Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Design


Kishore Budha

Research Fellow; MA Advertising and Design Programme Leader

0113 343 3715

Clothworkers Link, Room 1.32 (This is the wing that connects Clothworker South and Central)

Office hours: By Appointment

BBA, MA (Leeds), PhD (Leeds)

Dr Kishore Budha is a Research Fellow and member of the Leeds Design Lab area in the Culture, Society and Innovation (CSI) Hub (Link), University of Leeds. He is also the programme leader for the MA Advertising and Design.


Dr Budha holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Andhra University, India, an MA in International Communication and a PhD in communication and cultural studies from Leeds University. I serve as Research Fellow in the Meaning-Centred Design Area, CSI hub. My role involves academic research as well as impact and innovation through enterprise knowledge transfer. My research is centred around the application of design research for industrial, retail/space, packaging design.

Industry Experience

Dr Budha has 17 years experience in the design industry (print, web, corporate identity, packaging, retail and product design). Prior to his PhD Dr Budha worked in the print and web design industry and afterwards he worked in the industrial, packaging, graphic and retail design consultancy industry in the UK. He has conducted design research across continents, advised global brands, and helped develop design strategies for products and services.

Research Interests

Current research

Dr Budha is currently engaged in the following research projects:

  1. Comparative study of the design of spaces in the global city (Shanghai and London).
  2. Bottled water, branding and the commons — implication for new thinking about designing solutions for sustainable usage of water.
  3. Colour Semiotics

Research interests

Dr Budha’s research interests lie in the area of “meaning-centred design”, an inter-disciplinary approach to design innovation that includes, but is not limited to, Design Semiotics, Design Futures, Colour, Culture-led design, Design History, Material Culture, Social Construction of Technology, Human Factors/Ergonomics and Marketing/Management Theories.

Dr. Budha has a developing research profile with academics and industry globally in the areas of healthcare innovation, ageing, design futures, culture-led design, and colour.


Dr Budha delivers research-driven teaching, that is to bring the latest knowledge acquired through research projects and ensuring that students are kept abreast of the latest developments and debates in the field. The modules he teaches on include:



DESN 2275 Research Methods (One Lecture: Qualitative Research – Depth Interviews and Focus Groups)
DESN 3585 Collaborative Marketing (One Lecture: Brand Image Consistency)


DESN5210M Visual Communications (One Lecture: Global Communications)
DESN5220M Persuasion (One Lecture: Brand Communications Consistency in the Marketing Message)
DESN 5230M Integrated Communication (One Lecture: Offline Vs Online: Integrated Brand Experiences)
TEXT 5302M Brand Design and Communication (Team teaching across Semester 1 and 2 with Mike Sheedy, module leader)
TEXT 5304M Textile Product Design, Innovation and Development (One Lecture: Brands and Innovation)
DESN 5302M Cultural Research Methods (Semester 1: Uncovering Cultural Drivers, Semester 2: Colour Semiotics)
LUBS 5432 Brand Management and Corporate Identity (Seminars on Brand Identity, Brand Touch Points, Design Semiotics)
PG Cert PIM 1314 (One Lecture: Design Innovation)



Baojun Suen (UG): Consumer preferences and choices in fast fashion
Qian Zhou (MA Textile Innovation and Branding) – Title TBC
Ravi S (MA Textile Innovation and Branding) – Title TBC
Siriphat Rattanajongkol (MA Textile Innovation and Branding) – Title TBC
Ya-Yin Hsu (MA Textile Innovation and Branding) – Title TBC
Yixual Li (MA Textile Innovation and Branding) – Title TBC


Director EKT (Enterprise Knowledge Transfer)



  • Budha KN (2003) “Content and Community: Online News in Asia”, In: Rao M (eds.) News media and new media : the Asia-Pacific Internet handbook, Episode V. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.

