Barbara Wright: Principle #3: Pyramid Power

optical design practice design Barbara Wright INVISION

Use varying heights to add interest to frame displays

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of INVISION.

Remember Pyramid Power? Back in the 1970s, some people thought pyramids held the secrets to good health, longer life and even fabulous riches.

We don’t know about any of that, but we can say for sure that the Pyramid Principle works in retail display, whether on shelves, showcases and tables or in a window display.

Here’s how to do it: Place one frame at the highest point of the display. Let all the other elements “step down” from that point, and you’ll have a very effective pyramid display. The top focal point attracts the shopper’s attention, then the eye naturally explores the different levels of product and props.

The photos here show how the principle can work with as few as two frames or as many as 20. All you need are some frame holders of varying heights and a few props — or you can even use your props as the frame holders! Stack some books, boxes or what-have-you into a pyramid, then arrange your frames so one is at the top and the others step down below it, and you’re done!

Use your imagination. Some shapes may resemble that of an Egyptian pyramid, but others may be more free-form. The key is adding interest through varied heights.

Best of all: This principle always works. You really can’t construct a bad pyramid display!

Pyramid displays (top to bottom) : One Hip Chic Optical, Pascarella Eye Care, Vision Inspired Eye Care

Barbara L. Wright heads one of North America’s most award-winning and successful optical design firms, Barbara Wright Design. Barbara’s lively personality and humorous style backed with 30 years of “in the trenches” optical design experience make her a popular speaker and author. Get her free educational articles and videos on visual merchandising at