We all know that Apple does it right. Everything they touch these days, from products to services to software to ads, turns to gold.
And their stores are no different. Each element is thoughtfully designed with the others in mind - lighting works with sound works with staff works with product works with layout works with displays. It's a gorgeous orchestration of a whole bunch of variables.
When I was last in the Apple store, I noticed something particularly extraordinary about my surroundings. All the people looked great. Seriously! They didn't become good-looking or well-dressed, and many certainly still had that Midwestern Tourist thang going. But yet, each person looked more alive, more colorful. If I had to picture the "typical Apple user," suddenly they seemed to be all around me. In fact, I seemed to be one too!
I feel that the store's color palette is serving this exact purpose. It's mostly white and gray, but for a few bursts of color on certain highlighted products. The real colors that stand out - besides the startlingly bright blue screens on the iMacs - are the colors of the people. Their clothes, their shopping bags, their hair and skin. People in this store look switched-on. Like they're looking to the future, the next big gadget that's going to rock their commute or drive their business plan. They actually look like Apple users, the minute they step into this space.
They say that space can make people behave in new ways. Like the romantic candlelit restaurant that prompts you to tell your boyfriend you love him. Or the open field that inspires you to run and do cartwheels. Or the office cubicle that makes you lower your voice and develop bad posture.
If your environment can change your behavior, Apple has mastered this technique. They have designed stores that act as a template, a backdrop for people to look and feel cool. The shoppers that surround you are on display; they look brighter, smarter and more alive. They make you want to join them. And how do you join them?
Chances are, you join them by buying an iPod.