Conference presentations

  • Budha KN, Galfarsoro I, McKay A, Tang T (2014) Ageing & wellbeing: understanding and changing elderly people’s experiences of the city (centres as commons). British Sociological Association Annual Conference (Accepted)

    Author URL [www.design.leeds.ac.uk]

    Studies on the process of ageing deal mostly with the barriers older people face. These barriers can be both physical and immaterial. Immaterial barriers are related to widespread negative perceptions of ageing (stigma, age discrimination, mental health, etc). Physical barriers are both internal to the process of ageing (decay etc) but also external. This is the case when studying the effects of urban built environment upon elderly people’s street mobility and accessibility to city centres (e.g.: community severance –CS- qua traffic barrier effect –TBE- etc). This paper aims at contributing to develop conceptual and practical tools for overcoming these barriers. In the same breath, the purpose of this paper is also to understand and analyse the process of ageing and elderly people’s perceptions and experiences of the city (centres) as a whole (access, leisure…) and how these perceptions and experiences affect their sense of belonging and participation (social, cultural, political…). In other words, in this paper, studying the relationship between ageing and wellbeing requires 1- to present and offer an understanding of the city centres as commons or communal / shared / public spaces as well as 2- studying how access is secured to these shared and public spaces of the city centres. This paper thus proposes a middle range theory whereby, if not totally eluded, extremes of over-speculative abstract generalization and exclusively individual and anecdotic data collection are at least contained. In regards of methodology, therefore, the critical social scholarship promoted in this paper has derived from the commitment to subjecting theory to empirical research. The data-gathering strategy has hence been organised around, and based on mixed methods research and substantive evidence-informed approaches following an extensive field research scheme carried out in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool city centres. Albeit the findings of this paper are provisional by necessity a research proposition is presented, namely that the greater the availability and access to the (leisure / recreational / consumer / cultural…) activities of the ageing population to the common spaces of the city centre the better their individual (psychological) and collective (social) health, wealth and wellbeing.

  • Budha KN, Galfarsoro I, Mckay A, Tang T (2014) Designing innovation for wellbeing: City centres, leisure and wellbeing. Technology, Care and Ageing: Enhancing Independence

    Author URL [www.design.leeds.ac.uk]

    By 2050, there will be more people in the world over age 65 than under age 14 while nearly 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities. These two phenomena will impact the wellbeing of its residents and visitors. The Global City Indicators Facility (GCIF) report on Cities and Ageing outlines the need for better informed decision-making for/to/in “age-friendly” cities. WHO and the Global AgeWatch Index state that supportive and ‘enabling environments’ are important for older people to “live fuller, independent and selfreliant lives”. Leisure is an important determinant of human wellbeing and this paper is aimed at contributing to decisions to enable older people undertake increased independent leisure activities in city centres. Based on a pilot study, this paper explores the relationship between design, independent leisure and city centres for the "elderly" (over 60s) in the city of Leeds. By exploring leisure from both user and design points of view it seeks to understand the extent to which products and services -- physical and digital -- hinder or enable independent leisure activities. The insights gained from the user and design study will be shared with policy makers and product and service providers to understand their perspectives. The resultant insights will be used for the following interventions: a) inform policy discussions b) developing toolkits for commissioners and designers of products and services using socio-technical approach.

Thesis / Dissertations

  • Hendry MD The Networked Camera: A qualitative analysis of the practices of image sharing using digital technologies.

    Author URL [www.thesocialcamera.wordpress.com]

    Since the release of the first generation iPhone in 2007, the popularity of smartphones has increased exponentially. As of 2015, two billion smartphones are in use. It is projected that in 2020 two-thirds of the world will use smartphones. One of the features which underpins the popularity of smartphones is camera which allows users to capture and share images quickly and easily. The smartphone is different from older cameras for three reasons. First, it is held continually in users’ possession. Secondly, smartphones are connected to data networks e.g. cellular and Wi-Fi internet. Thirdly, smartphones offer users customizable camera functions; achieved through use of different software tools. As a consequence of the above, smartphone users are capable of creating and sharing photographic images whenever they wish, with global reach – and in a variety of ways. This thesis investigates the extent that smartphone hardware and software tools are transforming personal photography. To achieve this, the researcher develops a theoretical framework merging: the underpinnings of photography and personal photographic practices through literature review. Then, contemporary smartphone photographic practices are investigated through a set of 6 focus groups with 13-18, 18-25 and 25-35yr olds. Findings are interrogated through application of the framework to identify significant transformations and consistencies with precedent. In lieu of these transformations, a series of design principles are generated for personal photography. These principles characterise the current and enduring expectations users have of personal photography; as well as providing an outline for their future course. These principles offer opportunity for: application in current technologies (e.g. novel or optimized smartphone software tools); reflection upon current limitations of previous photographic technology; and development of emerging photographic technologies. This study includes two key contributions. First: a novel framework is formulated that roots personal photography’s rapidly changing social and technological circumstances in its precedent and ontology. Second: via this framework, the accelerated transformation of personal photography away from a representation act to a mechanism of social exchange (coinciding with smartphone use) is described. This offers scope for: 1) academic enquiry; by further developing the model and exploring ongoing change; and 2) industry development; by configuring new tools and collaborating with existing stakeholders to explore the many untapped opportunities in personal photography as it exists today.

