Upcycling and how designers can use it within retail spaces


Upcycling is one of the most popular interior design trends of the decade. Upcycling brings with it opportunities for show-stopping innovation, unlimited personalisation and utterly unique combinations of old and new styles. Upcycled furniture creates intriguing interiors that are individual. It’s an opportunity for retailers to express their individuality.


What is upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of making new from old: creating beautiful new designs by renovating, repurposing or redesigning unwanted items or materials.

Upcycling is all about personality, preserving rather than destroying the original character of reused objects and infusing them with the quirks of the upcycler’s imagination. Upcycled items and materials are totally unique. Every piece has a story to tell and they exude individuality which can only be limited by the upcycler’s ingenuity.


Retailers that are embracing upcycling

Designers including ourselves are upcycling materials to both update in-store aesthetics and create a new design concept entirely. Our work with FatFace has shown that this aesthetic can create an edgy design that appeals to their customer base. It is important that the design concept you create for the retailer represents their personality and ethos.

FatFace describe their ethos on their website by saying ““absolutely everything we do is designed to be loved by all our customers for life outside the 9 to 5”. “This sentiment influences every part of our business from product development and marketing right through to our store designs.”



Embracing the use of metal, neutral tones, reclaimed wood and vintage furniture creates an earthy feel as you strip everything back to its original purpose. This style can create a space that showcases the buildings natural beauty, in some cases it reveals parts of its history that was once hidden within a building. All combined help to encompass the message FatFace look to transcend to their customer.


Our work with upcycling

An example would be our work on the FatFace St Pancras store. This was a listed building and therefore we retained the beautifully exposed brick arches. This preserved the natural beauty of the building whilst simultaneously complimenting the personality of the brand.

We also worked on their Helmsley store which was initially a derelict pub. We drew inspiration from the natural features and fabric of the building, retaining and exposing stone walls, wooden floors and fireplaces. We also had two 16th century heavily carved Jacobean doors which we incorporated into the design and became stunning wall features.


Executed correctly upcycling can create a beautiful space that is unique and eclectic. If you have been inspired by the upcycling trend please comment below or share your pictures with us over on our socials. All links below.


The essential role of branding in the retail customer journey

Branding is so much more than a logo. Retailers and brands need to communicate these messages across all platforms consistently to build relationships with customers. The role of branding in the retail customer journey is also extremely important, as designers this is a core consideration within every project we undertake.


Considering the importance of the brand can be the difference between creating support with customers or them wishing not to return. More often than not, it is the difference between securing a sale or sending shoppers to a competitor.


Nike and Apple are just two examples that demonstrate iconic branding. While they are very different companies in terms of their offering, they have strong branding in common. Through every consumer interaction whether it is online, in print, or in store – they deliver a seamless and recognisable brand experience. The use of their logo is instantly affiliated with the company. This level of branding helps build relationships with their customer base.

Design is extremely important when it comes to translating the company brand into retail spaces. First impressions stay with consumers and therefore, it is imperative to immediately translate the brand clearly and this should remain consistent throughout the store. Great design can directly impact the customer journey. If a store is designed well then customers will navigate organically around the space. This means they will see all the products on offer and should find what they are looking for with ease. For example, when we design for Costa, we always develop the space to maximise customer flow. Upon entry the customer will be met with multi-deck units where an eye catching product offer & display encourages the customer to make their product selection. From here, customers move straight onto the front counter to place their order. At this point they will be met with a selection of products from the impulse buy section before completing their purchases. If the customer journey is produced successfully it will allow companies to deliver immersive and memorable experiences that customers will remember. In doing so you build relationships with your customer and they are more likely to return.

Companies are looking to build brand stories in order to rely their message consistently across their bricks and mortar stores and their online platforms. As customers distribute their time across in-store experiences and online through their smartphones or computer screens, they should see companies showcasing continuity of brand that customers recognise and relate too.

Creativity – How to maintain your creativity as a designer

As designer’s creativity is needed on a daily basis in order for us to develop concepts and ideas. Maintaining this level of creativity on a daily basis is an on-going challenge, particularly in busy and pressurised periods. Therefore, adopting an approach that allows time to nurture your creativity is crucial. This can be immersive and spill over into your everyday life. This may sound overwhelming but if you are a creative person then it is usually a very instinctive feeling. For example, when travelling you can become very observant of details, architecture, interiors and trends. You can constantly inadvertently be looking for inspiration whether it be in the workplace or wondering around a museum or gallery. Allowing yourself time to engage with your creativity is essential. Another great source of inspiration in attending design expos and events where there is a plethora of like-minded creative people. Various companies and individuals are showcasing trends and sharing ideas and views.


