Unique Ideas for Shop Front Designs

Unique Ideas for Shop Front Designs

The shop front is arguably the most important part of a store or business. A properly designed shop front gives customers plenty of information about what your business is all about while simultaneously inviting them in to visit, linger, and hopefully spend money. On the other hand, a cramped, overwhelming shop front can drive customers away and leave you scratching your head, wondering why your aisles are always empty.

In the UK, the tradition of shop fronts goes back to at least the Middle Ages. Before many people were literate, they relied on illustrated signage, products, and windows to locate the right shops for their needs. Since then, shop fronts have evolved beyond just function to also become things of beauty. Many of the country’s historical towns and villages are defined by rows of shop fronts that look as if they stepped out of a history book, while the modernity of High Street windows attracts young shoppers.

It’s clear that shop front designs are crucial to the success of your business, but how are you supposed to make that design work for you? Whether you are renovating the entire shop front or just updating the displays, here are some tips for designing the ideal window to attract customers.

Redesigning an Entire Shop Front 


shop front redesign

Redesigning an entire shop front is a great way to give your retail shop a new and bespoke appearance. It can also be a relatively inexpensive way to give your shop a facelift and signal to customers that you are offering a new experience. However, before you start renovating and redesigning, there are many different factors to consider.

From the windows to the cornices to the moulding, every detail can impact your shop’s appearance. The right design choices go beyond just aesthetics; sometimes there are local regulations to consider, particularly if you are operating in a historical business district.

Here are some things to think about when you’re considering redesigning your shop front:

  • The type of shop you have and the image you want to portray
  • Your target customer and what they expect from your shop front
  • The local area and the type of shop fronts that are popular in that area
  • The size and shape of your shop front, and how you can best use it to showcase your products
  • The materials you want to use for your shop front, and how durable and weather-resistant they are
  • The lighting you want to use, and how it will impact the appearance of your shop front at night
  • The local regulations and guidelines you need to follow when designing your shop front

By taking the time to consider these factors, you can create a shop front design that is not only visually appealing but also functional and compliant with local regulations.

Maintaining Historical Continuity


historical shop fronts

If you operate a shop front in a historic shopping district in the UK, it is important to maintain the historical continuity of the area. Many of these districts celebrate centuries of independent commerce and artisans, and have unique architectural designs. Any changes that you make to your shop front should be in keeping with the historical precedent of the area.

Shop fronts in historic buildings have less freedom when it comes to redesigning. Local ordinances and historical designations often prevent business owners from completely redoing the shop front. For instance, listed building consent and advertisement consent may be required before making any changes to the shop front.

Even if you can redesign a historical shop front completely, it is not advisable to do so, especially if your business is located in a parade of shops with cohesive architecture. The shop front should respect the scale and architecture of the rest of the building. A modern glass shop front on a row of Victorian facades is jarring and might drive away customers looking for an authentic experience.

Constraints can give you more guidance when planning your designs. Restoring a traditional shop front is easier and less expensive than a complete renovation, while attracting customers looking for a traditional, bespoke shopping experience. Getting rid of later additions that take away from a shop front’s historical integrity, such as massive window panes or jarring signage, can give your business a façade that looks both fresh and historical.

It is essential to adhere to building regulations when making any changes to your shop front. Building regulations ensure that any changes are safe and meet the required standards. You should consult with a professional before making any significant changes to your shop front.

In summary, maintaining the historical continuity of a shopping district is essential for preserving the unique character of the area. While constraints exist, they can provide guidance when planning your designs, and restoring a traditional shop front can attract customers looking for a bespoke shopping experience. Adhering to building regulations is also crucial to ensure that any changes made are safe and meet the required standards.

Design Details to Consider


shop front design details

When designing your shop front, it is important to consider various design details to ensure that it is visually appealing and inviting to potential customers. The following design details are essential to consider:


Windows are the focal point of many shop front redesigns. They give customers a glimpse into your shop and attract them to come in. When designing your shop front windows, it is important to strike a balance between size and aesthetic appeal. While large windows are great for showing off your store, they can be overwhelming and may not complement the historical façade of your building.


