Written by Rob Lowe

Beach pier

Have you ever walked into a building and felt that you’ve somehow transported elsewhere, as if by magic?

Imagine: it’s a cold winter day in your hometown and you walk into your favorite restaurant or retail shop. Within seconds, thanks to their tropical décor, you feel that you’re no longer in the throes of a dreary winter storm. Rather, you feel warm, light and at ease. It’s almost as if you are spending a relaxing day on the beach, rather than running errands on your lunch break. It’s a familiar sensation, like the one you had when you were on vacation in San Diego — or was it the Bahamas?

Yet, you know that you’re nowhere near the beach. And you’re aware that you’re back to the regular grind of your life. Nonetheless, your deceptive senses are telling you otherwise.

As you scan the room, you see images that remind you of life on the coast. A wall mural the length of the room depicts a cluster of palm trees against a beautiful sunset. A colorful poster displays happy-go-lucky surfers catching the perfect wave on a warm summer’s day. There are pictures lining the walls of fishing boats and happy tourists showing off their big catches. Even the restroom sign is reminiscent of that Tiki lounge where you had one too many. Ah, the beach.

Interior environmental graphics are the agents of trickery that deceive your senses and carry you away to a different place. Sight is one of the strongest of our senses that we use to determine our surroundings. Visual stimuli can trick the mind into buying into the manipulated environments. Yes, you are at the beach — and you should buy something to remind you of your trip!

Yes, all of these graphics are designed and placed with intention. The intention to give you the impression that you’ve entered an ulterior space. And this is what helps persuade you to purchase merchandise with glee. You are on a beach vacation, after all.

There are many ways that restaurants and retail stores use environmental graphics to transform their spaces. From wall graphics to dynamic digital displays, floor graphics to ceiling danglers, window graphics to banners, table tents to directional signage, and everything in between, the graphical options for recreating a space are endless. All it takes is a creative vision, a cohesive theme, and a trusty print partner to turn your restaurant or retail store into a sunny beachfront resort, even in the dead of winter.

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