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Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy  

Last updated: March 09, 2023

This Privacy Policy describes Our policies and procedures on the collection,
use and disclosure of Your information when You use the Service and tells You
about Your privacy rights and how the law protects You.

We use Your Personal data to provide and improve the Service. By using the
Service, You agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with
this Privacy Policy.


Interpretation and Definitions  


The words of which the initial letter is capitalized have meanings defined
under the following conditions. The following definitions shall have the same
meaning regardless of whether they appear in singular or in plural.


For the purposes of this Privacy Policy:

* Account means a unique account created for You to access our Service or
   parts of our Service.

* Account means a unique account created for You to access our Service or parts of our Service.

* Affiliate means an entity that controls, is controlled by or is under
   common control with a party, where "control" means ownership of 50% or
   more of the shares, equity interest or other securities entitled to vote
   for election of directors or other managing authority.

 * Company (referred to as either "the Company", "We", "Us" or "Our" in this
   Agreement) refers to Display Catalyst LLC, 6706 Bugle Run Drive, Oak Ridge
   NC, 27310.

 * Cookies are small files that are placed on Your computer, mobile device or
   any other device by a website, containing the details of Your browsing
   history on that website among its many uses.

 * Country refers to: North Carolina, United States

 * Device means any device that can access the Service such as a computer, a
   cellphone or a digital tablet.

 * Personal Data is any information that relates to an identified or
   identifiable individual.

 * Service refers to the Website.

 * Service Provider means any natural or legal person who processes the data
   on behalf of the Company. It refers to third-party companies or
   individuals employed by the Company to facilitate the Service, to provide
   the Service on behalf of the Company, to perform services related to the
   Service or to assist the Company in analyzing how the Service is used.

 * Usage Data refers to data collected automatically, either generated by the
   use of the Service or from the Service infrastructure itself (for example,
   the duration of a page visit).

 * Website refers to Display Catalyst, accessible from

 * You means the individual accessing or using the Service, or the company,
   or other legal entity on behalf of which such individual is accessing or
   using the Service, as applicable.


Collecting and Using Your Personal Data  

Types of Data Collected  

Personal Data  

While using Our Service, We may ask You to provide Us with certain personally
identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify You.
Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

 * Email address

 * First name and last name

 * Phone number

 * Address, State, Province, ZIP/Postal code, City

 * Usage Data

Usage Data  

Usage Data is collected automatically when using the Service.

Usage Data may include information such as Your Device's Internet Protocol
address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our
Service that You visit, the time and date of Your visit, the time spent on
those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

When You access the Service by or through a mobile device, We may collect
certain information automatically, including, but not limited to, the type of
mobile device You use, Your mobile device unique ID, the IP address of Your
mobile device, Your mobile operating system, the type of mobile Internet
browser You use, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

We may also collect information that Your browser sends whenever You visit our
Service or when You access the Service by or through a mobile device.

Tracking Technologies and Cookies  

We use Cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on Our
Service and store certain information. Tracking technologies used are beacons,
tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze
Our Service. The technologies We use may include:

 * Cookies or Browser Cookies. A cookie is a small file placed on Your
   Device. You can instruct Your browser to refuse all Cookies or to indicate
   when a Cookie is being sent. However, if You do not accept Cookies, You
   may not be able to use some parts of our Service. Unless you have adjusted
   Your browser setting so that it will refuse Cookies, our Service may use
 * Web Beacons. Certain sections of our Service and our emails may contain
   small electronic files known as web beacons (also referred to as clear
   gifs, pixel tags, and single-pixel gifs) that permit the Company, for
   example, to count users who have visited those pages or opened an email
   and for other related website statistics (for example, recording the
   popularity of a certain section and verifying system and server

Cookies can be "Persistent" or "Session" Cookies. Persistent Cookies remain on
Your personal computer or mobile device when You go offline, while Session
Cookies are deleted as soon as You close Your web browser. Learn more about
cookies on the [Free Privacy Policy
template/#Use_Of_Cookies_And_Tracking) article.