The fascia is the band on top of the shop windows that separates the shop front from the rest of the building. It is important to consider the size of the fascia when designing your shop front. One common design mistake is making the fascia too deep or too large, which can make the shop front look like it is swallowing the building. Instead, it is important to design the fascia to attract attention while complementing the overall appearance of the building.


The materials that you use for your shop front can affect its appearance as much as the shape and colour. It is important to choose materials that are appropriate to the overall appearance of the area. For example, glass and metals are great for modern High Street areas, while traditional materials such as timber and stone in muted colours are more appropriate for historical areas.


Lighting is an important design detail that can enhance the appearance of your shop front. Proper lighting can draw attention to your shop and make it look more inviting. Consider using elegant, luxurious lighting fixtures that complement the overall design of your shop front.


Your shop front is an important part of your branding strategy. It is important to incorporate your brand logo, font and colours into the design of your shop front to ensure consistency and reinforce your brand identity.


The fixtures that you use in your shop front can also affect its appearance. Consider using fixtures that complement the overall design of your shop front and reinforce your brand identity. For example, if your shop front has a modern design, consider using sleek, modern fixtures.

By considering these design details when designing your shop front, you can create a visually appealing and inviting space that attracts potential customers and reinforces your brand identity.

Shop Accessibility

shop front access

When designing your shop front, it is important to ensure that it is accessible for all customers, including those with disabilities, the elderly, and parents with buggies. It is not only a legal requirement according to The Equality Act of 2010 and Part M of The Building Regulations Access, but it also makes good business sense.

To make your shop front accessible, consider the following:

  • Opt for a ramped entrance instead of steps or raised sills. The ramp should be at a mild slope for maximum accessibility.
  • Ensure that there is enough space for people with wheelchairs or buggies to manoeuvre. This means providing wider aisles and clear pathways.
  • Make sure that your shop front is well-lit and easy to navigate.
  • Consider installing automatic doors or a doorbell system to make it easier for customers to enter your store.
  • Consult local regulations, check out what other shops are doing, or ask local disability advocates for their guidance for more detailed considerations about making your shop front accessible.

By making your shop front accessible, you create a comfortable and welcoming environment for all customers, which can help to boost your business.

The Process of Redesigning a Shop Front


redesigning a shop font

Redesigning a shop front involves more than just picking a design and implementing it. First, you need to obtain permission from local governing bodies. This includes planning permission, listed building consent, and advertisement consent. If you are making changes to the structure of the building, you will need to apply for Building Regulation approval. If your building is located in a Conservation Area, you will also need to apply for those permissions.

Your application will include a planning checklist that shows that you have considered the impact of your redesign on the surrounding area. This includes the relationship to the existing streetscape, the impact on the building, and details such as security, signage, canopies, and blinds. The checklist will also ensure that you have complied with relevant regulations and guidelines.

Once you have obtained the necessary permissions, you can start implementing your design. This may involve hiring a contractor or construction team to carry out the work. You should ensure that the work is carried out to a high standard and that it complies with all relevant safety regulations.

Redesigning Shop Front Displays

If you don’t have the time or resources to redesign your entire shop front, focusing on your window displays can be a quick and easy way to attract customers. Eye-catching window displays are a great way to showcase your products and draw in potential customers. When redesigning your window displays, consider the following:

  • Use signage to showcase your brand and products.
  • Incorporate bold colours and lighting to make your displays stand out.
  • Keep your displays clean and clutter-free.
  • Change your displays regularly to keep customers interested.

Remember, your window displays are ultimately what will draw customers into your business. So, take the time to create an eye-catching and effective window display design that showcases your products and brand.

What Is the Goal of Your Display?

When redesigning your shop front display, it’s essential to think about what you hope to achieve with it, aside from attracting customers. Your window display is the first opportunity to showcase what kind of business you own. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your display aligns with the overall tone of your business.

Your window display is also an opportunity to highlight what sets your bespoke products apart from mass-market High Street items. You can add unique details such as props and lighting to help show what makes your business unique. For instance, you can include a QR code that links to your website or social media page, allowing customers to learn more about your products.

In conclusion, the goal of your display is to showcase your business’s unique selling points and highlight what sets you apart from your competitors. By doing so, you can attract customers who are genuinely interested in your merchandise and increase your chances of making a sale.

