.

This curvaceous interior style revival brings effortless drama to your display’s overall look and feel. Try experimenting with curved shapes and sweeping lines to weave a beautiful brand story and visual appeal for your customers. From counters and walls through to seating and product displays, DisplayWise can help you create a comfortable and welcoming environment that encourages shopper dwell time. Of course, traditional geometric and lineal shapes have their structural place too and we can help you find the right balance for your campaign.

Y2K aesthetics is another huge trend that’s gaining traction as the decade marked an era of design experimentation and breaking free from traditional rules. Being familiar with this period, you’ll remember it was characterised by vibrant colours, futuristic graphics, pixelated images and a mix of retro elements. The nineties to noughties trend continues to evoke a sense of nostalgia for the digital and pop culture and we envisage this will ramp up as we enter the SS23 season.

C’mon colour (let’s go party)

According to Pantone Color Institute experts, this season’s colours integrate tradition and innovation, marrying our need for brightness and vibrant positivity with soft tinted tones. Essentially, don’t limit yourself when combining colours. From Cherry Tomato, Persimmon and Pink Cosmos through to core classic such as Tender Peach and Mocha Mousse, you’ve got a great palette to start building your mood board. Why not try out a candy combination or mix bold palettes to add a sense of excitement and energy to the overall design?

We also cannot talk about colour without mentioning the global phenomenon that is ‘Barbiecore’. For Pantone, ‘Viva Magenta’ is not only the colour of the year, the Barbie magenta-pink shade is also having its time in the spotlight. Admittedly, this colour may not be in your current brand guidelines, however, you can’t deny the impact and alluring sensation that this colour and just about every brand has weaved into their marketing campaigns. From Gymshark, Glasshouse, NYX Cosmetics and Superga through to Grill’d, Zara and ChaTime, there’s never been a better time to try out a hue of pink (or something different) for colour combinations in your SS23 campaign.

Graphics and print

Forget Arial, Calibri and Times New Roman. Font creation software applications such as Glyphs, Adobe Illustrator, Calligraphr, FontLab and Fontself are just some of the tools your team can leverage to make a big statement when creating typography and rebel against traditional styles (but only if this fits your brand and campaign approach).

However, its not just about what looks good. Be sure to consider the experience of visually impaired or colour-blind audiences in your demographics too. Your font and typography selections are crucial to ensure accessibility for all customers and improved overall campaign metrics.

Why not delve into retro inspired graphics and prints and discover how your brand can effortlessly recycle nostalgic trends that are sure to resonate emotionally and visually with your target audience. From pop art to optical art through to neon and Memphis-Milano styles, you can start to open up a new world of striking colour combinations, asymmetry and maximalism.

Let’s talk about texture

During the pandemic, we learned to be minimalistic and restrained, but for the upcoming SS23 season, we’re embracing opulence and lavish textures as a key trend in formulating custom display brand stories. Think tactile fabrics, distressed finishes or textured timbers. These surfaces encourage shoppers to lean into your space and be immersed in a full sensory experience of your brand and products.

Conversely, there’s also the organic and reclaimed aesthetic that lends itself to sustainability. Be bold with marble (consider a graphic print if you don’t have the budget) or experiment with natural elements such as woodgrains, jute, seagrass, rattan or hemp textures in your mood board layout. 

Escape reality  

This year is all about escapism after being restricted these past few years and for those shoppers who can’t take the Capri-vaycay, this is the perfect opportunity to transcend space and time. Why not bring the Mediterranean back home and transport your customers to a world of tropical, energised or vibrant appeal? Be sure to throw in an Aperol spritz cocktail (or mocktail) activation drinks cart too which will get everyone Instagramming your brand quicker than you can say TikTok.

DisplayWise can also help you determine ways to create a space within a space by using walling, greenery, vibrant graphics or panelling to help guide your brand journey to the right altitude. If you’ve been nervous about augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR), this is your invitation to dive in and make your brand campaign a truly memorable adventure for your customers.

Fast vs. Sustainable

Fast displays are just like fast fashion – they may seem appealing, low cost and trendy in the moment, but ultimately they lack the quality and longevity of its more sustainable counterparts. This season, sustainability continues to transcend trend status and is instead being positioned as an essential by customers and brands alike. During the briefing process, we conduct a thorough lifecycle analysis and examine every aspect of your custom display journey. This design approach ensures your display elements can be adapted for multiple campaigns and reduces the need for constant reinvestment in new materials, which can also be cost efficient in the long run.

Think about post campaign disposal too. Consider embracing eco-friendly materials like bamboo, recycled glass or repurposed wood along with sustainable furniture crafted from recycled or reclaimed elements. These considerations will not only make your activation campaign truly impactful but also environmentally conscious throughout the entire lifespan. To learn more about taking a sustainable design approach, check out our latest insight article  on why a Sustainable Design Strategy Is Worth The Investment.

At DisplayWise, we’re master story-tellers and take the time to collaborate and develop ideas until they are signed off and ready to go. From roadshows to sponsorship activations, pop up booths to retail displays, we can work with you to develop a great space for your next SS23 campaign that’s on trend, visually stunning and strategically aligned with your campaign goals.

