Once upon a time shops would look proud of themselves. Sydenham road was actually beautiful. Shop owners would stand outside of their shop with a look of pride on their faces. Goods would be beautifully displayed. Signwriters, signmakers and glass cutters (these were generally from the area, all had their own styles and would help give an area it’s own visual identity) would make the most humble of businesses beautiful.

These shops aren’t exclusive boutiques. They simply believed in enticing people into the shop by making their store as attractive as possible. They had pride in their appearance. Even a humble dairy or fruit and vegetable shop. They were beautiful.

Some shops were so proud of where they were, they put the name of the road on the shop. We did this with Billings. Most shops these days don’t even put the number on the shop front. We think they should by law.

Today Sydenham Road is pretty shabby. Compare the above with the same road today:

Much as we love Mustis above (which is what everyone calls the store) the signs hasn’t changed for years, it pre-dates the current owners (Musti is one of the friendliest shore owners in Sydenham). Garam Masala have put tiles more suited to a toilt on the outside which is totally out of keeping with the building.

Many people say this is a great dry cleaners. We use another one, despite this one being cheaper and nearer to us. It doesn’t look like it will do a good job. For months they actually had a mouldy wedding dress in the window. IN 4 years they haven’t cleaned the shop front or cleared the tags off the roller shutters.

If you take over a business, invest in new signage. Spraypainting over the old name is not going to win you any customers! It makes me question how they treat the food if they think this is acceptable.

The sign on the right broke one windy night over 2 years ago. They still haven’t fixed it. I’m not sure what that says about what they sell or customer service. To us it makes the shop look like it doesn’t care. It’s interesting historically though!

The sad fact is that it’s cheaper to repaint an original shop front than rip it out and install a new one. Quality signage and signwriting isn’t that expensive.

So shops in Sydenham currently look like this:

But what if:

Same shops, same shop fronts, same prices. Just new signage, awnings and a bit of paint.

Which one would you rather shop in? Which one gives you a better impression of the high street, customer service and quality?



4 Responses to “WHAT IF SYDENHAM”

  1. 1 j April 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Love your work, please do fix the links in the finishing lines of your post though…

  2. 2 Lee @ Designed By Good People April 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Thanks J, the links are now fixed! I’m not sure why they weren’t working. I will have to check back through other posts. All the best, DBGP

  3. 3 Becky Hall March 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Bexley council have funded new shop signage for sidcup high street don;t know why they can;t rejuvenate Sydenham.

    • 4 Lee @ Designed By Good People March 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Hi Becky,
      we are designing 12 of those shop fronts in Sidcup! The funding comes from the GLA and is part of the Outer London Fund. We have been involved in a lot of these schemes around London.

      Sydenham applied for round 2 of the Outer London Fund, but didn’t get funding. SEE3, the Portas Pilot do have money for signage, and we have given them lots of ideas and advice for what to do, but nothing has happened in Sydenham yet. We support SEE3 but are a little disappointed that they haven’t publicised this project, but unfortunately they don’t seem interested unlike many other councils and the GLA. We have tried to make a difference locally and have helped some great local businesses like Billings, On the Hoof and Trattoria by supporting them with design work for free.

      It would be good if SEE3 publicised good design and made it a priority and used the SEE3 communication channels to help shops with their mechanising, appearance and with planning issues in one go to online portal.

      Thanks for commenting on the site Becky,

      All the best


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