Winning Concepts in Retail Design

An Interview with Charles Freestone

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harles Freestone: I am a retail designer, specializing in concept creation and concept sketching. I have been in the retail design industry for thirty years.

As a bit of background, and so you get a sense for how the industry is, I graduated with a design degree from university in Stoke on Trent in the midlands of the UK, and started working in retail design straight from university with a mid-range design agency. This company designed and produced all types of retail displays and merchandising.

Starting as a junior designer, I tried to get myself noticed by finishing other senior designers’ visuals. As 5:30 pm came and staff started leaving for home, I stayed on and finished visuals, attempting to add to the presentations as much as possible. We used marker paper and the old glass-bottled “Magic Markers.” It was difficult, most visual presentations were heading to London and the big names — L’Oreal, Kenwood, Pretty Polly and Yardley — so the designs had to be spot on. I was a junior in the business so I was mainly clearing desks in the studio, sweeping up and refilling marker pens.

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