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Semester abroad experiences

Paradox Box

From being inside, outside and on top of the HfG-Box.

This collection of thoughts is dedicated to all the HfG students out there. The alumnis know. The first semester students will experience, what I am about to talk about. HfG is a box, a bubble, a family and a big journey.

I studied for almost 3 years now. And I´ve been through so many states. I started studying with quite a naive attitude: Design can change the world. I design for the better. I as a Designer can bring the change that is needed out there. My first two semesters were anything but world-changing. I had to find my place here and also in the big world of design. I learned a lot, like the basics of typography, how to code (not), how form follows function, how HfG-people should dress, how the motto is the most important thing of the party, and that designers are basically people that think outside and inside the box.

A quote by Christoph Peterson sums it up pretty good: „If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid.”

A quote by Christoph Peterson sums it up pretty good: „If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid.”

HfG is a box. And being here, studying here is experiencing and exploring the box. The first three semesters are there for checking it out. The cute little frame where everything is white, black, or sometimes grey. A world where design is looking alike, formable, manageable in grids and systems, where it is fashionable to just see a golden ratio of whitespace and Helvetica for the 500iest time. Welcome to the box.

You (will) do your project: you hustle. You scribble, you grind, you drink Wasseralfinger, you reject your ideas, you find new ideas, you evaluate, you show off, you take things personally, you think this is THE idea, you hate the idea, you eat pizza, you go on a party, you drink too much coffee, you have courses, you eat chocolate muffins from the Mensa, you smoke, you hustle, you do not sleep, you prepare presentations, you give love to everyone and everything, you delete everything, you hustle, no backup no pity, you present, you hustle, you carry Eiermann-tables around, you dance, you go to the exhibition, you chill for 2 months.

HfG is a box. And being here, studying here is experiencing and exploring the box.

You do this circle three times. Then, in most cases, the HfG-fatigue hits. And the fourth semester starts. It’s the workaholic time, the time when you start to be more than critical about your projects, the time where you question yourself, your being as a designer, and what you learn at HfG. This is the time, that you venture, no, bungee jump out of the box. You finally start to realize why you had to push pixels, color boxes and cut out type in the first semester. This is the time you begin to question everything. The time you desperately want to see and learn something new. This is the time you are more or less ready for leaving the box.

Pretty amazing that then, the internship hits you like a stone. You work 40 hours a week. You sleep 40 hours a week. You hustle. You are pushed into cold water, you paddle and then, after a certain time, you are able to swim. The process of learning, in most cases, is not noticeable during the phase of learning. But believe me, you look back and you will be super proud of yourself, of all the lessons, all the little tasks and all the big tasks you handled. It all made you look beyond the HfG surface and let you stand on top of the box. You get to know the game, the „real game” and experience the importance of venturing out.

You are pushed into cold water, you paddle and then, after a certain time, you are able to swim.

We cannot understand the outside, if we haven´t met the inside. The Cave allegory, spiritual speaker or just Chrostph Peterson says it. And let me tell you: It is nice when people tell you to venture out, but it is no comparison to the real experience.

If there is one thing I have learned during my last semesters, then it definitely is, that design needs time. You can do your best - but your best also depends on your daily form, pixel perfect is not always perfect, rough and rapid prototypes can work quite good as well, sprints are amazing, falling is awesome, failing is even better and feedback is the most precious thing in the world. I guess being a designer means to come up with 42 more problems while trying to solve only one. I love the journey of becoming a designer and checking out the box, because that is what we have to do, see something, understand it and exceed the scope.

I wish you all a more than wonderful semester, and I know due to current circumstances it might not seem easy to fully feel the „vibe” of studying. But guys, we are designers, we love problem solving, we adapt fast and we always bring out the best. So let´s just do that. Let´s just try.

If there is one thing I have learned during my last semesters, then it definitely is, that design needs time.

*Illustration von Laura Dworatschek
Bild im Titel von Paweł Czerwiński (https://unsplash.com/@pawel_czerwinski)

Ich bin Toni Wagner

Toni Wagner

Name: Toni Wagner

Alter: 22

Wohnort: Schwäbisch Gmünd

Beruf: IG-Studentin

Hauptcharakterzug: liest zu viel

Lieblingsschrift: Neue Haas Grotesk

Lieblingsfarbe: #E51E1E

Ich bin Laura Dworatschek

Laura Dworatschek

Name: Laura Dworatschek

Alter: 27

Wohnort: Schwäbisch Gmünd

Beruf: Studentin

Hauptcharakterzug: aufgeschlossen

Lieblingsschrift: Kievit Pro

Lieblingsfarbe: rostrot

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