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Eastman and Auburn University Results from Student Retail Design Program


Auburn, Ala.– Eastman Chemical Company and the Department of Industrial Design at Auburn University unveiled results from their retail design program, in which students research real-world design challenges and develop cutting-edge displays.

The students’ final designs included displays for DVDs, coffee, linens and an overhead “skyline” fixture for self check-out kiosks. The semester-long project was documented by the students in a dedicated blog (, which features their research findings and final concepts and serves as a resource to the larger design community.

At the outset of the project, students explored retail spaces and interviewed store personnel to gather insights about day-to-day re-stocking and merchandise visibility challenges. Based on their findings, students developed concepts for in-store fixtures and point-of-purchase displays to address the needs of the retailers, such as broken fixtures and overcrowded shelves.

Students also experimented with the properties and design flexibility of Eastman Spectar™ copolyester. Guided by Eastman’s experienced engineers, they learned about thermoforming, heating, freezing, bending and decorating Spectar. Exploring the design possibilities of the material helped students further conceptualize their designs.

“From merchandise sprawled on the counter tops to a tower of disposable lids inching ever closer to covering the floor, we had a great opportunity to collaborate and solve a problem,” said Alex Spurrier, design student, whose concepts were solutions for a local coffee shop.
Eastman Spectar™ copolyester’s design flexibility and impact resistance enables retail designers to deliver unique shapes, textures and effects because fabricators can cut, saw, drill and bond sheet. The material’s clarity also enhances the visual appeal of merchandise on crowded shelves, and its durability allows it to stand up to repeated customer abuse.

“The students of today are the designers of tomorrow, and they will shape the future of innovative retail environments,” says Adia Delaney-Jackson, Market Development Manager for Visual Merchandising at Eastman Chemical Company. “Providing students the opportunity to exercise their creativity with Spectar represents our commitment to sharing our material expertise with designers, who play an increasingly vital role to creating cutting edge retail environments.”


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