Storefronts give people their first impression of a business. Ideally, they lure people in by providing an image of quality and making them curious about what the store holds. Thus, the importance of a well-designed storefront cannot be overemphasized. Hiring a professional designer and keeping some key points in mind when approving a design will greatly benefit your business in the long run.
Fit In But Stand Out
A storefront faces a dual challenge: It must blend with the surrounding buildings to create a harmonious atmosphere, while also attracting attention. According to "Specialty Shop Retailing” by Carol L. Schroeder; first check with your city's chamber of commerce to find out the regulations for businesses in the area. If designing a store in a mall, ask the mall for its regulations as well. You might paint your building to match those around it, but write your store’s name in big, bold letters in an unusual font on the front. If designing steps or a walkway, use a different material than the buildings around yours.
Choose Materials Wisely
Always use wood to design the storefront of an upscale business, according to "Traditional Construction Patterns" by Stephen A. Mouzon and Susan M. Henderson. As a rule, wood will give a more elegant look to your business. However, if you’re striving for a more urban feel, metal may fit your business better. Continue this theme inside the building with contemporary urban touches, such as exposed pipes on the ceiling.
Design Compelling Windows
Compelling storefront windows change frequently, showcasing new merchandise for customers to look at. Rather than displaying independent mannequins, use them to create scenes. If designing a maternity storefront, for instance, position the mannequins as if they’re laughing and talking with each other. Create a background showing a park with autumn leaves, a garden with blossoming flowers or another scene that reflects the season. These changes will keep visitors interested, making them look forward to visiting your store.
Create a Wrap-Around Design
If your building stands on a corner, use the side of the building as well as the front to advertise your store, according to "Specialty Shop Retailing." Create a mural on the side of the building that shows potential customers the character of your business or what your business does. This strategy will attract the attention of more potential customers. A mural doesn’t have to be loud and colorful, either—although for some businesses such as toy stores and children’s clothing stores, bright colors work well. If you’re designing an elegant restaurant or jewelry store, you might opt for a minimalist mural, such as a line drawing with subtle washes of color.
- “Specialty Shop Retailing”; Carol L. Schroeder; 2007
- “Traditional Construction Patterns”; Stephen A. Mouzon and Susan M. Henderson; 2004
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.