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Duty Free Store

Windsor, ON, Canada

Frame work

Ideation Studio teamed up with a famil- owned and operated Duty Free retail store at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to re-brand their identity, address dead areas on their sales floor, and ultimately set them up to be more attractive to higher-end vendors and elevate their business.


Design Solution

The brand identity issues were addressed by simplifying the 1990’s theme park aesthetic, using a series of design methods to achieve this end without the expense of extensive re-construction. The first approach we used was to draw the eye away from excessive detailing of the walls and ceiling in the double height space by lowering the visual plane below the detailing we wanted to minimize. Secondly, we used dark colors to help minimize the visual clutter above the new plane of lighting. Below the new visual plane that was created we focused on consistency in finish, height, and aesthetic of the retail fixtures to create a clean visual that belonged to Windsor Tunnel Duty Free Shop, rather than each individual vendor.

We were easily able to identify the traffic flow issues for this retail location because the existing layout was in the shape of an obtuse angle. Therefore, when customers entered on one side of the angle and were facing the liquor department—which was the primary draw for the store—this left the other leg of the store underutilized. Customers could easily come in, purchase their liquor, and leave without ever investigating other product categories. To address the dead areas on the sales floor, we determined that the best solution was to create a new store entrance and a new flow of traffic. The new store layout created a “Path of Experiences” where the customer journey pace is slowed down through a series of merchandise display speed bumps in each department leading to the liquor. This layout increases the time in store for customers and encourages them to interact with all the product categories before they can exit.

We designed many custom retail fixtures as a part of our comprehensive solution for a retail store containing many different and unique product categories. Upon entering the store, there are lifestyle fixtures telling an entire merchandise story. As guests explore further in the store, they encounter a number of interactive experience points for each product category. Overall, there were fixture solutions for everything including specialty foods, fragrance, beauty, fashion, and of course beer, wine, and spirts.

The new logo identity utilizes a classic Canadian red, paired with neutrals for a clean and contemporary aesthetic with a pop of color that matches the new retail store design. Additionally, the clever new logo symbol not only represents the iconic tunnel that connects Windsor and Detroit, but a shopping bag as well. A perfect visual solution that communicates the two most important attributes of this unique retail store.