Sven Voelker Sven Voelker Studio Berlin Germany – I Used to Be a Design Student

BERLIN, GERMANY

Sven Voelker (Sven Voelker Studio)

PROFESSIONAL YEARS

11

A VALUABLE QUALITY FOR A DESIGN STUDENT + A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL

A student should learn to develop his own projects – seminars are OK, self-initiated projects are better + A designer should learn to develop his own projects – clients are OK, self-initiated projects are better

FAVOURITE FOOD NOW

Käsespätzle (thimble dumplings made with cheese)

YOUR MOST VALUED POSSESSION NOW

My most beautiful material thing is a 40-year-old Porsche

YEAR OF PROJECT

2010

PROFESSIONAL PROJECT BRIEF

Self-initiated project – the concept, research and design of a magazine made by students at the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Germany)

CLIENT

Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle

COLLABORATOR(S)

A group of students (Juliane Hohlbaum, Rafaela Lorenz, Ulrike Schuckmann)

TIME SPENT

1 semester

TYPEFACE

Various

WHY DO YOU LIKE THIS PROJECT?

The students put together a great new magazine in an amazingly short period of time. While doing that, maybe without intention, they created an exceptional platform for all our activities. The magazine is not the final product; it is the beginning of new things. We are able to involve companies like smart or ABSOLUT, artists like Lawrence Weiner, Apparatjik and Luc Tuymans or journalists like Hendrik Lakeberg and Max Dax in our work at the art school.

WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT IT?

It is a lot of work. Making a magazine looks easy in the first place, but if you are not a professional journalist, everything is very hard work (except the graphic design at the end).

OUTCOMES

It is the motor of all my activities at the art school. But it is only a motor; what is really interesting is where it can take us. Again it has made clear that graphic design is nice, but a good story is much more. I want designers to work like artists and authors. I don’t want them to talk about type sizes, but about words and sentences. A designer who talks about typefaces all the time is like a photographer who talks and talks about his Nikon or a drummer who keeps throwing his mind and money at the latest gear. A good camera has never made a good photographer, a good drum kit never made a good drummer, and using a good typeface will not make you a good designer.

FEEDBACK

It is a good project and it has received good feedback. But because being successful is not the most important thing at art schools, we have to make it more risky. The theme of our next issue will be ‘error’. Hopefully we will be able to make mistakes.

DO YOU TEACH?

Professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (Germany) from 2004 to 2010 and since 2010 Professor at the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Germany).

IS IT POSSIBLE TO TEACH DESIGN?

It’s definitely possible to teach design. In my experience, this is only possible if the studies are based on a series of projects. A college is a relatively free space for students to develop their own projects, with enough people around who help, advise, criticize and eventually compliment them on their work. If you do this throughout the five years of studies, they learn enough to maintain this outside college too. I disagree with a more school-based approach, as I don’t think that works. I think I have done a good job as a professor if my students recognize and set their own targets and reach them. I am looking to educate strong personalities who understand themselves as design entrepreneurs.