Discover ‘Design for Cultural Heritage’


We believe that innovation in the cultural sector can only be initiated by understanding audiences, applying strategic thinking and seeing cultural institutions as services for cultural knowledge. For this, thanks to our expertise around design and cultural sector, we have developed and refined our design methodology: ‘Design for Cultural Heritage’. In this section, we invite you to discover our approach and learn more about some of the method+tools that we use in our everyday practice.

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What is ‘Design for Cultural Heritage’?

At Jüniör, we define “Design for cultural heritage” as an analytical and strategic process that helps to define objectives, priorities and the tools of institutions with the aim of valorising, diffusing and activating cultural heritage while creating engaging and meaningful experiences for the public. It’s a multidisciplinary field of application, as it brings together Design Research, through an Audience-centred Approach and Service-System Mindset, together with the knowledge and strategic thinking related to the cultural heritage field; Heritage Strategy.


Our Approach

Jüniör starts every project, whether a workshop or a long-term design project, with design research in order to understand the needs and interest of audiences while getting to know cultural institutions we work for. The thinking ability of ‘design’ not only helps us to valorise the patrimony of cultural institutions, but also to active and disseminate it through a strategic and systematic approach. For us, design never stops! Therefore, we do value the post-design period, where we profoundly trace the impact of a design direction to improve consciously.

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Design research

Jüniör gives a lot of attention to research in order to deeply understand audiences and bring empathy to their needs, feelings, and expectations. For this, we apply design research methods to map their knowledge level, attitudes, and behaviour which are crucial elements to talk about a cultural institutions’ experience offer. We use design research methods also to get to know your institution, the way you work, your culture and the holdings you have. We know that you are traditionally a “stable” entity with limited resources but we also know that research can help us to overcome this difficulty towards innovation.

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HEritage strategy

Jüniör believes that cultural institutions are entities in service of production and dissemination of knowledge, which should be designed in such a way that allows and invites the public to access, perceive and interact with information. Therefore, we do not only focus on preservation but also on activation of cultural heritage knowledge, helping you to make strategic decisions on how to diffuse and disseminate knowledge your institutions, how to enable new readings on your institutions holdings, how to transmit your tangible and intangible patrimony for the future. In between all these hows, it’s also guide you in whys; why to digitise and/or adopt that technology.

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Service-system mindset

Jüniör aspires to bring service-system mindset into cultural sector for better management of institutional products, services, initiatives and experiences as well as organisational structure and resources. With this mindset, we help you see your institution as a eco-system and guide your strategic decisions accordingly. Together we map all actors and assets involved in the overall activity of your institution and define areas, whether related to your internal structure, territorial relationship or your public-facing actions, where we can enhance and improve your performance. Seeing the full picture clarifies your values for the audiences and creates space for innovation.

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Some of our Method+Tools

Are you curious about knowing more? Here is a brief introduction of some Method+tools that we have developed and reframed for the cultural sector. Have a read of them as a first-step-guide to understand how we undertake audience-centric research, ideate and work together in meetings & workshops, map-out your institutional practice and design meaningful experiences for cultural institutions while building a long-term relationship with their audiences. You’re more a paper-print reader and want to know more, no problem! You can easily request* our Method+Tools Playbook in English or Italian.

*Method+Tools Playbook in English is available.
Soon you can also request the one in Italian.





Audience-centred Conversations

The way to understand the needs and interests of your audiences starts by talking with them directly. There are different ways to enable these conversations, from semi-structured, open-ended or long interviews to visitor intercepts, from organising focus groups to meeting for think-aloud activities. All these tools help you to learn about who you’re designing for while giving you the space to observe what they do and how they do it.


Observatory Actions

Observatory actions are about viewing, recording, understanding thus “observing” the actions and behaviours of audiences and gather insights. Tools vary from shadowing or ‘accta’ (audience, content, context, time, activity) observation to video/photo-ethnography with the same aim to systematically trace the actions, choices, interests and behaviours of audiences without any interference. These actions are suitable for understanding audiences in both physical and digital spaces.