It is important not to be afraid of trying something new. The ability to experiment with new materials, processes and ideas can result in endless positive outcomes. It is important to remember that there is no limit to creativity. If we keep that in mind, we can continue to produce innovative and unique designs.


Keep an open mind when you are working. Allowing yourself to be open to suggestions and constructive criticism leaves room for development within your work that you may not have initially identified. Collaboration is a positive thing, allow colleagues to make suggestions to your designs. They are not trying to offend you however, they share your passion and obviously see something positive in your work. So, always try to maintain an open-mind.



Collate an ideas bank. The key to keeping yourself within the cosmos of creativity is to make it part of your routine. You may come up with great ideas at the most unexpected times. Whether you are in the supermarket or on a night out or even when driving your car. By collating an ideas bank, even if you experience a creative block, you will have something to fall back on. It may even allow you to renew your focus and reignite your creativity.


Carry a camera with you and look for interesting things in your everyday scenery. Even use the camera on your phone, just make sure if something draws your attention you capture the moment. You never know when you may be able to draw on that inspiration. You may even wish to collate the images on an inspiration board so you can easily refer back to them.creativity


The secret to being creatively successful in your work is to be passionate about what you do. Enjoy it and continually challenge yourself. Creativity is a muscle and it is important to exercise it regularly. If you have fun while working, then through time you will notice your output is much better!

Does Design Matter in a Retail Space

Today we are posing the question: Does design matter in a retail space? In a word, yes! When design is considered as an integral part of the brand it signifies an investment in the future. It allows you to build a relationship with your customers by giving them something to relate too.

Effective design can create aesthetically impactful spaces and allow you to communicate a message to your customers. It further provides an opportunity to create a brand experience that builds loyalty with your customer base. Design is at the core when it comes to retailers wishing to speak to their customer base and highlight their point of view.

retail spaceWhen designing a retail space, the objective is naturally highlighting the products in the best way to generate sales. For example, a shoe store such as Office requires a multitude of large shelving units that can display the shoes in an easy to browse style. Whilst a clothes store such as FatFace needs a more open free flowing space that will fully showcase their latest collections. That space must be designed in a way that creates the perfect environment for the consumer to experience and purchase the products. Ambiance is key to making customers and colleagues feel comfortable as well as excited by products.

All retail spaces need to create their own identity, a unique aesthetic that entices customers into the store. The frontage is your advertisement, the window display is your opportunity to sell what’s inside, all working together to attract consumers in store. And once in the store, you must have a space that works for the products you are selling. Collectively this will heighten the shopping experience.

retail spaceUsing a design consultancy will ensure that important attributes such as lighting, circulation plan, fixtures and shop fittings are all tackled in the best way possible. Thus ensuring your brand identity is clearly represented throughout the store whilst making the best use of the space in terms of functionality and shopping experience. Design consultancy’s will also have strong working relationships with select contractors and suppliers. This will result in helping realise your designs ambition on budget and to the highest standards.

The Future of Retail Customer Experience

2016 could be described as a challenging and uncertain year for the retail industry with the political sphere’s unexpected changes around the world. However, that was last year and it is always good to look ahead with a positive perspective. With this in mind, we thought we would discuss what we can expect to see in 2017 in the retail stores and how that will impact the customer experience.

I think we can all agree there has been a significant rise in consumers buying online in recent years. The convenience of being able to sit in your own home and browse the retailer’s products then have them at your door the next day, clearly has an undeniable appeal.

Online Shopping

However, there is equally still an important argument to be made about the importance of a bricks and mortar store. There is no replacement for being able touch or try on the clothes, sit on the sofa or play around with the electronic gadget before committing to your purchase.

As we have discussed on the blog over the past few months, many stores have begun embracing technology to heighten their customer experience. By finding innovative and unique ways to incorporate a digital presence within store helps to create the ‘Ultimate customer experience’.

As the digital sphere continues to grow and develop the introduction of digital practice within retail will become ever more prevalent.  Retailers will be able to use these developments in a very practical way to manage and analyse their daily business. Screens will be capable of tracking customers and this information could provide retailers with valuable insight into their customer base. They can decipher what their shopping habits are which will allow them to further develop an engaging shopping experience.

Virtual Reality

The rise of virtual reality could provide a plethora of exciting opportunities for retailers. For example, it can provide shoppers with improved visualisation of the products on their person or in their home.  A great example of a brand who have successfully embraced these developments is Superdry. They have introduced virtual dressing rooms in their flagship store in Berlin. The suggestion is 2017 will see much more of this in the coming year.

With these developments in mind we considered some of the challenges designers may face. They will be tasked with designing this full in-store experience that allows customers to make the most of the innovations on offer. For example, LED screens and touch screen technology. All of which allows for tactile and engaging brand interactions with customers.