We use both Session and Persistent Cookies for the purposes set out below:

 * Necessary / Essential Cookies

   Type: Session Cookies

   Administered by: Us

   Purpose: These Cookies are essential to provide You with services
   available through the Website and to enable You to use some of its
   features. They help to authenticate users and prevent fraudulent use of
   user accounts. Without these Cookies, the services that You have asked for
   cannot be provided, and We only use these Cookies to provide You with
   those services.

 * Cookies Policy / Notice Acceptance Cookies

   Type: Persistent Cookies

   Administered by: Us

   Purpose: These Cookies identify if users have accepted the use of cookies
   on the Website.

 * Functionality Cookies

   Type: Persistent Cookies

   Administered by: Us

   Purpose: These Cookies allow us to remember choices You make when You use
   the Website, such as remembering your login details or language
   preference. The purpose of these Cookies is to provide You with a more
   personal experience and to avoid You having to re-enter your preferences
   every time You use the Website.

For more information about the cookies we use and your choices regarding
cookies, please visit our Cookies Policy or the Cookies section of our Privacy

Use of Your Personal Data  

The Company may use Personal Data for the following purposes:

 * To provide and maintain our Service , including to monitor the usage of
   our Service.

 * To manage Your Account: to manage Your registration as a user of the
   Service. The Personal Data You provide can give You access to different
   functionalities of the Service that are available to You as a registered

 * For the performance of a contract: the development, compliance and
   undertaking of the purchase contract for the products, items or services
   You have purchased or of any other contract with Us through the Service.

 * To contact You: To contact You by email, telephone calls, SMS, or other
   equivalent forms of electronic communication, such as a mobile
   application's push notifications regarding updates or informative
   communications related to the functionalities, products or contracted
   services, including the security updates, when necessary or reasonable for
   their implementation.

 * To provide You with news, special offers and general information about
   other goods, services and events which we offer that are similar to those
   that you have already purchased or enquired about unless You have opted
   not to receive such information.

 * To manage Your requests: To attend and manage Your requests to Us.

 * For business transfers: We may use Your information to evaluate or conduct
   a merger, divestiture, restructuring, reorganization, dissolution, or
   other sale or transfer of some or all of Our assets, whether as a going
   concern or as part of bankruptcy, liquidation, or similar proceeding, in
   which Personal Data held by Us about our Service users is among the assets

 * For other purposes : We may use Your information for other purposes, such
   as data analysis, identifying usage trends, determining the effectiveness
   of our promotional campaigns and to evaluate and improve our Service,
   products, services, marketing and your experience.

We may share Your personal information in the following situations:

 * With Service Providers: We may share Your personal information with
   Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service, to
   contact You.
 * For business transfers: We may share or transfer Your personal information
   in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of Company
   assets, financing, or acquisition of all or a portion of Our business to
   another company.
 * With Affiliates: We may share Your information with Our affiliates, in
   which case we will require those affiliates to honor this Privacy Policy.
   Affiliates include Our parent company and any other subsidiaries, joint
   venture partners or other companies that We control or that are under
   common control with Us.
 * With business partners: We may share Your information with Our business
   partners to offer You certain products, services or promotions.
 * With other users: when You share personal information or otherwise
   interact in the public areas with other users, such information may be
   viewed by all users and may be publicly distributed outside.
 * With Your consent : We may disclose Your personal information for any
   other purpose with Your consent.

Retention of Your Personal Data  

The Company will retain Your Personal Data only for as long as is necessary
for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. We will retain and use Your
Personal Data to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations
(for example, if we are required to retain your data to comply with applicable
laws), resolve disputes, and enforce our legal agreements and policies.

