At Fort Fisher, we used design and graphics to transform the gift shop space into an extension of the aquarium’s unique environment. Through a 4-sided cash register area and display cases to create an underwater scene, we crafted a seamless transition from the gallery to the gift shop. The bright water colored graphics make the cash wrap pop from afar, and its square shape and animals in the wrap design give the illusion of it being another exhibit space, eliciting curiosity and beckoning visitors to step inside its doors.
In the gift shop, we hung a series of printed fabric banners featuring photos from the aquarium photographer of popular animals. From the entrance to the back of the store, these banners added movement and hid pipes and electrical wires above.
Not only did we wrap the outside of the display cases, but we also encased the insides to maintain the continuous illusion of water. In the collaged graphics, we hid rays, shark’s teeth, shells, and shipwrecks to encourage visitors to explore each element by walking around the entirety of the store. We also made the inside of the merchandising cases appear as if visitors could see through the top of the water and into the bottom of the ocean so merchandise would stand out in a sea of color and texture.
To make the experience consistent even when the store was closed, we also wrapped the roll-up security gate in a simple water texture. The outside windows also feature wraps that hide the outside of the gift shop, thus keeping visitors engaged. We used recycled mural materials to wrap window display boxes and provide the retail team with additional décor pieces that could be reused.
Once complete, visitors not only enjoyed their gift shop experience more than ever before, but foot traffic increased and business was up up over 13% year-over-year after the renovation.