Touch Screen

The outlined innovations seek to address how the retail experience can be personalised to appeal to each individual customer. How retailers can resonate with their individual preferences and feelings which will ultimately drive sales, increase brand loyalty and encourage repeat custom.

Tell us in the comments below, what digital innovations have captured your attention within retail or what you hope to see in the future. You can also share your thoughts or photos over on our socials which are linked below.

Happy New Year from Box of Frogs!

It’s a New Year and were so excited to be back and see what 2017 has in store! From everyone at Box of Frogs we wish you all a very Happy New Year. Here at BOF HQ we have hit the ground running with our 50th Costa Drive Thru handover opening today in Ashton Moss Under Lyne. It is looking fantastic and we wish the team at Ashton Moss the very best of luck. We are sure you will have a great day with many more to come. Here at Box of Frogs were looking forward to continuing working with our friends at Costa in the coming months.ashton-moss

Before our Christmas break we spoke about our 2016 highlights in a post and discussed the exciting work that we carried out. FatFace played a big role in our projects in 2016 both here in the UK and across the pond in the USA. It was also a big year for FatFace as they opened their doors for the first time in the USA. We are looking forward to continuing this journey with them in 2017 and to see more about their USA stores click here – Newport

Towards the end of last year, we had a lot of fun with local business ‘Odds Farm Park’ on seasonal Halloween and Christmas festivals. Working on projects that incorporate current festivities such as these is a little bit like being a kid in a candy store. We are excited to see what ‘Odds Farm Park’ have in mind in the future and with the success they had with their festivals in 2016 we are sure there are many more exciting events in the coming year.Christmas festival

We have a busy year ahead with some new and exciting projects in the works that we cannot wait to share with you. We also look forward to continuing sharing a variety of design content that we are sure will capture your interest. If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you either in the comments below or over on our socials. All links are below.


If you have any retail or leisure design needs, then you can find all our contact information on our website or follow the link.

Our Thoughts On Current Design Trends

It is important to always keep your finger on the pulse within your industry. We hear at ‘Box of Frogs’ are no different. Trends are fluid and they are always changing and evolving. Today we thought we would talk about some of the recent retail design trends.


The retail sector has incurred a transitional time and as a result they have had to re-think what they can offer their customer. With the evolution of online shopping that allows customers to browse and purchase with ease and convenience from their devices. Retail stores need to offer something that entices customers into the store and provides them with a memorable experience. Here are a few design trends that we have seen transition into retail spaces recently.



 Apple store

One of the most popular trends hitting the retail sphere is minimalism. We have all heard the phrase ‘less is more’ and it would appear some retailers are adopting this philosophy. For example, ‘Apple’ stores always appear stark, clean, and almost industrial. Instead of shelves of products they have opted for free-standing benches displaying their products. They are all turned on and ready to use so customers can try before they buy as it were. This allows for a more interactive experience and provides the customer with something they could not achieve through purchasing online.


Natural Materials

Helmsley FatFace

The use of natural materials or indeed exposing them is very on trend. It creates a relaxed and authentic atmosphere which in turn allows for an enjoyable shopping experience. Incorporating natural elements can be done in a variety of ways, flooring, wall coverings and fixtures. Working with FatFace has seen us here at ‘Team Frog’ embrace the use of natural materials and develop our designs based on this concept. FatFace often select retail space that allows you to bring life into tired buildings by nurturing the different textures that exist within the space.  A fantastic example of this was their Helmsley store that started as a derelict pub but we transformed it into a stunning and visually impactful store. You can see more pictures here:




As we are living in a technology dominated society, retail wants to join in and bring their customers the most interactive experience they can. Whether it be self-checkout, scanning what you wish to purchase as you journey through the store or indeed checking stock availability. Other directions stores have taken to incorporate technology is utilising big screens to showcase products/services or displaying the technology they would like you to purchase allowing you to play around to see how it works. Interestingly, Argos which was originally a catalogue based concept have seized the technological opportunity. In their new stores, they have adopted the use of ipads to shop for your products. Additionally, they have installed the large screens with the minimalist store layout we spoke of above.


Need a little interior design insight?

Interior design

Interior design

Do you ever look through interior design magazines, log on to Pinterest or visit a venue and think if only I could re-create that in my own home! You know what you like and what you think looks good but it feels unattainable or you don’t know how to tackle such a project. Well, Box of Frogs thought we would come up with some easy to follow tips that could help you design the room you have always desired but never dared try create.


