Posts Tagged 'shop front design'


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Ela from On The Hoof, a small, Local chain of coffee shops in London told us she was talking about taking over this old opticians in Sydenham to open up a bistro. We were excited by this and she asked if we could help out with the shop front. It was a challenge with the rather dilapidated roller shutter and shop front and oversize signage. We came up with a number of different designs, some based on some lovely stained glass signs they had in the shop which they sadly never used. The inside is very up-cycled and eclectic, so we tried to bring some of that to the exterior. They didn’t use the designs in the end, but we thought we would share some of the various designs we produced.

It’s a fantastic bistro and very popular since it opened. Its wonderful inside and the food is absolutely top notch. It’s great to have such an exciting new business in Sydenham.

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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.


This use to be a carpet shop.

Then, a number of years ago, it opened as the Pukka Bar, an upmarket indian restaurant. It had a refit that cost £250,000 but really opened in Sydenham about a year early before the gastro pub and cafes opened. It lasted 6 months (the place inside is vast). The interior refit is of a very high quality and remains. The pub that took over from the Pukka bar doesn’t.

We hope the interior will remain, but if the pub is going to be renovated or left, why leave it like this:

What if:

A simple printed hoarding. The door would be indicated by the dotted line.

Obviously this is a transferable design. Whoever is taking over the property can announce it on the stamp on the front of the box.

Have a look at the other What If’s on empty shops here:


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?


In the light of David Camerons announcement about making it easier for shops to install high security roller shutters, we thought we would highlight the possibilities this offers our high streets.

Rather than making our high streets look like industrial security zones like this:


Fresh and Fruity are linked to Billings (What if No 13) as they are Amo’s parents. Infact without their help, and the help of Annabel and Tim from the Sydenham society Billings may never have happened.

Since then we have been incredibly busy and the What If Project has taken a back seat, despite lots of local businesses asking for their makeovers. Unfortunately we have to pay the bills as we fit these in when we can!

We have been promising this for a while, so I though I’d post it here, get some feedback before presenting onto them. It’s been a while in the making!

This is what the shop looks like now:


Continue reading ‘WHAT IF no14: FRESH & FRUITY’


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