From Efficiency to Innovation: How AI is Transforming Custom Display Strategy

As marketers, brand managers and producers, you’re familiar with juggling multiple tasks, tight deadlines and the necessity to create engaging experiences. But what if there was an AI tool that could be equal parts efficiency and creativity to increase your success and output?

With the rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI), DisplayWise are embracing the opportunity to enhance productivity and automate repetitive tasks. AI has the power to revolutionise business processes and allow us to achieve more in less time. Whilst it’s important to acknowledge that AI cannot replicate social intelligence or creative originality, it should be seen as a complementary tool that can augment human capabilities and contribute to the creation of more innovative solutions. Accenture reports that 75% of organisations could be out of business if they fail to scale artificial intelligence.

As a leading display builder committed to continuous innovation, DisplayWise understands the importance of harnessing the power of AI to stay ahead. Consequently, we asked our team what AI tools they’ve been using to help them automate and innovate and compiled a list of resources to help unlock AI’s potential in your custom display strategy, from planning and scheduling through to personalisation and ideation.

Challenge 1: Project Management, Scheduling and Logistics 
Tools to consider: Motion, Trevor, Asana, & ChatGPT

Managing the logistics of your roadshow or exhibition displays can be a complex task. At DisplayWise, our comprehensive project management services means we do the heavy lifting, solve those tricky logistical challenges and take away the stress so you can focus on what’s important – your brand. Our dedicated Project Management team is there every step of the way, ensuring that from the initial brief through to the final delivery, every stage of the project is managed seamlessly.

By combining our approach and leveraging your chosen AI tool, you can manage resource allocation more effectively, keep track of key milestones and make informed decisions for your campaign execution. Consider using Motion, Trevor, Asana or to enhance project management efficiency. These tools with AI integrations or stand-alone tools, offer features such as intelligent scheduling, task assignment and progress tracking. For a practical approach, ask ChatGPT to present the information in a table format, including key project details, timelines, assigned tasks and progress updates to give you a clear visualisation for team and management updates.

Challenge 2: Meeting notes and creating tasks
Tools to consider: Fireflies, Veed & Otter

Teams meetings, Zoom meetings, WIP meetings – there’s no shortage of meetings when it comes to campaign execution and display strategy planning. With Firefiles, you can effortlessly capture meeting notes, organise them and collaborate with team members in real-time. Veed, on the other hand, offers an advanced video editing platform that can be utilised to extract key information from recorded meetings or presentations. This tool even allows you to transform spoken content into text, making it easier to review, extract action items and create tasks based on the discussions. Another useful tool is Otter, an AI-powered transcription service. It automatically transcribes audio recordings or live meetings, generating accurate and searchable text.

Challenge 3: Enhancing Targeted Marketing Strategies
Tools to consider: ChatGPT,, Jasper and all things Canva (Magic Write, Magic Design & Magic Edit)

To maximise the impact of your display, it’s crucial to align your marketing efforts with your target audience’s demographics and preferences. By implementing a multi-channel marketing approach to your custom display strategy you can increase your audience reach from social media and email marketing through to search engine optimisation and paid advertising

With AI, you can streamline the entire content creation process, save time and ensure that your marketing materials effectively communicate your brand messages. Try out Canva’s Magic tools that offer a range of clever features from generating persuasive copy to designing visually stunning graphics and seamlessly editing your visuals.

You could ask Jasper to help identify key demographics, recommend effective messaging or what tactics you should leverage to reach your target audience and compliment your display strategy. It’s a platform designed for business and specialises in providing data-driven insights and recommendations for marketing strategies.

Why not prompt ChatGPT to generate a list of audience demographics that would benefit from your product or service? Or write a query for to create video marketing ideas that inspire your target audience and generate high engagement on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. Follow it up with a request for suggested call-to-actions on your landing page or a welcome email for new sign-ups too.

Ultimately, the more specific you are, the better the output will be.

Challenge 4: Maximising Audience Engagement
Tools to consider: Chatbots, Augmented Reality (AR) and Sentiment Analysis

Whether in a cluttered retail environment or amongst competitors on the exhibition show floor, custom design plays a pivotal role in captivating audiences. Our highly skilled team of Industrial Designers are passionate about bringing your vision to life and take the time to understand your brand and campaign objectives.

By integrating AR into your display, you can offer virtual product demonstrations or interactive games that capture the audience’s attention and encourages dwell time. Consider the benefits of AI-driven sentiment analysis too which gives your brand real-time feedback and analyses social media feeds to gauge effectiveness of your display strategy. This data can help make relevant adjustments and optimise your marketing efforts to reach its full potential.

Ultimately, harnessing the power of AI to overcome common challenges in your custom display planning and marketing strategies cannot be underestimated. At DisplayWise, we’re committed to pushing boundaries and finding innovative solutions that surpass our clients’ expectations. From sourcing innovative materials to staying on top of the latest design trends, we’re ready to help you create meaningful connections with your audience for your next campaign.