By examining the relevance of archives for addressing visual identity issues, the thesis shows that current graphic design practices can avoid failing to address authenticity if: firstly, a great deal of historical and cultural memory is retrieved. secondly, if there is substantial visual and contextual analysis; and thirdly, if the visual elements and histories uncovered are understood within the broader context.
By considering the possibilities that brand archives present for exploration of the symbolic meaning of objects and cultural diversity, this study fills a gap between archival practices and the way many designers and companies are dealing with locally specific brands. It argues that brand archives are key instruments for designers to derive meaning and convey cultural memory into the future, and that visual identity is a channel through which these can be acknowledged, displayed and experienced. The study concludes by suggesting possible approaches graphic designers might pursue to address the issues identified, and it broadens the scope of the directions in which brand archives can be explored through the re-contextualization of cultural objects.