As with most things in life planning is key. Before you rush to locate the nearest paint brush decide what you want the final result to look like. Then you can organise each element to get there. Here are our top tips to help you along:


  • A great starting point is to create a moodboard, this will help you gather a colour palette, fabrics, textures, and inspiration. Having a visual in front of you provides clarity and makes it easier to process your thoughts and ideas. Start with a colour that runs throughout your entire home and then make adaptations within each room to define each space.


  • Having investment pieces that make a statement within the room that you really love are worth the extra effort. They create an impactful focal point.


  • You can create more depth within the room by installing a variety of heights using furniture, shelving and art. This will create the illusion of a taller and larger space.


  • Don’t be afraid of accent colours but be selective and stick to two or three within a room. You can add bolder colours with art, frames, cushions, and rugs. This will make the room feel more cohesive and create a more interesting visual flow.


  • Mirrors are always a good idea but again, you should be selective. One statement mirror will be more impactful than a variety of smaller non- descript mirrors scattered around.


  • When selecting a sofa, chair or dining table go for the pieces you love! Don’t focus on the dog getting mud everywhere or if it will show dirt too easily. Select pieces that you get excited about and reflect your style otherwise you may regret it later.


  • Play with texture – wooden floors, shag pile rug, knitted cushions. If colour doesn’t excite you then texture will be your best friend.


  • Mix and match your accessories. A combination of sentimental pieces and collectables will provide more of an eclectic vibe. This will develop character that you simply can’t by.


  • Avoid having artwork for the sake of it – select pieces that speak to you.


  • Don’t be afraid of cushions and pillows. They can be a little extra work especially in a bedroom setting when you have to remove and replace them every day. However, they are the icing on the cake for a well-designed room.


Follow these interior design tips and you will have the home you desire in no time! Let us know how you get on, we would love to hear from you.

Our team chat about: Inspired design styles

We thought it would be great to create a little series here on the ‘frog blog’ that gave a little insight into our designers. What their creative process is, what inspires them, styles they are interested and what they believe is exciting in the world of design. We give you a flavour of this through our social media output and this seems to capture attention. So, we thought we would take the time and create this series so we can go into a little more detail.


To kick things off we spoke with Louise, one of our designers that has worked on a variety of accounts within Box of Frogs. Louise shared with us an area of design that captures her interest, why she is inspired by it and gave some examples of projects she has worked on that fit into that style. Here is what she had to say…


“An aspect of design that I both enjoy and admire is ‘industrial interiors’. The use of metal, neutral tones, wood and vintage furniture creates an earthy feel as you strip everything back to its original purpose. This style can create a space that showcases the buildings natural beauty, in some cases it reveals parts of its history that was once hidden within the building.  Projects that I have worked on have shown elements of this type of industrial style, an example being Fat Face in Bluewater. 


This was one of the first stores where Fat Face wanted to strip back on wall finishes, leaving existing breezeblock and ductwork exposed and showcasing its natural state. Following the success of Bluewater, Fat Face Thame followed with this aesthetic. Within this project, they exposed an existing brick fireplace that had been covered and they also embraced the bare concrete floor.  I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work within this area of design as I believe it has provided me with inspiration that transcends into my role at Box of Frogs.”


Thame interior

If you enjoyed hearing from our team and would like to see similar pieces like this in the future then let us know in the comments below. Or if you have something specific you would like a member of our team to talk about then we would like to hear from you too.

It’s Halloween, are you ready!

It is that time of year again, where getting spooked and scared with your knees trembling is considered fun! Yes, that’s right, it’s Halloween! We are so excited this year, especially as we were invited back to ‘Odds Farm Park’ to work with them in developing their design needs for their Halloween Festival 2016.

Odds Farm


Odds Farm Park is a family friendly venue near Beaconsfield which boasts an array of fun activities. In addition to the furry friends that you would expect to see on a farm, they also have play parks, animal feeding activities, tea rooms and a whole host of other options on offer. When Halloween rolls around, they like to mark it in style by putting on a Halloween Festival which runs daily from 21-31 October. They have puppet shows, arts and crafts, spooky story time, pumpkin carving and a Boo Barn.

Our friends at ‘Odds Farm Park’ asked us here at ‘Box of Frogs’ to assist in the design of the craft marquee and the show marquee, what a fun project. We created a Halloween theme that was of a child friendly nature, the colour palette was vibrant and reflective of the theme at hand. When all the artwork was in place, the farm looked fantastic and were confident their festival will be hugely successful again this year. It is always a pleasure working with the ‘Odds Farm’ team, as we have done in the past on a variety of projects, some of which are displayed of our website. We also look forward to working with them again on their upcoming Christmas festival, we can already feel the Christmas magic. But for now, let’s keep our pumpkins at the ready and let’s hope there isn’t too many bumps in the night. Happy Halloween everyone, have fun from everyone at Box Of Frogs!