The Company will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage
Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data
is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of Our
Service, or We are legally obligated to retain this data for longer time

Transfer of Your Personal Data  

Your information, including Personal Data, is processed at the Company's
operating offices and in any other places where the parties involved in the
processing are located. It means that this information may be transferred to —
and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country
or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ
than those from Your jurisdiction.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by Your submission of such
information represents Your agreement to that transfer.

The Company will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that Your data
is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer
of Your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless
there are adequate controls in place including the security of Your data and
other personal information.

Delete Your Personal Data  

You have the right to delete or request that We assist in deleting the
Personal Data that We have collected about You.

Our Service may give You the ability to delete certain information about You
from within the Service.

You may update, amend, or delete Your information at any time by signing in to
Your Account, if you have one, and visiting the account settings section that
allows you to manage Your personal information. You may also contact Us to
request access to, correct, or delete any personal information that You have
provided to Us.

Please note, however, that We may need to retain certain information when we
have a legal obligation or lawful basis to do so.

Disclosure of Your Personal Data  

Business Transactions  

If the Company is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, Your
Personal Data may be transferred. We will provide notice before Your Personal
Data is transferred and becomes subject to a different Privacy Policy.

Law enforcement  

Under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to disclose Your
Personal Data if required to do so by law or in response to valid requests by
public authorities (e.g. a court or a government agency).

Other legal requirements  

The Company may disclose Your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such
action is necessary to:

 * Comply with a legal obligation
 * Protect and defend the rights or property of the Company
 * Prevent or investigate possible wrongdoing in connection with the Service
 * Protect the personal safety of Users of the Service or the public
 * Protect against legal liability

Security of Your Personal Data  

The security of Your Personal Data is important to Us, but remember that no
method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is
100% secure. While We strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect
Your Personal Data, We cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Children's Privacy  

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 13. We do not knowingly
collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 13.
If You are a parent or guardian and You are aware that Your child has provided
Us with Personal Data, please contact Us. If We become aware that We have
collected Personal Data from anyone under the age of 13 without verification
of parental consent, We take steps to remove that information from Our

If We need to rely on consent as a legal basis for processing Your information
and Your country requires consent from a parent, We may require Your parent's
consent before We collect and use that information.

Links to Other Websites  

Our Service may contain links to other websites that are not operated by Us.
If You click on a third party link, You will be directed to that third party's
site. We strongly advise You to review the Privacy Policy of every site You

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy
policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Changes to this Privacy Policy  

We may update Our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify You of any
changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let You know via email and/or a prominent notice on Our Service, prior
to the change becoming effective and update the "Last updated" date at the top
of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes.
Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this

Contact Us  

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, You can contact us:

 * By mail: 6706 Bugle Run Dr. Oak Ridge, NC 27310

Display Catalyst Logo

Industrial design for

Get to market with physical retail solutions that sell product and grow your business with someone who puts your needs first. We work in permanent, semi-permanent and promotional materials with a focus on execution.

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Display Catalyst provides custom, made to order solutions, designed by experts and made with quality.

Our solutions help you achieve your goals, quickly with competitive pricing and without attitude.

Physical Retail Solutions
  • Branded Merchandisers
  • Environments
  • Signs
  • Racks
  • Displays
We work in

Permanent, semi-permanent and temporary materials with a focus on sustainability.

Get to market with displays that sell product and grow your business with someone who puts your needs first.

Recent Industry Insights


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11 Jan 2022
5 min read
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Can Retail Displays Be Sustainable?

minute read

Can we even use those words in the same sentence? In my first display job, I worked with a veteran designer who used to joke about “making trash." His point was that the products we make will eventually end up in the trash and that we shouldn't take the job pressure too seriously. We made “major makeup” displays (the plastic fabricated makeup and fragrance displays used in department stores). We created some beautiful counter-top displays that lasted years, but the comment really stuck with me.

Sustainability is a term thrown around everywhere, but what does it mean? If you search with Google, you’ll literally get over a billion results. We know interest in learning about sustainability is strong.

