Local Culture and Identity trhought Universal Design: Branding Places

Rijo, C.

Retirado de: http://convergencias.esart.ipcb.pt

RESUMO: É objetivo do presente artigo apresentar uma reflexão sobre a importância da cultura e do património (materiais e imateriais) não somente como veículos para a transmissão de identidade cultural, como também medida de dada identidade e imagem representativa de dada comunidade. No mesmo sentido, consideram-se igualmente as contribuições do projeto em design como espaço privilegiado ou mesmo impulsionador do desenvolvimento ou da construção de identidade comunitária. Examina-se pois, no presente artigo, a importância do património e da cultura como fatores fulcrais no processo de construção de uma identidade local, uma vez que a diversidade cultural assume muitas formas através do tempo e do espaço.
Para avaliar e compreender a identidade local é necessário não renunciar à sua cultura tangível e intangível, ao património construído, às suas tradições e à sua relação com o tecido sócio-urbano, por forma a fundamentar a escolha/criação de um representante eficaz do local na marca.
Criar uma marca associada a um lugar é o processo pelo qual o site procura conceber uma identidade única, a partir de elementos segundo os quais a identidade da sua marca se diferencia das outras, pelas suas características distintivas. Cada local é particularmente diferente do outro, de acordo com as características naturais e culturais que lhe são únicas.
Este estudo é um quadro da tese de doutoramento em design da autora, cujo projeto visou a criação de um modelo apto a auxiliar o designer na criação de uma marca associada a lugares, capaz de refletir a identidade de forma eficaz.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Design gráfico, marca territorial, identidade, cultura, património

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to present a reflection on the importance of culture and heritage as transmitter of cultural identity, as the measure of an identity and image representing a community, and the contributions of design as a project that ensures the development of a construction of community identity. It discusses the importance of heritage and Culture as a differential factor for the construction of a local identity, since cultural diversity takes many forms through time and space.
To assess and understand the local identity is necessary to waive the tangible and intangible culture, built heritage, traditions and its relationship with socio-urban fabric, to substantiate a representative of the brand site.
Creating a brand associated to a place is the process by which the site seeks to create a unique identity, where the identity of his brand is distinguished from the others by its distinctive features. Each place is particularly different from the other, according with the natural and cultural characteristics that are unique.
This study is a framework of the doctoral thesis in design that aims to create an effective model to help the designer in the creation of a brand associated to places that reflect is identity effectively.

KEYWORDS: Graphic design, branding place, identity, culture, heritage

1. Introduction

UNESCO convection aims to raise awareness at the local, national and international levels, of the importance of intangible cultural heritage [1] and its mutual recognition - being the main creator of cultural diversity - as well as international cooperation and assistance in the context of an increasingly globalized world that threatens to standardize cultures of the world, while increasing social inequalities.
The Convention recognizes that the processes of globalization and social change (along with the conditions that contribute to renewed dialogue among communities), pose a serious threat of degradation, disappearance and destruction of intangible cultural heritage.
Currently, cities are constantly changing and cultural references have been lost, yielding a loss of identity and relationship to places. It is our duty, as citizens, to know and preserve our cultural heritage as portraying our history and tradition, which at the same time increases our feeling of belonging.
Maybe this is why we are currently seeing a series of initiatives aimed at the preservation of heritage, as a response to the phenomenon of cultural globalization. When to remodel? When requalifying heritage we are strengthening the significance of cultural manifestations while reinforcing our cultural identity, since as individuals we play an important role in the production, safeguarding, maintenance and recreation of the intangible cultural heritage, thereby contributing to the enrichment of cultural diversity and human creativity (UNESCO, 2002).
The designer has a role in this enrichment of cultural diversity, as an active agent in the same creation; the choices it makes and the messages it conveys are components of a public cultural reality. Design is therefore more than the creation of visual artefacts to be used or read, is essentially about structuring systems that allow the meeting between the visual and material world.  According to Margolin (2002) This happens because the code that uses the visual and the verbal along with the messages it conveys should conduct itself intentionally to a target with critical rigor.
At a time when society needs a distinctive identity, it increasingly appears that our identity is mixed and diluted with so many others and that the boundary between what is ours and others is fading. An increasingly problematic identity arises, of who we are and what identifies us as an integral member of a society. This problem means that there is a growing concern for the preservation of our values, culture, and heritage, as it is these that identify our identity, the identity of a space and distinguishes us from others.
In this context, concepts such as heritage, culture and identity interceded and disclosure occurs in the same global channels. The identity of the space is based often in historic buildings and heritage landmarks.
This heritage gives us information about our history, culture, source, thus contributing to the identity of a group, locality, place or space, which holds a key role in our connection with the past and our origins. These factors should mean the recovery of degraded historical centres, the revitalization of old industrial areas, thinking of a re-use and recovery of these for cultural use, thus making them an asset, a differential factor. Both the culture and cultural identity of a community resulting from the meeting of its heritage with its history and evolution over time, which belong to a particular local identity, means knowing ourselves and being different from the global. The identity of a site is the sum of its intrinsic characteristics where its graphic representation must be reported according to its true potential. It must be true while at the same time trying to meet with the mental image that each person already has in place. The designer, through images and symbols, should try to portray the differentiating features of space and communicate them to the outside. The representation must be made without loss of local identity.
To achieve this goal the distinguishing characteristics must be evaluated, in order to obtain a graphical representation that reflects the identity of space, while at the same time developing an emotional relationship with the receiver.
Thus the role of the designer is assumed as a professional project that contributes to the diversity of a space and is perceived and understood by the greatest number of people in order to preserve it at an intangible level.

