Graphic Designer

How can a branding system represent a historical site and highlight its significance?

Silk Roads
Branding, Fall 2019

The Silk Roads have connected civilizations and brought peoples and cultures into contact with each other from across the world for thousands of years, permitting not only an exchange of goods but an interaction of ideas and cultures that has shaped our world today. The Chang’an Tianshan Corridor is one such part of the Silk Road that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the only site that spans three countries.

The name of this UNESCO site was particularly long; “Silk Roads: Chang’An Tianshan Corridor.” The two parts were broken down into Silk Roads as the overarching brand, and the Chang’An Tianshan Corridor as a secondary brand as it is a part of a larger network of routes. The difficulty of developing the logo and name starts from the number of generic and cliché images already out there. To differentiate this UNESCO site from stereotypes of sand, camels, and silk, this arch-like shape was chosen. Inspired by the shape of a Chinese fan, the arch also acts like a bridge between two points symbolic of how this historic site connected cultures and countries.

A publication with information on the Silk Roads Chang’An Tianshan Corridor was created. Formatted in the accordion book style, it details the significance and history of the Silk Road while the reverse side shows a map of the entire site and descriptions of landmarks there. Stapled at the end of the accordion is a small booklet of additional reading about how UNESCO World Heritage sites are selected.