In the Graphic Design Class we aim to practice design as an independent cultural practice. As the field of design has opened up and transformed immensely over the past decades, we actively understand that roles and settings for graphic designers have expanded to include a broad spectrum of practices and purviews. As organizer of herself, her topics and interests, the designer continues to act in applied contexts and to produce commissioned work, but also increasingly creates in her own projects: as an artist, writer, producer or curator, running a publishing house or exhibition space. In line with this view on our discipline, the Graphic Design Class combines research and practice into an interdisciplinary, living, and intertwined system, without loosing sight of essential skills and technical aspects of the subject.
Our approach to design is therefore guided by conceptual, aesthetic, pop-cultural and/or political curiosity and necessity—depending on occasion, context or personal interests. As a rule, the appropriate form for any piece of communication is developed from a conceptual idea and critically reflects current developments in media and technologies of our trade. In independent study projects, cooperations and seminars, students exercise and develop visual literacy and conceptual precision, as well as a sense for the interplay of form and content in their work—from joyfully undisciplined research instruments and project-specific working methods to fluid appropriation of theories, media, and formats. Between commissioned projects and authorship; from book, poster, web, and digital formats to video essays, spatial installations, objects, performances, or text production—the boundaries between “autonomous” and “applied” have been crumbling for some time now and we enjoy digging through the rubble.
This notion of graphic design is reflected in the working methods of teachers, and guest lecturers, as well as the general curriculum, which is organized in an open class structure.
The program is strongly based on students’ self-initiative—ideas and projects are developed independently, in exchange with their follow students and teachers: from class meetings with presentations, input, and discussions, lectures by invited guests, to individual and group consultations. In addition, seminars and workshops with guests and experts are offered each semester and the class regularly organizes occasions to show and present students' works, and put it up for discussion.