Welcome to Bröhania

Every day lots of visitors come to the Bröhan-Museum in Berlin. Most visitors though only see beautiful old furniture and things. Good that the attentive children of the ‘Kinder Comitee’ took a closer look and discovered a whole secret world in the museum: Bröhania. The kids took time to listen to the Bröhanians and recorded their stories in a little booklet. As you can see, the inhabitants are quite a colourful bunch. Bröhania is a vast country with many different places and everybody can live the way they like. When they all come together, they always have a party. Next time you come to the museum, do not forget to look out for Bröhania!

 

“Welcome to Bröhania” characters and stories: Kinderbeirat
Concept, workshops, photos, layout: Rose Epple

The Kinderbeirat (transl.: Kinder Committee) is a cooperation between the Bröhan-Museum and Nehring Primary School as part of the Berlin program Kulturagenten for creative schools. During the school year 2019/2020 the committee was led by Rose Epple.
Kinderbeirat: Adem, Alma, Belma, Charlotte, Jana, Krasimira, Luan, Mannat, Mehmet, Peer, Sevim, Sophie, Teba
Bröhan-Museum: Nils Martin Müller / curator of outreach, Sylvia Hinz / scientific assistant
Nehring Primary School: Sabine Brehm-Hamm / teacher, Verena Nietruch / educator, Katharina Stahlhoven / cultural agent

 

Join the DESiGN KiDS!

Do you want to invent things yourself? In my new activity booklet DESiGN KiDS show you how to collect, examine, transform, build and exhibit them. Continue reading “Join the DESiGN KiDS!”

Swiss Style: The Prequel

At last – Eye Magazine #95 has arrived on my Berlin doorstep. Always a pleasure to look at and read, I feel honoured to have contributed a book review to this issue. Dorothea Hofmann’s “Die Geburt eines Stils” (The Birth of a Style) examines the influence of the Basel education model on Swiss Graphic Design. Find out more at eye magazine and Triest Verlag.

Easy Language

As many Berlin expats can confirm, German is not an easy language to learn, due to its complicated grammar. What if you simplified the language in order for it to be understood by more people? This is a personal essay about my experiences with the concept of `easy language´ and the controversy it is causing in Germany.  Continue reading “Easy Language”

Design Thinking Kids Club

What would a school look like if young people and children were designing it? That is what we were trying to find out in this project. For a whole term, I was working with students of the Berlin Bilingual Secondary School in our Design-Thinking-Kids-Club on making their school an even better place.

The Club aimed to raise the creative confidence of its members and teach them tools to enable them to shape their surroundings. Not only because this is useful for their future, but also because we were curious about their ideas.

Based loosely on Design Thinking methods, the open process steered towards a goal decided on by the students. My role consisted of structuring the design process and moving it towards  atangible result. The activities of the club were documented in detail on the project website www.design-thinking-kids.de (in German).

How can we improve daily life at our bilingual secondary school? The students of year eight and nine edged their way towards answers with practical exercises in weekly workshops. After intensive field studies, the students defined their own challenge: How can we create and run a food dispenser in the school, so that students do not go hungry anymore? And how can we make it useful for the whole school?

We bought an old dispenser on Ebay and the students started cleaning it and testing what items would fit into it.

Then they worked on designing the appearance of the automat and came up with a name for it.

The outcome of their work is called fOOd-i, a food dispenser and service based community tool for the school.

At the end of term, fOOd-i was presented to the general public at the annual Summer party to great acclaim.

The Design Thinking Kids booklet charts the ups, downs and outcome of working with students from grades eight and nine on a challenge of their own choosing. If you are interested in the booklet (in German), write me an e-mail.

The Design-Thinking-Kids Club took place at the Berlin Bilingual Secondary School in the Summerterm 2016 and was funded by the Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung. For more details visit the Club’s website www.design-thinking-kids.de.

The People on Top

I needed a break. It had worn me out to concern myself, hourly, with depressing events that had no immediate and direct influence on my life and which I could not control in any way. So three weeks ago I decided to stop checking the news online and my virtual world became peaceful.

Continue reading “The People on Top”

Graphic Design in the GDR

Back from holiday, I was excited to find the new Eye Magazine in my post box – with my review of the exhibition “Masse und Klasse: Graphic Design in the GDR” on page 86. If you are in Berlin and have not seen the exhibition, you still have until August 29, 2016 to visit the Werkbundarchiv – Museum of Things and catch a glimpse of the everyday visual culture of East Germany. The finissage will take place on Saturday 27 with an expert talk about GDR records. See you there?

Where to Study?

CSM_collection_rose_epple

During my recent talk at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, I mentioned my sense of wonder and liberation when I came to study there. “I am feeling the same”, a young German student told me after the lecture. Like me, she had come on a scholarship and had already experienced a few years of German design education. Like me, she was dreading to go back. So what is it that makes British design education for people like me so different, so appealing?

Continue reading “Where to Study?”

Mirror on the Wall

While in Lisbon for the We-Traders opening, I had the chance of interviewing Diogo Lopes, renowned Portuguese architect and one of the founders of O Espelho (The Mirror), a wall newspaper in Lisbon. The article I wrote subsequently about this exciting publishing experiment has just been published on Eye Magazine Blog.

