Types of Window Displays

Window displays advertise the goods for sale inside.
Window displays advertise the goods for sale inside. (Image: Shop Window image by Imagine-Imaging from Fotolia.com)

A large glass window is an opportunity to send a message out to the world. Most frequently used by commercial establishments to exhibit the merchandise they have for sale, window displays combine the advantages of public exposure and security. Holiday-themed window displays are also common in private residences around Christmas.


The commercial window displays that are familiar to most people are those in the front of clothing stores that feature mannequins dressed in fashionable clothing. Clothing store window displays are designed to make clothing look desirable and draw customers into the store. Most retail stores have window displays of one type or another, whether they are electronics stores, shoe stores or food outlets. The front window is the first impression that any potential customer has of a business, so it's an important advertising vehicle.


People who celebrate holidays often put displays in their front windows to reflect their beliefs and celebration of the season. Christmas displays may feature candles or representations of the birth of Christ. Less religious displays often feature miniature trees, presents and images of Santa Claus.

Museums and Galleries

Museums and galleries use their front windows to publicize current shows. Curators often place artworks in front windows where they can be seen by passersby in an attempt to draw people into the museum or gallery. While galleries are frequently playing a commercial role in that their artworks are for sale, museums are generally less commercial, in the sense that they are not selling the works on display.


More elaborate front window displays often incorporate movement to make the display more interesting and to draw public attention. This can be done through the use of mechanical dolls or mannequins or moving models and toys such as train sets. Innovative window dressers sometimes utilize the services of actors, dancers and models as live entertainment in the front window.

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