Old Places with New Faces: Considerations for Integrating Environmental Graphic Design into Repurposed Historical Contexts

By John R. Kleinpeter.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The subject of the research is Environmental Graphic Design (EGD) signage and amenities for historic buildings. When a structure or site of historical significance is improved, the addition of a new EGD program has the potential to impact preservation concerns. To address these preservation concerns, design practitioners may consider processes and solutions that honor the historical significance in some way. This exploratory descriptive study addresses how consideration for historical significance has affected the design process of EGD programs that were developed for thirteen sites in nine metropolitan areas across the United States. This paper describes a qualitative research approach, utilizing structured interviews of design industry professionals. This research breaks new ground in an industry where formal preservation standards and guidelines that protect historical structures and sites exist and are published by the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior; however, standards and guidelines that address the design process of EGD programs for historical contexts do not exist. The initial qualitative study identified multiple themes and recommendations that could be used to aid designers, architects and developers engaged in adding a new purpose to an old structure. The findings suggest that a quantitative study of a larger sample may be beneficial to design practice and suggest that case studies of each identified approach are needed to fill the information gap between preservation guidelines and EGD practice.

Keywords: Environmental Graphic Design, Historic Preservation, Design Process, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, Secretary of the Interior, Standards for Rehabilitation

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.269-284. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 938.193KB).

John R. Kleinpeter

Assistant Professor, Department of Design, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, California, USA

John R. Kleinpeter began his professional career as a graphic designer in 1982 and is a principal at John Kleinpeter Creative in Irvine, CA. John has been teaching since 2001 and at California State University, Long Beach since 2006. His professional experience includes design for identity, promotional materials, packaging, environmental graphic design, exhibit, web, television and print. John’s research interests include graphic design in history, culture and the built environment.