Journey Mapping

Whether an experience journey or a content journey mapping, this tool helps cultural institutions understand how, with which content and why online and onsite audiences interact. It’s about mapping the actions and interests of a visitor/user from the moment they hear about your institution until the moment they finish their experience. It brings not only a profound understanding of what your institution offer and its relevance for your audiences but also becomes a guidance on how to improve it.


Opportunity Mapping

Opportunity maps are tools that let project members to easily explore, understand and visualise the areas where a cultural institution can make improvements or enable innovation. The map is done by using different parameters for example territorial to international impact or types of audiences and visualisations such as 2x2 matrixes, stack or gradient circular diagrams which can be used both for gathering research outcomes or as a tool for discussion for making decisions.





Personas, Now and Tomorrow

Before starting any project or taking any decisions, it’s crucial to identify who you’re designing for today and to whom you would like to expand your offer. Personas, Now and Tomorrow is about creating an audience development plan by having a clear idea on their background, learning cycles, interests and context without falling into the trap of stereotyping. It makes you think beyond your current audience and consider even your relationship with other institutions, stakeholders and businesses.


Cross-sector Vision

Cross-sector Vision analysis is generally a result of an in-depth research that identifies key applications, directions, trends and partnerships from different sectors that can bring insights to shape the services, experiences and business of a cultural institution. Looking at the overall experience offer and structure of a cultural institution through a cross-sector vision helps to better respond to the expectations of contemporary audiences and prepares the institution to the future.


Co-ideation Workshops

Co-ideation Workshops brings together a group of people with different expertise, from curators, architects to archivists and art historians to involve them in the design process. Since every institution is unique in the way they are founded, operating, collecting and disseminating, it is essential to bring different perspectives on the possible design solutions and directions. These activities also establish a common ground and language to work efficiently while learning from each other.


Lean Prototyping

Lean Prototyping is all about experimenting, learning and testing ideas. It’s an effective way to make ideas tangible and start in small steps with continuous iterations while collecting feedback to make it better. Even if you work on a brochure or labels for artworks, there are ways to make them tangible for people you design for and test. For example, visual storytelling or unpolished mock-ups are great ways to gather feedback with small investments so that you can adjust the idea and test it again.






Time constraints can help to deliver projects on time but a roadmap gets you on top of the Alps. It’s a full strategic plan of how, when and with whom you’re going to work with and what the priorities are in implementing your idea. In defining a roadmap, it’s crucial to gather all the stakeholders and team members and define together the key milestones in order to move efficiently. With a roadmap, you also recognise the skills of all people involved in a project in a deeper way.


Direction Sorting

Direction sorting is a participatory activity to, on one hand, clarify and break down the attributes and features of a possible design direction, on the other hand, understand the value of the direction for an audience. Most often, the participants of the activity discuss the directions and are asked to prioritise between different possibilities keeping in mind their audiences. This activity not only helps to select a direction but also helps the researcher to gain valuable insights from the discussions.


Pilot Actions

Sometimes in order to truly understand how to select a design direction, you should plan Pilot test-actions. These actions require to fully bring into life a design direction and analyse in a longer period if it works in the way that you’ve imagined. It sounds similar to prototyping but instead brings a comprehensive analysis not only on the solution itself but also how it impacts the overall structure and resources of a cultural institution by balancing audience desirability with institutional commitments.


Experience Check-ups

Experience check-ups are about measuring the success and impact of a design solution both on an audience and business level. They help you to learn from what you’ve been doing by evaluating its effectiveness and define areas where you can make improvements. There are different tools to collect quantitate and qualitative data such as the number of visits and user stories. At Jüniör, we believe that only a mix can help you understand what is the real issue and inform your strategic planning.

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Jüniör brings the knowledge, passion and expertise of developing design frameworks and methods in the cultural sector, especially for museums and archives. Investing in the close relationship with institutions, we aim to advance and disseminate the "thinking" practice of design in the following years.


Interested in knowing more?

We can help you to learn about these tools through our workshops+actions or organise one according to your needs. 

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