Communication design is the design of information through different media - for example posters, books, websites, apps, fonts and more. The aim of the study course Communication Design at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design is to teach students the necessary technical, aestetical and conceptional skills.
The study course starts with a foundation period which is concluded with an intermediate examination after a maximum of three years. The following main study period is completed with a diploma. The university perceives itself as a "school of independece" and offers academic liberty for developing theoretical and practical abilities within a non-modularised degree programme.
The department accepts about 10 to 15 new students per semester out of roughly 200 to 250 applicants. Each applicant has to pass a two-stage application process to be accepted for study.
First, a portfolio needs to be sent in containing 10 to 20 original works, each marked with name and date of origin. Instead of three-dimensional works, photos of the same should be provided. The portfolio should be sturdy, closable and may not exceed the size of DIN A1. In addition to the portfolio the printed and filled application documents have to be enclosed.
After having passed the portfolio test applicants are invited to a full-day examination at the university. They will be surveyed through practical assignments and an interview with the professors. The examination takes place between June 1st and July 31st.
The procedure applies to all students wanting to start their first semester here, both German and foreign. Applicants from outside Germany are additionally required to present adequate knowledge of the German language, and must possess a high school leaving certificate to be accepted to the entrance exam.
Detailed information on the application process for foreign students can be found on the website of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. For information on the Erasmus exchange programme, please click here.
Since February 2020, online application process is possible. All prospective students can find further information here. In the course of online application, portfolios can therefore also be submitted online / digitally or, as before, offline / analogue.
Ivan Weiss and Michael Kryenbühl are working as freelance graphic designers under the name Johnson / Kingston in Berne and Lucerne. In addition to classic projects in the area of visual identity, poster or book design they realize projects at the interface between design and technology. They are concerned with the conversion and the productive examination of the possibilities of new tools and the search for new experimental forms of expression.
James Langdon works as an independent graphic designer and writer. He is one of six founding directors of the artist-run gallery Eastside Projects in Birmingham (UK), where he combines graphic design with display and curatorial practice. Since 2012 he has directed the itinerant School for Design Fiction, a model for an alternative design education applying knowledge and methodology from fields as diverse as archaeology, cognitive neuroscience, and speculative realism.
Rebecca Stephany is in charge of the department. She works with and between the disciplines design, art and theory. In her practice, she combines commissions and self-initiated projects, often in collaboration with others. Current works and projects with students test out positions and range in the extended field of visual communication, autonomy and service. Stephany studied art and graphic design at the HfG Offenbach and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, where she taught at the Department of Design from 2007 until 2016. She lives in Amsterdam and Karlsruhe.
Anton Stuckardt studied graphic design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. From 2014 to 2015 he was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht (project: "La Maison Platte - Architecture in the Thin Space of Virtuality"). Since 2014, he has co-operated with the translator Maximilian Gillenßen, the publisherhouse zero sharp, which translates and distributes the authors of the French avant-garde. He is also a freelance graphic designer in Berlin.
Juliane Hohlbaum is artist assistant at the department. After her bachelor studies in Halle, during which she created the concept and design of the first issues some magazine, she studied at the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel. She focusses on Editorial Design and is additionally overseeing Corporate Design projects.
All professors, assistants, employees and visiting lecturers are temporarily employed. This leads to constant changes within the department and guarantees exposure to current developments in design and art — an almost unique constellation.
These are some of the guests, teachers and professors we've had over the years:
Currently there are about 400 students inscribed at the University of Arts and Design of which about 110 students study Communication Design. It is one of the smallest design departments in Germany.
A list of some student's websites is given below.
Students have access to many different workshops. The Communication Design department disposes of a photo studio, a workshop for silkscreen printing and one for letterpress, a printing room and a large workspace studio. Apart from these, all workshops of all departments can be used, such as for working wood, metal and electronics or for sound and film. A library which is shared with the ZKM (Center for Art and Media) facilitates engagement with current literature about design theory and practice.
für Gestaltung Karlsruhe
76135 Karlsruhe, Germany
Tel +49 721 8203–0
Fax +49 721 8203–2159
Webseite of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design
Office Communication Design,
responsible for inquiries concerning the department:
Mrs. Sokoll, firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +49 721 82032245
Fax: +49 721 82032352
Opening hours: Mon–Thu 10–12 AM, closed on Fridays
responsible for students' inquiries:
Mrs. Eisenmenger, email@example.com
Telephone: +49 721 82032369
Opening hours: Mon–Thu 10–12 AM, closed on Fridays
responsible for website content, project entries and linking of portfolios:
Anna Cairns, firstname.lastname@example.org
By public transport:
From main station, take line 2 (direction Lessingstraße) and get off at the stop "ZKM". The university is located to the left. From the city center, take line 5 (direction Rheinhafen) and get off at the stop "Lessingstraße".
Coming from the A5, take exit Karlsruhe Mitte. On the south tangent, take exit 4 ZKM. Drive on Brauerstraße past the Europahalle (towards the city centre), then take next road to the left intro the Südendstraße. Take the first road to the right into Lorenzstraße.
The Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design is a statutory body under public law. It is legally represented by the Principal, Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski. It is regulated by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK) for Baden-Württemberg, Postfach 10 34 53, 70029 Stuttgart, Germany. Person responsible for content as required by §55 RStV: Prof. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski.
Whilst we take great care to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, we accept no liability for the content of external links. Responsibility for the content of the linked pages remains exclusively with their owners.
Concept and design: Anna Cairns, Matthias Gieselmann, Igor Kuzmic, Tais Sirote. Programming: Pascal Bremmer, Matthias Gieselmann. Supervision: Indra Häußler, Urs Lehni. Photos of projects by Anna Cairns or the respective students. Credits for teachers' pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. All other photos by Damian Domes and Evi Künstle.