Sven Voelker Hochschule für Künste Bremen Germany – I Used to Be a Design Student

GERMAN

Sven Voelker

STUDENT YEARS

6

A PIECE OF SOUND ADVICE + A SINGLE WARNING TO A DESIGN STUDENT

The years of studying are nice but afterwards it gets even better – it’s worth it to finish + If it’s at all possible, don’t work so much in bars or driving taxis; use the time for studying – it’s better brief but intense

FAVOURITE FOOD THEN

Käsespätzle (thimble dumplings made with cheese)

YOUR MOST VALUED POSSESSION THEN

My most expensive asset at the time was a Paul Smith suit. Actually, not right – it was the first G3 PowerBook for approx. £4,000

YEAR OF PROJECT

1998

STUDENT PROJECT BRIEF

Self-initiated project – programme for a Profile Intermedia conference at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen

COLLEGE

Hochschule für Künste Bremen (Germany)

COLLABORATOR(S)

Peter Rea (tutor), Thomas Weiling and Dorthe Meinhardt (fellow students)

TIME SPENT

18 months

TYPEFACE

Helvetica

WHY DO YOU LIKE THIS PROJECT?

It was a mad idea in the first place. That was long before design conferences were a common thing at art schools. Back then, designers went to professional conferences like the Typo Berlin. We wanted to offer an alternative, a Woodstock sort of thing. It was a wonderful thing to see how we, a small group of students, were able to accomplish a huge conference with 1,300 visitors.

WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT IT?

I wouldn’t change anything.

OUTCOMES

This project was very important to me. I met many people during this project who I am still friends with today: John Warwicker (Tomato, UK), Laurie Makela (Los Angeles, USA), Michael Schirner (Germany) but also a lot of journalists and other people within our small world of graphic design.

FEEDBACK

The Profile Intermedia developed into a wonderful conference series over the years. Many other students have worked in the organizing teams together with Peter Rea over the years. There was much positive feedback, but I have to say that the credits go to a very big group of individuals. Though I must say, nobody after us probably ever had the chance to walk with Peter Greenaway and Laurie Makela through heavy snow at midnight.

PROJECT SIMILARITIES THEN AND NOW

I think the two projects are very similiar. In terms of concept, they are nearly identical. I like to set up a surface on which many people can place something. You can call it a platform or a project, but it is always something that involves others. This was my way of studying and it is the way I teach. Besides this conceptual similarity, both are also very similar in their look. I like Grotesk typefaces and I find it difficult to decide whether I prefer Helvetica, Arial or, now, Francois Rappo’s Theinhardt. I am not good at making ‘rich’ layouts; I prefer it if everything is simple and honest. Sometimes that looks boring, but then you have to make the story even more exciting.