Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Visual Merchandiser

Visual merchandisers capture consumers’ attention through the placement of merchandise, signage, and interior displays in retail stores and shopping malls.

Also Known As

Display Designer, Merchandise Presentation Specialist, Visual Presentation Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Exhibit Designers (5243.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers (F143) 
  • 2011 NOC: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers (5243) 
  • 2016 NOC: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers (5243) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Exhibit Designers

2006 NOC: 5243.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in synthesizing information to develop new ideas and esthetic and practical solutions to meet customers' requirements; and in planning and developing permanent and temporary or moveable exhibits and displays for museum exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, retail spaces and for other exhibitions


Interest in precision working with drafting equipment and computer-aided design (CAD) software to prepare final designs; and in submitting designs to supervisors and clients for approval


Interest in speaking to direct workers who are erecting displays, making working drawings and models of displays, and positioning spotlights, coloured lighting and other illumination; and in evaluating information regarding developments in materials and styles

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Updated Mar 31, 2019

Most visual merchandisers work for large department stores and retail chains. Their responsibilities and position titles vary from one employer to another. In general, they:

  • Arrange showcases, clothes racks, counters, and display fixtures
  • Design lighting and colour range of merchandise
  • Teach sales staff how to colour co-ordinate clothes racks and counter displays
  • Work as part of a merchandising team, which may include advertising and promotion staff
  • Attend training sessions and corporate planning meetings to get new ideas for fall and spring launches

They also may:

  • Prepare floorplans to scale
  • Co-ordinate construction contractors for major floor changes
  • Unpack, sort, and tag incoming merchandise for display
  • Monitor the condition of products on display
  • Oversee the general cleanliness of the store inside and out
  • Track rates of sale on the commodities they display
  • Design planograms (diagrams or models showing the placement of products) based on store size and stock

Visual merchandisers must be aware of the store’s layout in intimate detail. Frequent shifts of large quantities of merchandise require merchandisers to solve problems and anticipate customers’ needs.

Some organizations have two levels of visual merchandising. One is responsible for the overall look and colour flow of displays. The other is in charge of maintaining window and other displays from day to day.

Displays usually are planned two to four weeks in advance to co-ordinate with special promotions and advertising campaigns. Large companies or chains most often provide signage and prop packages for merchandisers who work exclusively for them. Products may be specified for display and guidelines usually are tight. This ensures store presentations are uniform throughout the company.

Freelance merchandisers who work for smaller chains and independent stores may be able to work under less stringent guidelines. Some do everything from building props to producing signage with computers.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Visual merchandisers ensure stores present a strong corporate image that appeals to their target market. Due to constant changes in the retail and fashion market, they must work under tight deadlines. Peak times vary depending on the store’s target audience. For example, back-to-school time may be busy for a children’s store. A jewellery store may be busier at Valentine’s Day.

Lifting heavier items and climbing ladders routinely is required.

Some visual merchandisers travel from store to store, either as employees of retail chains or as freelancers.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Visual merchandisers need:

  • Artistic ability and imagination
  • Fashion sense
  • Attention to detail
  • The ability to visualize in 3D
  • Problem-solving and communication skills
  • The ability to work independently and on a team
  • Confidence in their ideas and flexibility to accept other people’s suggestions
  • Understanding of basic floor plans and planograms

They should enjoy synthesizing information to develop new ideas and find practical solutions to problems. They should like taking a methodical approach to precision tasks. They should be comfortable directing the work of others.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers

2016 NOC: 5243

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 15 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Feb 02, 2022 and Feb 03, 2023.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Fashion designers design and create clothing and accessories for men, women and children
Personal Suitability: Organized
Tasks: Fashion designers design and create clothing and accessories for men, women and children
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Tasks: Exhibit designers plan and develop permanent and temporary or moveable exhibits and displays for museum exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, retail spaces and other exhibitions
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Personal Suitability: Dependability
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

Visual merchandisers may acquire the knowledge and skills they need by:

  • Working with established merchandisers who are willing to share their time, knowledge, and experience
  • Working in related fields such as set design or interior decoration (for more information, see the Set Designer and Interior Decorator occupational profiles)
  • Taking related post-secondary education

Most employers prefer to hire applicants with related post-secondary education.

Art and design programs are offered by post-secondary schools throughout Alberta.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Visual merchandisers work for:

  • Department stores and retail chains
  • Media promotion companies
  • Independent display companies
  • Fashion show co-ordinators
  • Shopping mall owners
  • Marketing and media firms

Experienced merchandisers who work for large retail stores may advance to senior designer positions. Further advancement opportunities are limited.

Most self-employed display designers establish themselves in the profession before trying to freelance.

Visual Merchandisers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5243: Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers. In Alberta, 75% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook (pdf) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 5243: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?