Research Projects & Grants


British Academy/Leverhulme: £10000 (Apr 2014 – Sept 2015). Principal Investigator to comparatively study ageing and leisure in the city centres of Leeds and Manchester through a socio-technical analysis of the design of the city, its built environment, services, social and cultural spaces, technologies.

NHS Leeds Community Healthcare Trust Research Capacity Funding and HEIF Ignite 2014: £4000 (Apr 2014 to Sept 2015). Principal investigator leading a user-centered design study of arts and health outcomes. This research is in partnership with Yorkshire Dance.


HEIF Seed Funding Grant: £1200 (June 2011- Sept 2012). Principal Investigator to study design and inclusion in the global city (comparative study of China – Shanghai and UK – London).

Leeds Social Science Institute seedcorn grant (Oct 2012 to Sept 2013). Principal Investigator to study ageing and leisure in Leeds city centre through a socio-technical analysis of the design of the city, its built environment, services, social and cultural spaces, technologies.

N8 Industry Innovation Forum: £33252 (Oct 2012 to Sept 2013). Co-Investigator studying design barriers and enablers to wound care and carers of individuals with dementia.

Research and Design Strategy consultancy for Marks and Spencer funded by University of Leeds Research Innovation Services-Business Engagement Scheme: £10000 (June 2012 to Feb 2014). Principal Investigator studying the future of food retailing.

Research Centres & Groups

Leeds Design Lab Area in the Culture Society and Innovation Hub (Link)

External Appointments

Semiofest conference co-founder and Chair 2014-15

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Dr Budha has experience in design (print, structural, packaging, interaction and spatial design) and branding and is able to support PhD research in those areas. Proposals in the following areas are welcome:

  1. meaning, culture and design: what meanings do users make of design, how culture shapes meaning of design, how can design leverage these variables. Beyond the final designed artifact, this inquiry can extend into colours, materials, finishes (CMF). Research into semiotics of design and CMF is particularly welcome.
  2. product/packaging/retail design thinking and strategy, including branding and design.
  3. inclusion and exclusion in design.
  4. design and innovation: design histories and futures
  5. branding

Current PhD Students

Seahwa Won

Martin Douglas Hendry

Professional Practice


Dr Budha has over 17 years experience in design research, NPD and brand strategy (structural design, graphic design, interface design, retail design, service design). His research, analysis and strategy has been instrumental in a range of industry categories ranging from medical devices and futures, home appliances, service, retail spaces, FMCG packaging design, communication design.

His consulting experience spans projects for leading global brands including Braun, Electrolux, Mundipharma, DSGI, Honeywell, Unilever, Nestle, Buffalo Wild Wings, Nokia, Kohler-Mira, GSK, Burton Foods, Plum Baby.


Dr Budha has been quoted in international media, including BBC, Al-Jazeera, China Daily, Daily Telegraph (UK), WARC, Chicago-Sun Times, Reuters, Cream, European CEO, PopSop.com.


‘The Language of Brands’, interview with Glass magazine, 31 May 2011

‘China seeks to raise its business interests in Europe’, quoted in news segment, BBC Worldwide, 28 June 2011 (Link)

‘Semiotics, a Sign of the Times’, Admap, February 2012 (link — requires subscription)

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