Defining urban graphic heritage for economic development in the UK and China

What new perspectives can graphic design contribute to design for heritage? This paper provides answers to this question by confirming the meaning of heritage and the value of research in the context of a vibrant and evolving creative industries in the United Kingdom and China. Heritage has become an important topic for research in recent decades, and now features as a priority area with research councils. Increasingly, it is framed as cultural heritage, but the meaning of culture is unclear. In outlining the challenges associated with rapid urban development in China, and the importance of design, planning and heritage, a framework for analysing urban graphic heritage is proffered alongside empirical research from the United Kingdom and China. Despite its importance being overlooked in heritage discourse as well as contemporary reviews of the creative industries, graphic design is shown to provide a unique overarching perspective for the design challenges associated with the human experience of urban heritage.