Design is a hands-on experimental discipline that cannot be taught by lecturing and memorizing facts. Clearly, design relies on facts and knowledge, but their complexity and the current lack of understanding of many of the facts relating to the "inner workings" of the human being keep design from becoming a true science in the near future.
Like in a game of chess, in design there are so many variables to consider that only human intuition will allow to manage and juggle these variables until a "best solution" has been identified. While chess computers are able to defeat humans, the amount of variables and their fluctuations over time will keep design computers from competing with human designers for a long time to come.
of variables and projects can be taught, and
intuition can be trained. This is what design education is about. The
any design education
of increasing complexity and diverse scope carefully structured and
experienced design faculty.
Design education in Germany is somewhat different compared to many other countries. Contrary to the highly structured programs typical of most schools around the world, design education in Germany - at least on university level - evolves around a skeleton structure whose contents and details remain open. This flexibility allows for the accommodation of experiment and innovation without having to go through the bureaucratic process of having to change the program structure every time an adjustment in program orientation or content need to be made. Therefore you may not find interface, transportation, or sustainable design spelled out in the program, but you will certainly find them integrated into the industrial design program - where they belong.
Due to the academic freedom guaranteed by the German constitution there are no academic deans watching over the programs. A design program in Germany is the sum of the faculty teaching in the program. Higher-level design education in Germany is seen as a laboratory with methods, goals, and infrastructure, but with an open outcome. There is a lot of support on any level offered to the students, but their success or failure highly depends on their own motivation and active participation. The selection process is stringent. Students are "hand-picked" in a complex selection process, and it is not uncommon that fewer than one-tenth or even one-twentieth of the applicants are admitted into a program. Once inside it is tuition-free.
University-level design education aims not primarily at the maker-doer designer who will be "marketable" to the design firm or corporation around the corner. Our students may not turn out to be the fastest renderers on the block, even though they do magic, marker- and otherwise. The primary goal is to educate thinkers and visionaries who will create intelligent ideas for human-scale products and services as well as a for a sustainable future.
We believe in the benefits of close industry cooperation whereby the industry partners' commercial interests always rank second to the academic interests of our program and of our students. We select our industry partners carefully to make sure our students will get the right challenge and the advanced know-how we expect from such cooperation.
Our program orientation and the multicultural environment will enable the students to detect job opportunities beyond the traditional. This makes them valuable partners for industry and research and gives them a resonable chance at designing their own future and realizing their own dreams.