ATTEN: POP people

can you offer me some insight to what your career as a Point of Purchase designer entails?

I’m a P-O-P Designer!
I used to work for an agency where you’d be doing different stuff everyday. Anything that your client would want, you’d design it for em’, kiosks, free-standing merchandisers, signage, packaging, brochures, menu cards, photo-shoots of hot beer babes, promotional premiums ext…

I’m now designing for a POP manufacturer so I pretty much design stuff that isn’t too far off base from our core products.

POP is usually broken down into 2 categories, temporary POP & Permanent POP.

Temporary is the seasonal promotional stuff, usually real nice printing mounted on low cost corrugated cardboard, something that will be thrown out at the end of the promo. If you’re into package design, this is probably up your alley.

Permanent POP is stuff made out of wire/ metal wood that will last in a store for over a year, commonly referred to as a “rack”.

If you tell people that you’re a POP Designer you may be asked, “Structural or conceptual?” Conceptual Designers draw the pretty pictures that the sales guys present to the client. The client picks out a winner and then takes it to the Structural Designer to figure out the nuts-n-bolts.

Then you get your boss to fork out some cash to enter your design into the POPAI show. This is it in a nutshell of course. To be a good POP designer you must know ALL OF THIS STUFF from concept to completion. Of course it takes time but I would consider it to be one of the most challenging and creative forms of advertising.

…here’s some POP publications you might want to check out…


That pretty much sums it up I must say. My previous positions back in the UK (I’m in Canada now) had me “owning” the project from concept to prototype so it can then be sent on to production…so yes D@wg is right in that you have to know a lot about manufacturing techniques so that you can generally build things the cheapest way possible.

On the conceptual side of things having a good sketching ability is essential because of the fast turn around times generally needed in this industry…knock out a bunch of quick ideas by hand, finalise one or 2 ideas in a rendering…that’s to scale so the customer knows exactly how many bags of chipos they’re gonna squeeze on that rack and then either palm off the idea to 50 yr old engineering guy in the corner who has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about young guys who have no idea how things go together (we can’t make that for that amount!) and sit back and watch yo0ur beautiful design be butched by the backroom staff…

or draw up your own technical drawings find out screw sizes, what plastics you can buy in what colour (colour matched ?’ll need more cash buddy!) and then find out that your design is critical to a special acrylic which has an 8 week lead time but the customer wants 300 units shipped to every supermarket by Friday (and it’s Tuesday!)

However, a better way…as I have found, is to work for a company that doesn’t even do production…they make design recommendations and the customer then picks their own supplier who has to figure out the sht while I get to go home at a decent hour and not be bothered by fckwits who can’t glue a piece of acrylic straight without blobs of sh*t all over it!


POP…you gotta love it!

LOL! How did you know what I was working on today?!?

An agency is definitely a better place to start. I never had to deal with production because it was outsourced. we could send the design to 2 or 3 manufacturing companies and they would send you samples. If there was sh*t all over a piece of acrylic on a sample you could just give the job to the manufacturer that got it right.

I didn’t log in before…

yeah I much prefer not having to deal with in-house manufacturing I find the company tends to be less design orientated and more about getting things out the door as quick as possible with an eye on money money money!

I’m currently in POP in Toronto, Canada and looking for a change. Do you guys know of any companies I can talk to who maybe looking for an engineer with design and manufacturing experience?[/quote]

I’m in Toronto too…PM me to compare notes if you want
I know of one company who is looking for a new designer, the owner called me the other day.