99designs by Vistaprint and TCO launches UK-wide street art project featuring imaginary businesses

Global creative platform 99designs by Vistaprint today launched a street art project taking over empty storefronts across the UK to offer a glimpse into an imagined future where everyday businesses have been supercharged by design.

The project, created by TCO London, showcases the power of great design to revive small businesses as we emerge from lockdown. It aims to inspire business owners to see the high street as the perfect home for innovation, creativity and bold new ideas.

Each installation takes over a storefront and partners it with a designer to depict the space in an exciting new light, showing how often-overlooked businesses can look right at home on the high street through great design and innovation.

The imaginary businesses include a ‘Move To Mars’, an estate agency for Mars in Chelsea, a sneaker cobbler in Manchester, a NFT (non-fungible token) gallery in Glasgow, an ultra-niche sports bar in Bristol, an AR-powered ‘try before you buy’ tattoo parlour in Leeds, a DIY delivery service in Peckham and an AI cafe in Shoreditch.

The project resonates with a study commissioned by Vistaprint on the future of small business in the UK. Of the 2000 adults surveyed over two thirds have pledged their support to small businesses during 2021 rather than high street chains, and almost a third have considered opening their own small business. Vistaprint also partnered with the leading futurist Andrew Grill, who predicted the key trends that will impact small businesses: from AR and VR workouts in the fitness industry to increased automation and robotics in food and beverage businesses.

This campaign is part of 99 Days Of Design, a global initiative aimed at providing a diverse group of 99 small business owners with financial support and design services to aid their plans to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. In the UK, fourteen businesses will benefit from the global initiative, receiving £12,000 in funding and design support, with 10 being selected by and featuring in a media partnership with Huck Magazine. 99designs by Vistaprint is also partnering with design-led indie film title Little White Lies to speak to the creative community.

Emily Shirley, General Manager for Vistaprint UK and Ireland, said: ‘As we emerge from lockdown, we’re seeing an increased preference among Brits to shop small and support their local businesses. Through great design and innovation, small businesses can capitalise on this change in consumer behaviour and stand out on the high street. In partnering with TCO London, we want to inspire small businesses to think big and reimagine what their future could look like.’  

Simon Baker, Managing Director at TCO London, said: ‘At a time when key locations on high streets are empty, while shopping local has become more important than ever, we have reimagined what familiar businesses – cafes, estate agents, hardware stores – could look like if injected with impossible-to-ignore visual makeovers. We want passersby to wish these businesses really existed in their community and for entrepreneurs to be inspired.’

Patrick Llewellyn, CEO of 99designs by Vistaprint, said: “Our global creative community fuels the success of small businesses every single day, and it’s been inspiring to see designers from all over the world bring these imagined industries to life. Great design is a powerful catalyst for reinvention and new beginnings, and this project captures the essence of revival, possibility and optimism that the 99 Days of Design campaign represents.”

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Head over to 99daysofdesign to find out more.
Read more from Huck here.

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