If you are on this page, you are probably thinking about POP displays. Before you hire a consultant, commission a sustainability impact statement, or get rated by an independent agency, let’s talk about what sustainable displays can mean for your business.

The US EPA defines sustainable manufacturing as “the creation of manufactured products through economically sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources."

Our approach is to create the maximum effect with minimal resources. There are cost savings, time savings, and ecological benefits to such a simple sustainability strategy.

We want to make it easy for you. I’ve outlined these steps to help you focus on the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability for POP displays.

7 Steps To Make Displays More Sustainable:

1-Start With Your Creative Strategy

Every project starts with some kind of creative brief. Sometimes those briefs are sophisticated multi-page documents; other times it’s a quick conversation that can be summarized on a post-it note. In any case, you should be capturing some business objectives for the project. Let’s assume one of those objectives is cost. You will also have others. Put them in your brief.

Low-cost and efficient manufacturing requires you to think about the waste factor of materials. How those materials are sourced, fabricated, shipped, used, and disposed of also affects cost.

Embrace designs that can be constructed efficiently. You should be considering the product lifecycle and the health of shoppers, plant workers, and retail associates.

Human health concerns include making displays stable so that they don’t fall over on shoppers; eliminating sharp corners; and other hazards. No one should be hurt making, setting up, or using a display.

At Display Catalyst, we try to steer decisions early in our development process to create better outcomes. Incorporate this thinking into the design brief as part of your definition of success. Elegant problem solving uses simple and cost-effective approaches.

2-Material Selection

Picking the right materials will help make your display long-lasting and align with your sustainability goals. Stick to materials that come from renewable and recycled sources and that can be recycled themselves. The big four you should consider are: steel, wood, paper, and plastic.

Steel is one of the most sustainable building materials we use. It is environmentally conscious because, once made, it can be recycled and used forever. Whether it’s sheet, tube, or wire, it is light, durable, and can be transformed into any shape. Steel is the most recycled material in the world. More steel is recycled each year than aluminum, paper, glass, and plastic combined. Learn more at:

Wood is both a sustainable and a renewable resource. When proper forest management and harvesting practices are followed, wood will be available indefinitely. It is suitable for a broad range of applications and can be readily sourced and processed. You will most likely find engineered wood materials like MDF and hardboard used in display production. Learn more at:

Paper is another one of the most universally recycled products on the planet. It’s not perfect (no material is), but the industry-quoted rate for recycling corrugated is over 90%. In fact, nearly half of all US recycled paper goes into making containerboard (the medium for corrugated board). Learn more at:

Plastics are extremely manufacturable. All plastics are technically recyclable, but the reality is limited to local collection. PET (1) and HDPE (2) are the most commonly recycled plastics; others labeled (3) to (7) may or may not be accepted. In the display and exhibit industry, PVC (3), PET (1), Styrene (6), and Acrylic (7) are commonly used. My personal preference would favor PET over acrylic and styrene over PVC. Be sure to label them appropriately and make these parts removable for disposal. Acrylics and polycarbonates are least likely to be accepted for recycling; use them sparingly and consider your business case.

Be aware that there is a growing selection of renewable materials (cotton, bamboo, compostable plastic, etc.), but they often come at a premium price and may not be economically viable. Remember, simple is better!

3-Use Responsible Suppliers

I know you are interested in reducing costs and waste. Work with suppliers who think the same way. This mindset directly increases efficiency, protects the environment, and makes your budget go further. Suppliers who invest in new equipment and energy savings measures are often the ones who also invest in improving water quality and working conditions. Inquire with your suppliers about their efforts to reduce energy consumption, manage carbon emissions, prevent pollution, and implement innovative initiatives.Make sure their sustainability strategies align with your own; one size doesn’t fit all.

