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TBILISI, GEORGIA - MARCH 11, 2021. Ukrainian flag sign on shop window in support of Ukraine

How Shop Design Can Support Ukraine

The shocking events in Ukraine may seem a long way from the calm interior of a store in a town or city over here, where everyone can go about their business peacefully, but under the surface the connections are closer than might at first be realised.

Primarily, this is because so many retailers have interests in Russia, with big names closing their stores in the country. In addition, UK-based stores are pulling Russian goods off their shelves.

This may be seen as part of a comprehensive campaign of direct action that has extended way beyond governments-mandated economic sanctions and therefore amounts to a tangible step in raising pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Nonetheless, now may be a time when retail store design can play a role in highlighting moral support for the Ukrainian cause. An obvious way of doing so will be to make a temporary change of livery, corporate colours, fixtures and fittings to incorporate the yellow and blue colours of the country’s flag.

While this might not have quite the visual impact of the illumination of buildings in these colours by night, which has been seen in the UK and round the world, but it can still create a striking visual effect and may therefore prove highly popular with customers, whose sympathies are likely to be firmly with any store doing this.

Indeed, it may help retailers looking to boost their corporate social responsibility in new ways. An obvious example might be to place any collection areas for charitable items intended to be sent to the country to help victims, or to refugees in neighbouring countries, next to prominent displays bearing the Ukrainian colours.

While nothing any retailer does could hope to stop the war on its own, it will send out a positive signal about their store’s social and global conscience and make a more lasting visual impression than simply replacing some products because of their country of origin.