Foundations of Creative Design & Free Graphics


Foundations of Artistic Design

The relationship between that which is represented (the motif) and the representation itself (the image) is so manifold, wonderful and iridescently full of contradictions that for the study of design it is essential to research the basic structures that “hold together” these two spheres at the innermost level. From the subjective experience to the objective conditions of perception, from the expression of the designer to the impression made on the observer and from the imagination to the "gaze of the Other," which takes a look at one's own illustrations – these are just a few of the many poles that help to orient and guide students as they intensively study the foundations of artistic design. Being capable of artistic activity without being at the same time “overly intellectual” is an essential goal of learning the foundations of artistic design.
For this purpose, a balanced relationship of manual exercises and free use of the skills thus acquired is the working method, which helps to experience the relation between what is represented and the representation. In a culture focusing on academic knowledge, it is an individual challenge to create a more conscious dimension of the experience. Images principally unfold their effect in terms of being experienced, while symbols are recognised by being read. The discussion becomes really interesting where effect and readability, symbols and images form an amalgam, which only finds its true expression when fused together as a whole. In the final resort, this is where the concept of holism comes into play, since it is the interwoven dimensions that are equally indispensable to the design as they are to the person who creates them.

Free graphics

Where a course in the Design Faculty is called "free graphics", the question arises as to whether "non-free graphics" can also exist there. One possible answer lies in dealing with the antithesis expression, which does not necessarily have to be "non-free", but in our context can be found in the expression "assignment-related". This is how I understand "free graphics" – as a complement to the basically interpretive orientation of a designer's work, which, in a manner similar to actors, directors and musicians, seeks its unfolding in the attachment to a text in the form of an assignment, theatre play or score. The antithesis to "assignment-related" can, in turn, be newly formed and read "auteur". Auteur courses are also necessary in the Faculty – not only as an end in themselves, which they naturally are – but also for other reasons, including in those cases where the interpreter of a text possesses a co-authorship through his medium, this co-authorship containing a greater depth and security when supplemented by experiences in free auteur work.

The development of auteur images as part of a globally oriented theme (e.g. portrait or animal) complements the design process by leading to the questions: How does the experience feed into my knowledge, how are they both interwoven? How are images produced that are really more than just pointers outside of themselves? What is really important to me and how can it be communicated to others? How do I develop a meaningful connection of the spheres of experience, theme, image and medium?

Two things are absolutely indispensable for the creation of auteur images: on the one hand a slow observation of the world, in order to develop images from the chaos by the use of filters and analogies, and on the other hand an intensive confrontation with the individual medium, which may range from the delicate pencil drawing to the large-scale stencil painting – let alone hand printing techniques and digital imaging processes.


+49 (0) 201_6505-1510