At Display Catalyst, we not only design and source with these strategies in mind, we also make use of them internally. Our offices are home-based, with a remote workforce, which eliminates commuting and work expenses while also improving work/life balance. We utilize energy-efficient lighting, reuse and refit fixtures and furniture whenever possible, and keep all of our work in the cloud. It may seem small, but it’s an intentional part of our overall philosophy.

4-Pack-Out And Shipping

Your packaging supplier will have a designer who will propose the right solution. You must provide the strategy as well as the success criteria. Do you want to save shipping costs (think fuel) at the possible expense of assembly labor, or do you want to save setup time at the potential expense of shipping costs? Here are some options to think about:

Shipping fully assembled:

  • Fully set-up implies better compliance for installation
  • Usually save time and money by sending labor to the manufacturer rather than the retail associates
  • Note: You will always have some store-level assembly, even if it’s just loading product.
  • Empty displays have a lot of empty space. This translates to larger cartons, fewer units per truck, and higher transportation costs.

Partially set up:

  • Ships smaller for better truck load quantities; uses less packaging than fully set up displays.
  • Some in-store setup is required.

Shipping fully KDF (Knock Down Flat):

  • typically the least expensive packaging
  • More setup labor is required, and some packages may be prone to damage.

5-Store Assembly And Set Up

Who is going to set up your display? This is as important as how complicated the process is and how long it takes. As the old saying goes, "time is money!"

Assembly details really matter. Using tools usually implies a slower and more complicated procedure. If a screwdriver is needed, add it to the package! Use clear, pictorial instructions.

Get your team involved in the process before they have to be on the floor surrounded by shoppers, boxes, and confusing instructions. They will have some insight into how to improve the process; leverage this experience. I have seen displays thrown away rather than set up because the associate said “it will take too long."

6-Selected Use Of Lighting And Technology

Video and lighting can really enhance a shopper's experience, but be aware of the added costs and pitfalls. Do you have a support plan to replace batteries or memory cards? If your permanent display uses AC power, are you using energy-saving components? Be sure to do the analysis to know how much power you will consume.

Above all, make sure the components can be separated for service and recycling!

7-End Of Life

Properly disposing of outdated displays is crucial. Remember the “3-Rs”: repair, reuse, and recycle, the key attributes of sustainable design and the circular economy.

Repair: Design your permanent and semi-permanent displays so they have replaceable parts. Damage can happen in the store; make sure repairs can happen when the need arises.

Reuse: Permanent and semi-permanent displays are meant to be refilled. Every product turn makes for a more efficient and sustainable display. Graphic refresh kits can make your display useful for more seasons. When the display period is over, encourage retailers to reuse it for something else.

Recycle: Most importantly, plan for recycling. A single-material display can be the easiest to recycle, but use assembly and fastening strategies to allow dismantling of multi-material displays. By separating the different materials, retailers can properly dispose of outdated displays.

In Summary:

Sustainability is a popular term, but it means different things to different people. Use your business objectives to define what it means to you.

The POP display industry is a long way from implementing a “circular economy," but using some of these tips can foster sustainability in your projects. Sustainability should allow you to reap the rewards of lower costs, maximized results, and a lower impact on the planet.

Let me know how I can help you sustainably build your next retail display project.

John Colby
Founder, Display Catalyst LLC

Sustainability is a term thrown around everywhere, but what does it mean? Our approach is to create the maximum effect with minimal resources. There are cost savings, time savings, and ecological benefits to such a simple sustainability strategy.

View Article

Does Process Matter?

minute read

If you have ever followed a recipe, you know you have to be consistent to get consistent results. Cooking time, temperature, and ingredient mixing are all factors that make one cake great and another a gooey mess.

We produce displays that sell your product to shoppers in the physical world. You know that managing the development of anything requires some discipline. It is important to get the right results, and it is also important to get those results efficiently. You want to avoid wasting your own effort, and you need results. We want to be efficient in getting you a solution and delivering consistent results.

