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Acid Works explores the shop fronts of Seoul

Gareth Davies
By Gareth Davies 3 min read
06 Oct 2022

I’ve always been fascinated by brands and the stores they live in. The ‘shop front’ being the literal and physical first impression to a customer. From global brands to my local fish and chip shop… I’ve been gazing at them for many a year.

But why? Well… to me they represent the most pure and essential form of visual communication & graphic design. They can leave you in awe and wonder of what’s inside, from the uber cool neighbourhood stores of Kyoto, Brooklyn and Carnaby Street in London to the flagship stores of Nike, Polestar and Apple.

In contrast, shop fronts can also leave a sense of dismay and disappointment. Even reducing the appeal of not just their own offering but also their surrounding ones. Growing up in a working class northern town in England, this is very much what I discovered in my earlier design journey… high streets filled with Sports Direct like stores and kebab shops for the late night crowd.

Boutique fashion and photo booth stores line the streets of South Korean neighbourhoods
Boutique fashion and photo booth stores line the streets of South Korean neighbourhoods
Eye catching iconography adorn the glass of this ground floor design / media agency

Ultimately… it’s the ambition (or duty) I’ve always felt as a designer to help create better impressions for new and existing customers that has always kept my focus. In 2009 when I took a trip around Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, shop fronts filled my camera as I used them to discover new, unique brands from the other side of the world. And I continue to capture them today.


A corner convenience / home store spills out into the street.

To this day, few things refuel my love of design more than the shop fronts of Asian cities. And this September I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in South Korea with my family. Here’s a highlights few from Eunpyeong-Gu, Seoul.

Thanks for reading and let us know what your favourite city is for inspiring shop fronts.

Thanks for reading.
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