Repositioning Graphic Heritage

What new perspectives can graphic design contribute to design for urban heritage? How can participatory design approaches enhance urban graphic heritage for greater social cohesion?

This Newton Fund project, co-ordinated by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in co-operation with the UNESCO Creative City (Shanghai) Promotion Office, explores the integrative process through which people experience and are informed about urban heritage through graphic images.

It focuses on establishing a clearer understanding about the core knowledge that heritage professionals must grapple with when they need to communicate with the public about the heritage experience. The research, undertaken by Loughborough University School of Design and Creative Arts with Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, provides new insights for creative industry practitioners concerned with enhancing cultural development in China and the UK.

Through the prism of graphic design, the project explores different facets of the heritage experience. It has involved a combination of field visits, practice-led and practice-based approaches, participatory design, public exhibition, and digital archival practices, to establish new approaches for recording, archiving and interpreting graphic images of urban heritage for the benefit of researchers and practitioners working in countries wanting to develop their heritage visitor experience.


Read about the research:

Repositioning Graphic Heritage overview booklet (English and Chinese)

View on screen 

Download PDF

Design for Heritage in Practice Workshop, 19 October 2019 

Design for Heritage in Theory Symposium, 15 October 2019 

Design for Heritage in Theory Symposium proceedings (in Chinese), 15 October 2019 

Urban Perspectives on Design Literacy Summer School, 20–21 June 2019 

Tracing Shanghai Participatory Design workshop, 27 December 2020 

Harland, R. G. (2020) Graphic design studies: what can it be? Following in Victor Margolin’s footsteps for possible answers, in Boess, S., Cheung, M. and Cain, R. (eds.), Synergy – DRS International Conference 2020, 11-14 August, Held online. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2020.372

Harland, R. G., Du, Q., Selby, A., Wells, P., Xu, J., Yongqi, L., Zhang, X. (2019), Defining urban graphic heritage for economic development in the UK and China, in proceedings for International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019 (IASDR 2019), Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK. Held online: https://iasdr2019.org/uploads/files/Proceedings/li-f-1368-Har-R.pdf

Xu, J. (2019). Colour in Urban Places: A Case Study of Leicester City Football Club Blue. Journal of Colour Research and Application. Vol 19; 1–9, https://doi.org/10.1002/col.22378



Exploring Urban Graphic Heritage exhibition panels 

Repositioning Graphic Heritage poster 

Design for Heritage in Theory call for papers 

Design for Heritage in Theory cover design for proceedings 

Exploring Urban Graphic Heritage exhibition postcard 

See also the Tracing Shanghai project


Featured in:

Praxis’ Heritage for Global Challenges Lebanon Workshop Report 

Praxis’ Heritage for Global Challenges

Loughborough University | Dr. Robert Harland (PI), Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design | Prof. Paul Wells (Co-I), Chair in Animation | Andrew Selby (Co-I), Associate Dean for Enterprise | Johnny Xu (Research Associate). Tongji University | Prof. Lou Yongqi, (PI), Dean of the College of Design and Innovation | Dr. Zhang Xueqing, (Co-I), Director of Discipline Development Centre | Dr. Du Qin, (Co-I), Director of Brand and Space Laboratory | Shi Yin, (Co-I), Head of Tongji Tiandi Art & Design Innovation Co. Ltd.