There are a lot of disciplines involved: marketing, sales, design, engineering, project management, manufacturing, etc. Every one of these teams has a process. Our business challenge is linking them all together to deliver great displays while making your life easier. 

  • Our input is your request, problem, or business opportunity.
  • Our output is an executed solution, taking the form of a display, signage kit, or branded environment that solves a problem for you.


In simple words, we do the following:

  1. We work with you to define the problem.
  2. We create a plan to solve the problem and propose a solution.
  3. You approve the solution, and we execute the deliverables.
  4. We ensure that the work is done correctly.

(Circle back on each step as needed.)



Our Process

Years of developing projects, managing teams, and mapping business processes have given me insight into the 4 stages needed to get your POP display project to market.


Scope > Define > Build > Deliver



  • We work together to identify the problem.
  • We create a project brief describing the problem and success criteria.
  • We propose a statement of work (SOW) outlining our steps to solve the problem.


  • We research issues and collect visual reference for the brand, competition, and location.
  • We propose solutions through sketches and renderings.
  • We get your feedback and make adjustments to the creative brief if needed.
  • We refine the concept and present a plan to you with a budget to execute it.
  • We create a prototype of the solution, including a formal timeline and the costs for execution.


  • When you are ready to move forward, we enter into a formal agreement to execute the solution.
  • We work with our suppliers and vendors to create the solution.
  • We manage any risks and confirm timing along the way.
  • We complete the solution and have it ready for delivery.


  • We ship the solution to your warehouse, DC, store list, or representative.
  • We offer installation services to complete the set-up at retail.
  • We will confirm and report compliance with the setup.

We offer full turn-key services, but we can also work à la carte.If you have a concept from your ad agency or perhaps your own retail set-up team, we can work with you as needed.

What this means to you

  • As a client, you will know what to expect and when.
  • You will see progress, and be able to communicate with stakeholders with confidence.
  • You will control expenses.
  • You will see consistent results.


Following a process isn’t a chore; it’s a choice. If you ever baked a cake, you knew to bring your dry ingredients together separately from your butter, sugar, and eggs. This process helps you achieve a smooth and uniform batter. If you propose solutions before knowing a clear business problem, you will waste time and money developing a useless plan.

We know one size doesn’t fit all, but a good process allows you to adapt to different situations.

Talking about “process” is usually pretty boring. For better context, let me show you how our process delivers value quickly. Take a look at our case studies or just reach out for a quick consultation.

We can talk process, methods, design thinking, or just trade chocolate cake recipes; please let me know. I am happy to share and learn.


 John Colby

Founder, Display Catalyst LLC



Spoiler alert: yes, it does. Did I just ruin the story? Let me tell you why it matters.

View Article

Project Briefing And “The Project Triangle”

minute read

Set the Stage for Success:

Project brief, design request, scope document, request form, job ticket, etc. All these phrases refer to the document we drop on the development team to start a project. A project that should meet the client's needs with a level of quality.

Back in the day, I worked for a company that actually used a version of the POPAI creative brief. It was comprehensive and frequently came in with nothing filled in except a note to “come see me” from the salesperson. Later, we simplified the “project request form” to a checklist of deliverables: renderings, pricing, prototypes, production, and a line for dates. In both cases, the project manager, design manager, and designer would all sit down with the salesperson to discuss what was needed and ask all the questions. Meeting and discussing is an excellent approach, and a unifying document gives everyone a roadmap for success.

The project triangle:

The Project Triangle: Scope, Cost, Time / Quality

The project triangle is a model of constraints in project management. You’ll often hear “good, fast, or cheap, pick two.” This old quote tries to capture the constraints of the project triangle. The reality is that you don’t actually pick two; you end up choosing priorities; the other doesn’t go away!

Scope, time, and cost directly affect quality, and balancing these constraints creates the best solutions. Focus your efforts on the success criteria to avoid out-of-scope, out-of-time solutions.

