Posts Tagged 'se26'


Kirkdale has two distinct areas separated by a long residential area. Many people don’t know the top part is still part of Kirkdale.

Could this grey wall could be put to better use?


But what if:


Well, we did. The above is a visual. This is the finished sign:


And here is the signwriter, Peter O’Connor lovingly applying his craft.

The full story can be found HERE.

Local reaction to the signs can be found HERE.


We were approached by the owners of Barakah after giving a talk at a local traders group to look at their shop front.


We got one of their mailers through the door a long time ago and were seduced by it’s uncoated paper and smart black and orange livery. It felt quality, something rather different to the usual glossy, over complicated rubbish that falls through our letterbox. We kept the menu and when the food turned up we were pleased to note that the quality of the food matched the expectation.

It was some while later when we realised that the place we were ordering from was a 5 minute walk from our front door and looked nothing like any of the marketing material that they were sending out.

So the job here would be simple. Make their shop look like the brand they send out to thousands of homes in the area and make it reflect the surprisingly good quality food that they send out. So we have used their logo and colours.

A bit of black paint, a re-skinned light box in black and orange and some new window vinyls and black brick tiles to tidy up the stall risers can make a huge difference.

Before it looked tired and didn’t match their brand. But What If…

If you haven’t tried them, give them a go:

UPDATE: you can read more feedback here on the SYDENHAM FORUM.



Originally there would have been some painted signs on this building. When I first came to Sydenham I didn’t notice the station was down there. There are no signs to announce that you are in Sydenham.

We love the idea of art being relevant or functional in some way.



Sydenham is getting an expensive makeover of station approach and On The Hoof, our new rather fab station cafe with seating outside. It makes sense to celebrate this in some way. It also makes sense to advertise Sydenham’s great transport links now we have the Overground.

We have had this idea for a while now and presented it to the SEE3 group as funding is available for signage in Sydenham, Forest Hill & Kirkdale. We are also advisors for the GLA (Greater London Authority) who are supplying the funding (we are designing this for free, as all the ‘What If Sydenham’ projects have been, this costs US money!).

We also included a visual for Property World’s ‘panel’. We normally approach business before we do this sort of thing, but this time we thought we would do it the other way around (we hope they don’t mind, but it gets them some free feedback). Property World are very active locally and support out local arts festival and the ‘Arts in The Park’ in Home Park (which we also support with free design work). We understand that PW actually rent the advertising space but for ages just had one of their plastic ‘LET’ boards in there for a property that was no longer on the market. They kindly took it down after we posted on a local forum kindly asking them to remove it, which they did (we gave them a bottle of champagne as a thank you) which shows that they are very community minded.

The idea is that we would create a retro version of their logo so it looks like it’s been there for ages. This makes them feel part of Sydenham and have been long established in the area, which is true. We did something similar in North Harrow where we designed a logo for the area but then created a retro version of it, which we painted on the side of a building.

The logo

The Ghost Sign

So their current logo looks like this:

On the building the retro version would look like this:

We could get it distressed (as with the visual) or add the dat the business was started. we don’t think it should be a sponsored ‘Welcome to Sydenham sign’, they can be a bit tacky and are not what would have been on the building originally.

We are still waiting to hear from SEE3 on how the money will be spent but Cllr Chris Best and the team were really positive about it. Hopefully, as SEE3 and Especially Cllr Best have championed art in Sydenham in recent years with her backing to the Mosaic on the Naborhood Centre and the new Street art festival, we hope that this will get the go ahead too.

You can read the feedback and comments from the Sydenham Forum here.


Image of the amazing Electric Cinema in Portabello Road

The Film Mill have posted on the Sydenham Forum about bringing a community based Cinema to Sydenham.

What a brilliant idea. See more here.

They have a survey, please have a look.

What do you think? And where would it be?

What did you say on the survey?


Lots of people hated the gramatical error in the name of this pub. We found it rather charming. Which isn’t what can be said about the pub or the building which wasn’t the nicest place to be. Which may be one reason why it’s now closed.

But thats’ still no excuse to leave it in a state. It’s not making the building any more attractive.
It currently looks like this:

But What If:

Here is a close up.

If we get to do it we will work on it a little more and make it look like everyone is enjoying a drink.

This is a simple ‘street art project’, the wooden windows would be stencilled with the famous faces as if they are enjoying a drink in the bar.

More to come…


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?


From Lewisham Libraries archives

We love old pictures of high streets.

The shop fronts were well designed and looked like they belonged to the building. Most shops had awnings. Typography and signage was well designed and crafted by people who worked long apprenticeships to learn their trade. Often these people lived locally and this helped to give an area a particular look, a local distinction.

These days many shop fronts are installed without much thought to the building or the locality with the view that standing out, being different and shouting as loudly as possible is a good thing.

It isn’t.

If everyone shouts you can’t hear anything.

We think we have something to learn from the past. That doesn’t mean make something look old. We mean make something look well designed. Fit for the area. Make the area look distinctive in it’s own right rather than making it look like it could be from anywhere. High streets are a supermarket under many roofs. They should feel cohesive as a whole rather than individual shops fighting one another. They need to work together.

Designed by Good People started the What If Project a few years ago. It’s helped raise the profile of shop front design and we are embarking on our second actual makeover soon. Hopefully the next chapter is about to open. Hopefully there will be exciting times ahead. Hopefully we can make a difference.