2. Culture, Heritage and Identity: from Local to Global

The designer, in order to properly construct visual symbols that represent the tangible and intangible culture of the society in which it operates and communicate them globally, must identify that identity, culture, heritage or traditions (among others) that define the community. For this it is essential to understand what these concepts cover.
Culture is the human construction and interpretation of symbols and meanings that are shared, which identifies a particular community, differentiating itself from others through their cultural identity.
In the anthropological sense, Culture is defined as "a set of material and immaterial culture that identifies a particular community" [2] and can be interpreted through different aspects: through behavioural characteristics that are unique to humans, by analysing that human beings have to generate behaviours, and through the ability of the human mind to create endless flexible reactions, through its symbolic and linguistic potential
Material culture is any product that results from human production, it is the set of artefacts that combine raw materials and technology, distinguishing itself from fixed structures by its mobility. Already immaterial culture means the knowledge that was not transmitted through books or any other records or forms, but the one that is passed down through the generations in practice. For these reasons, tradition and knowledge are therefore essential factors for the continuity of intangible culture and the construction of the identity of a community or people.
According to Stuart Hall (1998, p.77), currently national cultures are a union of the main sources of cultural identity, “the national culture is constituted not only of cultural institutions, but also by symbols and representations that produce the feeling of belonging to the local feelings with which we identify, thereby constructing identities.”
The national culture is constituted not only of cultural institutions, but also by symbols and representations that produce the feeling of belonging to the local feelings with which we identify, thereby constructing identities.
These feelings contain stories that are told about the place, memories that relate the present with the past from which images are constructed. In addressing this issue the author argues that one of the consequences of globalization is the strengthening or creation of new national and local identities, in other words, globalization produces a new interaction between the global and the local.
Local diversity plays an important role in this process of globalization because it discloses the local culture on a global level, communicating to and distinguishing for others its unique characteristics, leading to a collective recognition of the same. So, it could be said, that society is an identity isolated from other existing ones.
When we talk about culture, inevitably we confront the term identity because there are many questions about contemporary culture relate to issues of identity.  National culture produces feelings about the nation, sentiments with which we can identify, thereby constructing identity.
Both culture and cultural identity of a society is the result of crossing heritage with history and evolution over time, where belongs to a particular local identity means knowing ourselves as different to others.
Currently we are rediscovering this place as opposed to global, cultural events, traditions which interprets equity as an asset that represents identity and sets the value of a culture.  Heritage can be defined as cultural, tangible and intangible, which awakens a sense of worth and identity while culture expresses itself. Cultural heritage is the link between the past and present that at the same time informs us of the tradition and culture.
It is an architectural representation that awakens the sense of identity and belonging. At a time that we are rediscovering the value of heritage, as an element of cultural identity, it becomes crucial to its dissemination and projection. In that way, the preservation of material culture leads to a global identification while contributing to the formation of the sense of belonging to the community.
The designer should have the ability to convey the feeling of belonging and highlight this asset, communicating it to outside.  

2.1. Methodology

“The nonlinear systems - where the acumulative iteration acts, chance, evolution (adaptation, variability, etc.) and change - tend toward a larger number of solutions, of ways. At the bifurcation point they can be diverted into a completely new state. […].Disciplines and specialties are hiatuses (interruptions in space or time) useful for distinguishing and classifying reality […]. […].

4. Conclusions

According to the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2002): cultural diversity contributes to the intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual satisfactory, and constitutes one of the essential elements in the transformation of urban and social reality. It is to recognize that culture and knowledge takes diverse forms across time and space, being the common heritage of humanity, therefore should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations.
To achieve this, the designer must assess the differentiating features in order to obtain an identity representation of the site and that it develop an emotional relationship with the receiver, that is, the designer must create a visual image based on the differentiating attributes of the site with the aim of strengthening the identity of the same.
The designer, as a professional project, contributes to this cultural diversity is perceived and perceived by many people, preserving it to an intangible level.
In accordance with this guiding principles, the methodology and practice projectual proposed reinforces the above basic principles, expanding the scope of the concept and projective practice; in teaching and research in design. A reality that leads us to defend the methodological proposal presented here: Founded in practice and integrated on the collaborative platforms in teaching and research in design. We intend to provide a tool that facilitates the acquisition, transmission, mobilization and future implementation of research skills and collaborative work, fundamental to the designer as a competent and responsible agent.
The overlook to our experience in the classroom, at school and in the community as an effective training tool (Dreeben,1976) and its subsequent observation of the student corpus, that preferably looks for a Degree in Visual Arts and Technologies in the context of the Lisbon Polytechnic Institute, elapsed the critical reflection that we have proposed to undertake.


[1] The Convention considered intangible cultural heritage the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith - that communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.
[2]  The term culture emerged in 1871 as a summary of the terms and Kultur Civilization, the French term referring to the material achievements of a people, the German term that symbolized the spiritual aspects of a community and in that year, Edward Taylor synthesized in the English word Culture. Thus, in one word Tylor covers all human and increasingly at the idea of culture as an innate disposition, perpetuated biologically (The Columbia Encyclopaedia, 2008).



This paper was presented at Regional Helix 2016, and published exclusively at Convergences.


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Reference According to APA Style, 5th edition:
Rijo, C. ; (2017) Local Culture and Identity trhought Universal Design: Branding Places. Convergências - Revista de Investigação e Ensino das Artes , VOL X (19) Retrieved from journal URL: http://convergencias.ipcb.pt