“Scope refers to what must be done to produce the project's end result. In this example, it is your solution and the actions to create it. A well-defined project will have success criteria and still leave room for different solutions.

“Time” refers to the amount of time available to complete the project. This includes the development, proposal, and approval processes, as well as the tooling, manufacturing, and shipping times. Holidays, 3rd party approvals, and changes need to be accounted for.

“Cost” is the budgeted amount available for the project. Beware of projects that have no budget. It may be true that a budget wasn’t yet established, but every project has to pay off. Know the retail value of the product moved by the display and plan an appropriate percentage of value.

Use a brief that covers each of these elements to plan early for success:

To get it right, we work in teams, balancing the constraints in the project triangle with a unifying vision. This vision is expressed in the creative brief. Infuse this document with strategy, and don’t just focus on scope without considering time and cost.

Make your briefing short and concise with clear goals, leaving room for different solutions.

A Free Resource:

Most people don’t want to fill out paperwork if they think it’s a waste of time. Lucky for you, we developed a display project brief to help you organize your thoughts into easy-to-digest sections.

Use this link to download a copy for yourself, and read on to learn how to use it. Use our form as is, or steal it and make it your own.

  1. Client section: The team needs to know the person championing the project, what brand and product line they represent, and how to get in touch with them. You may want to include a project number if you use them; that way, you can track projects with all this information.
  2. Project Overview: The Why and What of the Project. These two questions should provide you with a framework for evaluating any proposals. Why are you doing this project now? What do you hope to achieve (and can it be measured)? These are key elements of scope
  3. Location and budget: where you will be installed, how many you will need, and a project budget (The cost components). Skip this at your own risk. If the champion doesn’t have a budget, try to estimate one that makes sense. Think about the payout.
  4. Product details: these practical details will not only help you determine the final size of your project but are also a quick way to help you measure pay-out (divide your cost by your retail value to see a pay-out percentage).
  5. Graphic details: Key visuals, brand guidelines, and assets should be shared. Use links or server locations to give your design team access. Call out the tone, style, and general attributes of the visuals, as well as any specific claims to use.
  6. Audience: Who is the shopper or target of the display? General attributes are good; psychographics or personas are better! We want to know what motivates the shopper.
  7. Timing: is the third element of the project triangle. It is imperative to know the delivery date of the project. Knowing any key dates will help you develop a workback schedule and plan your effort. You will quickly learn how to identify high-risk projects.

Some Final Words of Advice:

By now, you should see how the brief sets the stage for success and builds the project triangle. Share this information with all your team members and update it throughout the project, especially after each client review.

  • Use the scope elements to evaluate your solutions, stay on track, and avoid scope creep. Your design team will appreciate your not being “too prescriptive” in your request, so leave room for experimentation.
  • Timing is everything when it comes to promotions. It is critical to create a workback schedule. Include time for decisions and multiple rounds of changes. Consider market conditions for material sourcing.
  • Having a cost discussion early in the project is the best way to ensure project viability. I’ve seen cases where a budget is provided and quickly reduced, as well as when an idea is so good that the client goes beyond the budget to make it happen. The vast majority of projects stay at or below the stated budget.

There you have it: scope, timing, and budget captured in one document. Keep in mind that this tool is meant to foster high-quality discussion; it will not eliminate meetings; it will make your meetings better.

If you want to talk process, methods, design thinking, or anything else, please reach out; I love to get feedback. “Come see me.”

John Colby
Founder, Display Catalyst LLC

For more information:

Interesting links to people who study the topics of design briefing and the project triangle:
Peter Philips, Creating the Perfect Design Brief: How to Manage Design for Strategic Advantage
Microsoft's take on the project triangle
Villanova University discussion "the iron triangle of project management"

Project brief, design request, scope document, request form, job ticket, etc. All these phrases refer to the document we drop on the development team to start a project. A project that should meet the client's needs with a level of quality.

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