Selling Experiences, Not Items

shop front displays

Modern consumers, especially younger ones, are more interested in experiences than just buying products. They want to feel as if they are spending money on something more than just a product. They are looking for objects that are more than just objects. This is where you can capitalise on this quest for experiences in your window displays.

One way to do this is by showing off your products according to how they would fit into your customer’s lifestyle. For example, rather than displaying clothing on static mannequins, create a scene showing how that clothing would be used. Put activewear on mannequins that look like they are running and show off party dresses by creating a party scene in your window. This encourages customers to imagine how your products would help them have those same experiences.

This idea for shop front displays does not apply just to clothing. When creating your display, emphasise how your products will enhance your customer’s lives. For example, if you’re selling handmade scented soap, you’re not just selling soap; you’re selling relaxation and the feeling of getting pampered. Evoke that with soothing lights, props that resemble a spa, and other relaxing features.

Customers can buy generic objects at any chain shop or High Street store. When they come to bespoke, traditional shops, they are really searching for an experience, and your shop front display can help sell that experience.

In summary, focus on creating an experience for your customers rather than just selling them a product. Make your window displays interactive by showing how your products fit into your customer’s lifestyle, and emphasise how your products will enhance their lives. By doing so, you can create a memorable experience for your customers and increase the chances of them making a purchase.

Using Tradition to Your Advantage

Customers are often drawn to businesses with a long-standing tradition. They believe that if a product has stood the test of time, it must be of high quality. Therefore, playing up the historical connections of your business can help attract more customers.

If your shop has a historical façade, half the work is already done. You can improve on that by using your window displays to showcase your traditional lineage. Display your products using vintage containers and shelving. This will help create the impression that your products are of high quality and have been around for a long time.

To further emphasise your traditional roots, consider using a historically inspired font for your signage. This can be used both in the window displays and on the shop front. You can also display traditional tools from your field in the window. For example, if you are selling food, add some old-fashioned scales to your display.

It is important to remember that your window display is not just selling a product, but a shopping experience. Therefore, if your shop follows the great British tradition of small businesses, emphasising that tradition can help you attract more customers.

Here are some ways you can use tradition to your advantage:

  • Use vintage containers and shelving to display your products
  • Use a historically inspired font for your signage
  • Display traditional tools from your field in the window
  • Emphasise the traditional roots of your business

By using tradition to your advantage, you can create a unique shopping experience for your customers and help your business stand out in a crowded market.

Bridging the Gap Between Customers and Your Shop

To attract shoppers to your shop, it is essential to create an inviting window display. Your display should showcase your products and offer a glimpse into your shop’s workings. A well-designed display can reduce any mental barriers that may prevent customers from entering your store.

One of the reasons why shoppers prefer small businesses over chain stores is the sense of community. Customers like to feel valued, and creating spaces where they can linger, such as sofas, can help achieve this. Arrange these spaces so that they are visible from the shop front to invite people in.

Using motion in your window display is another way to attract foot traffic. Consider setting up a workstation where you or your employees make your products within view of the street. This will pique people’s curiosity and tempt them to come in and see what you are making.

In summary, creating an inviting window display with an insight into your shop’s workings and providing spaces where customers can linger can help bridge the gap between customers and your shop. Incorporating motion in your display is another way to attract foot traffic and entice people to come in and see what you have to offer.

More Than Just Products

You have many tools at your disposal for making an eye-catching window display, not just your products. For example, using props can help you create a scene using your products that sells an experience, not just an object.

Technical aspects of the window display, such as lighting and even sound, are another tool to help set the scene and draw in more customers.

Where to Get Ideas for Your Shop Front

Get shop front design ideas

Now that you know some principles to consider when designing your shop front and display, you may still be looking for some more direction. Ideas are hard to come by, especially with the pressure to refresh your shop front continuously to attract more customers.

Here are a few places where you can get ideas.

Checking Others’ Work

One of the best ways to get inspiration for your own shop front, whether you are overhauling the design completely or just redoing the window display, is to see what other business owners in your area are doing. Take a stroll down the parade of businesses your shop is in or check out similar areas in other towns.

Ask yourself what other businesses are doing with their shop fronts. How can you incorporate those ideas into your own shop front for a visually cohesive appearance, while adding enough fresh details to stand out from the competition?

