Tracing Shanghai (Work in progress)

Tracing Shanghai explores the cultural heritage of Shanghai in graphic detail. It concentrates on the mesographic level at which heritage is communicated through graphic objects. Through systematically combing and archiving Shanghai’s graphic objects – icons, images, inscriptions, insignia, mottoes, motifs, emblems, signs, and symbols – that adorn the city the project seeks to more fully understand this particular aspect of the communication function of urban design.

The approach explores the historical, contemporary and future significance of graphic heritage as urban heritage for the benefit of sustainable and inclusive urban development, in recognition and for the benefit of the creative economy and the creative industries.

As a part of the Shanghai’s cultural heritage, the city’s graphic images provide meaningful material for urban planning, urban design, urban brand design, architectural design, interior design, product design, and graphic design. The research data will be accessible through the Loughborough Urban Graphic Object Archive, making available first-hand research materials with academic value for a wide range of urban graphic heritage research.

Through a series of prototype designs (see Figure 1), the project will advance understanding about:

  1. The communications, economic, cognitive and display function of urban heritage;
  2. The representation and revitalisation of urban cultural heritage
  3. Graphic design research as a mechanism and strategy for urban content analysis.

The research methodology will provide new theories and methods for creative design content development and innovation for the benefit of city branding, environmental design, retail design, packaging and point of sale, advertising, digital design, product design, and motion graphics, all for the benefit of urban tourism.

Sample prototype design