The HfG considers design to be an innovative discipline with scientific, social, and technological aspects. Design exerts a responsible and permanent influence on cultural, technical, and economic developments. The University consciously avoids artistic or crafts aspects in its teaching of design foundations. On the contrary, all five courses emphasize scientific principles and knowledge, and the rational justification of design decisions.
Foundations of design
Intensive and interdisciplinary foundation studies are the hallmark of the HfG programme. They determine the HfG’s specific curricular model and are a major reason for the high quality of the design courses in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The foundation courses establish a firm basis for creative competence in design activities and establish a reliable repertoire of methods, aesthetic experiences, and techniques. The foundation studies systematically examine the laws of surface and space, light and color, time and movement.
Comprehensive educational concept
The HfG’s holistic educational concept is based on the structural combination of The teaching programme aims to encourage curiosity and thirst for knowledge, to develop methodical thinking, to transfer established professional content, and to strengthen students’ social and intercultural competences. The atmosphere at the University is characterized by an open and productive culture of discussion with internationally experienced tutors. The organizational and technical elements are coordinated and integrated into supports students’ learning processes. During the major courses, students work on projects and chose their own emphases. All programmes aim to examine effective individual case studies, to develop far-reaching solution finding principles, and to demonstrate their model character for future design tasks. Critical and methodical thinking, theoretical justification, and practical skills become inseparably combined.
For design to transfer knowledge and develop added value it must cross boundaries between disciplines and cultures. The development of key qualifications such as self-management, team working skills, language and intercultural competencies is thus also a natural part of the University’s courses of study.
The core topics of the Communication Design course include communication systems and publications, exhibitions, information campaigns, the visualization of scientific and technical content, direction and orientation systems, company and institutional identities, and teaching and learning materials. The Interaction Design course deals with software interfaces, machine and device control, internet applications, information terminals, and applications for the latest media technologies. The Product Design course is concerned with the design of technical consumer and investment goods, tools, furniture, exhibition stands, medical equipment, and accessories carried and used on the body, and with the planning of transport, logistic, and mobility systems.
The HfG values application-oriented design research highly. All research activities are concentrated centrally in an Institute for Applied Research (IAF). This focuses on research and development questions related to the three major areas of Interaction, Communication, and Product Design. Current research projects include the ergonomic design of medical equipment and systems and the aspects of the interaction between humans and designed products and systems.
The excellent reputation of the HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd explains its graduates’ above average chances in the work market. The University provides promising opportunities for professional practice and opens paths to design research. The two MA courses offer both an involvement with highly complex design subjects and also involve students in theoretical studies of design topics.
Tradition and Vision
The University draws its dynamic and power from the fields of topical scientific, social, and economic developments and from its long and continuous tradition. This tradition is influenced by the teaching methods of the Bauhaus and particularly of the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm. The innovative design aims to achieve economic, ecological, and social sustainability. The HfG is a continually learning dynamic organization dedicated to continually improving the high quality of its teaching programmes. It aims to ensure that students reach the highest level of professional qualification and go on to play an active role in representing the interests of the users of design services. In the future, the HfG intends to pursue this aim by offering professional further education courses.