Pay particular attention to businesses that seem to attract a lot of foot traffic. What is it about their shop fronts that makes people linger and go inside?

Seasonal Displays

If you want to spruce up your displays but don’t know where to start, seasonal displays are always a great option. While Christmas is a crucial time for businesses, other seasonal displays can also be successful. A well-decorated window display with a seasonal theme, as well as decorations on your shop front, can create a welcoming atmosphere and attract customers.

In addition to the Christmas season, you can also celebrate other changes in the season with innovative displays. Consider incorporating relevant holidays for your industry, such as World Book Day for a bookseller. A display that celebrates a lesser-known seasonal occasion will spark customers’ curiosity and draw them into your store.

To create an effective seasonal display, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a theme that is relevant to your business and appeals to your target audience.
  • Use eye-catching colours and lighting to draw attention to your display.
  • Incorporate seasonal props and decorations to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Rotate your displays frequently to keep customers engaged and interested.

By following these tips, you can create a visually appealing and engaging seasonal display that will attract customers and boost sales.


Using Shop Front Designs to Your Advantage


show case your products on your shop front

Your shop front is the first thing customers see, so it’s important to make a good impression. A well-designed shop front can attract potential customers and boost sales. Redesigning your shop front can be an effective way to update your image, but make sure you comply with local building regulations before making any changes.

Your shop front should be unique, but it should also fit in with the overall aesthetic of the building and surrounding businesses. You can get creative with your window displays to keep your shop front looking fresh and interesting without having to do a full renovation.

Your shop front can also be used for promotional purposes. Consider using signage, banners, or other eye-catching displays to advertise sales or promotions. This can help draw in customers and increase foot traffic to your store.

Overall, a well-designed and maintained shop front can make a big difference in attracting customers and increasing sales.

Latest Trends in Modern Shop Front Aesthetics

If you are looking to update your shop front, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in modern shop front aesthetics. Some of the latest trends include:

  • Minimalist designs that focus on clean lines and simple shapes.
  • The use of natural materials such as wood and stone to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • The incorporation of bold colours and patterns to create a striking visual impact.
  • The use of large windows and glass doors to create a sense of openness and transparency.

Maximising the Appeal of Your Small Shop’s Exterior

Making the most of your small shop’s exterior can be a challenge, but there are a few things you can do to maximise its appeal:

  • Use bright and bold colours to make your shop stand out from the crowd.
  • Invest in high-quality signage that clearly communicates your brand and what you have to offer.
  • Keep your storefront clean and tidy, with well-maintained windows and doors.
  • Use lighting to highlight key features of your shop front and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Key Features That Make a Shop Front Stand Out

There are a few key features that can make a shop front stand out and grab the attention of passersby:

  • A bold and eye-catching colour scheme that reflects your brand and stands out from the crowd.
  • High-quality signage that clearly communicates what your shop has to offer.
  • Large windows that allow customers to see inside and get a glimpse of what you have to offer.
  • Unique architectural features that make your shop front stand out from the surrounding buildings.

Simple yet Effective Shop Front Designs

If you are looking for simple yet effective shop front designs, here are a few ideas to consider:

  • A minimalist design that focuses on clean lines and simple shapes.
  • The use of bold colours and patterns to create a striking visual impact.
  • The incorporation of natural materials such as wood and stone to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • The use of lighting to highlight key features of your shop front and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Essential Elements of a Traditional Shop Front

If you are looking to create a traditional shop front, here are a few essential elements to consider:

  • A classic colour scheme that reflects the history and heritage of your shop.
  • High-quality signage that is in keeping with the traditional aesthetic of your shop.
  • Large windows that allow customers to see inside and get a glimpse of what you have to offer.
  • Unique architectural features that are in keeping with the traditional aesthetic of your shop.

Incorporating 3D Design to Enhance a Shop Front’s Visual Impact

Incorporating 3D design elements into your shop front can be a great way to enhance its visual impact and create a more immersive experience for your customers. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • The use of 3D signage that pops out from the shop front and creates a striking visual impact.
  • The incorporation of 3D architectural features such as mouldings and carvings to add depth and texture to the shop front.
  • The use of 3D graphics and images to create a more immersive experience for customers.
  • The use of lighting to highlight key 3D elements and create a more dynamic and engaging shop front.