Co-Designing a Yearbook

The plan: to co-design a yearbook with a group of kids between 8 and 12 years old in a weekly workshop. Introduce them to basic principles of graphic design and give them the feeling of empowerment that comes with doing things yourself. Get the book to print.

Did it work? Yes it did! And we sure had great fun with it.

How we went about it: Over a period of four months I met up with a group of 6-12 kids in frantic 50 min workshop sessions every week. To make the layouting possible without having to teach kids a layout programm, I opted for an analogue approach: cutting and pasting with scissors and glue. We started by producing display type, backgrounds and clip-art in individual sessions and then the kids assembled the layouts on their own or in pairs. Once the layouts were finished (stuck together), they were photographed and imported as full page photos in a layout program. The kids left space for texts, working with dummy text which I took off before photographing and added in the final digital document. 

Here are some impressions of our co-design process:

An easy way to create whacky letters: First, draw your letters simply in pencil as a guideline, then draw crazy lines in black marker around them.

Let the marker ink dry and then erase the pencil marks.

Tadaah! Each topic gets their individual type treatment.

Finally we copy all display type unto see-through acetate sheets, so that we can later place them in our layouts.

We also need some background images to make the pages more lively. So we are off to a photographic pattern hunt around school.

Once you start looking, there are patterns everywhere! Some seem to have come about by “accident”…

… others are found ready made!

Now about some clip art to flourish our pages. Before we start, I ask the DESiGN KiDS to range their desks into one continuous line, because they will be churning out clip-art in an assembly line today. I have assembled seven sets of stickers in different sizes and colours, so that every event has a different type of sticker.

Each student gets one sheet with a different theme. I explain to them that they will have one minute for every drawing, then the timer will go off and they have to pass the sheet over to their neighbour and work on the next theme. So each group of clip-art will be assembled by the whole group. Ready? Steady? Go!

They are all clip-art professionals – of course – that is what kids are doing all day at school: doodling in their exercise books.

Look at these amazing Halloween clip art stickers!

Now at last, we are ready to start lay outing! All the ingredients are ready: The photos ( taken by parents and teachers) are printed out on photo paper, our backgrounds laserprinted out on A3 sheets, the clip art on stickers and our type designs on acetates. Let´s go!

The DESiGN KiDS work in groups of two to threes on each topic. These two  are busy at work on two spreads about Maths Week.

diy yearbook in the making

The DESiGN KiDS leave space for the final text by working with dummy text which I take off before photographing.

Once the layouts are finished, they are photographed and imported as full page photos in my layout program. The real text was then added by me  in the final digital document. 

This technique works really well, the printed book has retained a three-dimensional feeling to it.

The co-designing experiment was a success: the Berlin Bilingual School Yearbook 2012 / 2013 got printed in time and quickly sold out. Apart from it being a very authentic document of a busy school year in this extraordinary school, it looks just fabulous.

BBS Yearbook 2013

Thank you everybody!

Editor: Berlin Bilingual School · Yearbook workshops, art direction and art working: Rose Epple · Design: Katy Parker, Ava Eusepi-Harris, Alice Lyall, Khela Brophy, Ruby Good, Anne Mooshammer, Kaya Weissert, Trinity Ernst, Alexander Stump, Maytagorry Linshöft, Clara Koebberling, Leonie Gagel, Zoë Kreissl, Dana Mae Westerhoff, Paula Seemann, Jody Lee Albert Arison, Clay Kryst and Griet Verweij · Photos: Nora Kryst, John MacDougall, Anne Meurer, Pictura Foto GmbH · Picture editors: Stefanie Albert, Nora Kryst · Production: Stefanie Albert, Nora Kryst, Lars Borchert · Text and editing: Lars Borchert, Cornelia Donner · Printing: Brandenburgische Universitätdruckerei und Verlagsgesellschaft Potsdam mbH

From Bauhaus to Betahaus

My recent lecture for Shapeshifters in Brussels, provided me with a good excuse to look at my work from the last decade and try to make sense of it all. Am I still the same designer as ten years ago? No, I have changed and so has the design world around me. Roughly, I would sum up this change as a move from form to process.

Continue reading “From Bauhaus to Betahaus”

City Planning as Pastime

„Children live in cities and they won´t get out of them“, says Alf Howlid from Norsk Form. For most of them, the city starts on the other side of their apartment door. Beyond this threshold lies an outside which is perceived as slightly threatening and out of their control. Children do not think of the city as flexible, not as something that can be shaped by them. Yet, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are “entitled to have a say in matters affecting their social, economic, religious, cultural and political life“, which applies no doubt to city planning. So, what tools do we need to get them involved? Continue reading “City Planning as Pastime”

The Working Book

Technology has changed the places where people work. Or rather, technology has enabled people to work in other places than at a desk in an office. Nowadays you can work in your bed, on the street, in your car, in the air port lounge. Given that, do people still need office buildings?

Continue reading “The Working Book”

Inter Versus Multi

Scenography is per se an area where a multitude of disciplines come to work together. In order to create a compelling exhibition experience for the visitor you have to consider space, movement, objects, words, orientation, surface, light, sound,  emotions, products and the translation of physical space into printed matter and digital space.

Continue reading “Inter Versus Multi”