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some years to come: “Digital and interactive are niche markets,” he says. “That’s not to say there isn’t interest but it hasn’t become widespread because the price is prohibitive for many clients. It was the same when LEDs first came out, people were interested in using them but they couldn’t justify the price.”

BUDGET “Most of our clients have financial constraints and they want more and more for their money - you have to understand what your client’s wishes are and work towards that, that’s why planning is paramount,” continues Saunders. “You might not achieve 100 per cent what they want in the first year but on a three year contract you can achieve a lot more with the budget. We’re not a massive company and we’re not a small one so we’re able to manoeuvre between the two and tweak budgets without compromising projects. Rather than spreading small budgets thinly we focus on the hotspots and let the rest of the centre look after itself.” “Landlords and managers have strong opinions on how they want the Christmas scheme to look but often they want something that’s too big a step in terms of their current theme so we encourage them to take baby steps rather than a giant leap,” adds Lean. “We take things like demography into account and work with the landlord, encouraging them to choose something that complements the scheme rather than suppresses its potential.” For bigger centres, sponsorship could

be a way to add value and offset the cost of the Christmas scheme. Something recently explored by James Glancy Design in London’s Regent Street. “Ten years ago you tended to see

something of two styles clashing - the traditional Christmas decorations sponsored by and sporting the logo of a modern brand like Tango,” explains Glancy. “Often the sponsor would be a film company - like Disney - launching a film at the same time as the Christmas lights switch-on. The logos weren’t incorporated at the design stage but afterwards and it looked ghastly.” The Crown Estate commissioned James Glancy Design to design a scheme with sponsorship opportunities incorporated into the design, as Glancy explains: “Last Christmas there was an association with the Olympics and Paralympics with branding areas integrated into the design. The sponsor has a pre-sculpted area for their logo and it sits within the advertising regulations Westminster Council will allow. It had to have a clear Christmas story [last year’s theme was the Twelve Days of Christmas] so the design had to be calculated to make sure the logo didn’t muddy the message - there should always be a crystal clear Christmas story. “Regent Street has the clout to get a

sponsor. Shopping centres may be less appealing and few would be able to pull it off but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be done.” With budgets dwindling for many centres, finding the funds for an all-singing-all-dancing Christmas display can be tricky. But with a bit of creativity and by working closely with a supplier who understands the needs of your centre and exactly what it is that modern shoppers expect and enjoy about the Christmas decorations they see while shopping, delivering an impressive display needn’t be impossible, even within a limited budget.

The standout festive decoration trends

for this year revolve around putting a modern twist on the traditional, making use of lighting sculptures and light shows, materials like vinyl and acrylic, incorporating digital and interactive elements where possible and moving towards a more varied colour palette. And with a wealth of products and bespoke options to choose from, the possibilities are endless.

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