How Much is That Pop Art in the Window: 5 Tips Small Businesses Can Take Away From Andy Warhol

The 1950s were a trailblazing era in artistic freedom that bloomed as it intersected with new innovation. For the first time in history, visual artists were able to establish themselves as household names and icons in their own right. The most popular, Andy Warhol, became the pioneering figure in revolutionizing creative advertising as a form of artistic expression, building a name for himself as a window dresser for department stores. Beginning his career as an illustrator of ads in print magazines, Warhol blurred the line that once separated fine art from the commercial appeal. Thus a movement was born, and with it came a few creative principles for revolutionizing your approach to creative advertising. 

Window Shopping

For artists at the dawn of the pop art movement, the most valuable real estate came in the form of window displays just off the fifth avenue in Manhattan. It was here that their fine art would be displayed in coordination with the commerce of fashion. For the first time, shoppers were exposed to a world of advertising that not only promoted products but engaged with them on an artistic level. Warhol’s twist on window dressing began in the form of perfume ads for the Bonwit Teller department store. From his first piece, a set of wooden boards with his artistic scrawlings of cats, playing cards, and perfume bottles arranged arbitrarily, those in the know knew something special was happening. His iconic 1961 piece with paintings of comic book strips and newspaper headlines fronted by stylishly dressed mannequins emphatically demonstrated Warhol’s crafty marketing approach, utilizing a boundary-pushing aesthetic as a means to showcase a product. It connected consumerism and artistic expression and brand building in ways never seen before. He dug deep to find not just a way to sell but a way to sell AND say something simultaneously. Finding your creative inspiration and what you have to say builds an undeniable synergy and unforgettable brand.

Comic Unconvention 

Shoppers used to the demure and reserved nature of prior displays were shocked by the sight of Warhol’s punchy, subversive installations. But as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad press. His eye-popping paintings and use of comic strip panels commanded the attention of passing shoppers on their trips up and down 5th Avenue and in turn, got the heads of marketing departments talking. These bombastic displays inspired advertising agencies to take note, inspiring a revolution in the world of marketing & advertising. When assessing your own strategy to visual advertising, consider expanding the reach of your own campaign and challenging the status quo. Modern approaches to outdoor advertising allow you to adapt Warholian window dressing strategies in a manner that is both cost-effective and visually appealing. Bring the classic elegance to life with the help of window decals, offset on the interior by an adjoining backdrop. The combination of the interior and exterior contrast offers an artful, eye-pleasing display for prospective shoppers or patrons.

Everywhere You Look

Warhol famously used motifs of familiarity in his work, incorporating consumer culture with that of mass media to create something easily recognizable to general audiences. Utilizing a pattern of repetition, Warhol’s work became recognizable and accessible to the masses. There is much to be learned from Warhol’s principles of familiarity. A small business’s approach to their visual identity is all about establishing a distinguishable piece of iconography that is synonymous with their brand. One of Warhol’s most famous works, the Campbell’s Soup Cans, resembles the original mass-produced, printed advertisements he was inspired by. That pantry staple would grow to be the signature motif associated with Warhol. Taking notes from Warhol’s methods can be greatly beneficial in your journey to build brand recognition in the minds of your customers. A simple association between your product’s iconography and that of everyday items establishes a strong connection with your core group of consumers. Translate that motif into a strong selling point for your brand. Promotional materials like custom mugs are perfect for expressing your motif and immersing your brand into the familiarity of everyday life. 

Risk it for the Business

Even after his passing, Warhol’s legacy for innovation still looms large in the realm of visual marketing. His career was proof that it doesn’t take provocative or scandalous art to draw attention. It takes intelligent, well thought out art. Embracing his eccentric personality and turning it into a brand in and of itself is the feat that propelled his work into the hearts and minds of creative generations past and present. This disruptive approach to branding is a concept you can use to keep your own marketing fresh and original even when you become the venerable gold standard. Riding high on disruptive waves allows you to explore new and exciting creative avenues, paving the way for a plentiful business future – setting and tempering the trends of the market. Think outside the business card box and embrace more unconventional delivery methods. Circle business cards, or even triangular business cards, are excellent as standout pieces for respective clientele. 

Art’s House

Recognizing business as a form of artistic expression allows you to translate your products or services from a casual commodity into something more. Art is capable of transforming serviceable goods into vehicles of engagement. Think about the feelings you wish to evoke in your customers and how those feelings can better inform your decision making when approaching business. Create an artistic vision that best aligns with the intellectual and spiritual impact your brand has on consumers. Express that essence by building and establishing more creative messages, experiences, and stories that sell your brand.

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