SPECIAL - Communication Design Application [Studies]

Finally, I made myself do this more or less small (edit: huge) recap since I managed to succeed in the application process for my studies (yey! :)) and some of you kept asking me about it - so I thought: why do you not make a special post about it for everyone to see instead of giving everyone the same answers privately? :).

First of all, the general course of studies I am talking about is Communication Design
(Ger.: Kommunikationsdesign).

So what is this all about?

Communication Design is in general about the visual and verbal planning and designing of ads/objects with the purpose of definite and target-oriented communication as the name already implies.

Or, to cut the matter short: CD is about conveying information by using the most understandable and effective way possible.

This also means that (though there also is an aesthetic aspect) the most important thing to consider about this course of studies is that it's not about creating art open to interpretation (to 90% of the time), but about visualizing and transporting ideas clearly

"form follows function"


Here are some of the areas and media a communication designer could be working on
(I make no claims of this being complete):

Publishing Objects = books & magazines (Editorial-Design) ; questions about the cover, typography, layout (even things like "how does the paper feel and smell?")

Advertising = classical campaign ; packaging design ; poster ; flyer ; commercials (Radio/TV) ; script ; viral marketing (ads on the internet) ; guerilla marketing ; etc.

Corporate Design = designing the appearance of the client/company ; logos ; business equipment ; website (Web-Design) ; exhibition appearance ; etc.

Applied Art = illustration ; photography (staging/report) ; experimental typography ; etc.

AV Media = film ; video ; computer animation ; character-design/storyboard (Game-Design) ; sound-design

Sometimes you can also hear people saying "Graphic Design" (Ger.: Grafikdesign).
You may be wondering where is the difference?
Well, basically it's the same, but GD is the older - some would say outdated - term since it is more focused on the classical advertising and print (based on the name).

Also, people are more likely to understand what you are referring to by speaking about GD as I experienced :'D.

However, the actual curriculum depends on and differs from school to school - research is the key!

I don't think that I have to tell you why I committed myself to a creative career, but the specific design aspect could be raising questions nevertheless since this blog of mine contains more actual "art stuff" than designs.

Well, it is no secret that I love illustrations, character designs and artworks open to interpretation, but what many people don't see is that I also love all the other disciplines inlcuded in this course of studies, because I don't post so much of it or better yet to say: I do, but it's rather subtle to the eye of the common reader such as the design of this blog/website itself.

Interesting fact: before I started drawing seriously, I occupied myself with GFX, pixel art, HTML and Web-Design - creating Pokémon-adoption-websites already in class 6 ;).

On the other hand, as I grew older and (hopefully) wiser, my mind-set changed as well and  I discovered that I was more the type of planning something with a clear purpose which is actually the essence of design.

Also, by being more open for all the things in the world, I got more and more interested in typography and marketing. I created own logos, corporate designs, posters, even own animations and I especially loved designing transparencies/Power Point presentations for school (almost always earning me the best mark, too ;)).

Last, but not least, choosing this course of studies is beneficial for fulfilling some of my lifetime dreams such as publishing my very own book and I also think, though we undoubtedly (and unfortunately) live in an achievement-oriented society, the main focus should always - without exceptions - stay on one's own pursuit of happiness!

This is my life and I rather want to make the best of it! ;)

There are several reasons why I chose this college above others, but to keep it short, I will only list a short summary: the curriculum was my favorite ; there are many different workshops ; the website appealed to me ; it has a very good reputation and several awards and above all: it has one of the few Diplom-degree courses.

As is usual, I had to arrange a special application portfolio for the preselection which I want to show you now.

But to be clear at first: I won't and can't tell you what you would have to draw or select for your own portfolio, this was just my way of doing it and eventually someone liked it enough to give me a chance to prove myself.
There is no recipe, no formula for the perfect portfolio! The professors will either like you and your stuff or not - it's as simple as that.

Nevertheless, it can be a pretty stressful endeavor.
In any case, you should definitely try to apply for MORE than one college! Since there are more applicants than available places, the chances are high that you will get a refusal.

Anyway, here are some of my artworks from my portfolios:
(Yes, portfolio"s" - I applied to 3 different colleges. I've got one refusal from the first and two approvals from the others.)

General information: 18-20 sheets of drawing cardboard + sketchbook(s) ; DIN A2 ; glue used: Fixo Gum ; traditional and digital (printed) artworks

If you want to see the application portfolio which got accepted in Stuttgart, click here - I've uploaded it onto precore - a pretty nice site for everyone interested in studying something with design ;)

I decided to give each portfolio one or max. two themes and arranged my artworks accordingly to give them a better structure (themes: "head" + "body", because both included my favorite pictures and additional "free" works) -  often you have to reason your decision as well, so choose wisely ;).

Also, I added 2 Moleskine- and one self-made sketchbook:

In general, I haven't visited or taken any guidance - I have just continued drawing and developing ideas by myself and I also did a lot of research in terms of design. 

After week/month-long waiting, a letter arrived and told me that I passed the preselection and got accepted for the qualifying examination consisting of a practical and an oral exam - the final step .

I had 3 weeks left 'till the test and therefore tried to prepare myself as well as possible:
I read design books, kept drawing and practised some former tests from this school which can be found on precore as well.

In the end, it seemed like nothing could have prepared me for this.

The qualifying examination itself lasted 2 whole days - in each case from 9:00 am to 15:00/16:00 pm.

We sat in rows - each given one or a half table (the drawing material had to be brought along by ourselves, but we got handed out several DIN A3 drawing cardboards on which we had to do the tasks.) I had a nice seat at the end of the room (you can't see me in the picture).

The atmosphere was surprisingly friendly - the professors and students did their best to make us applicants feel comfortable (they even went through the rows and handed out sweets which really was a kind act :))
Nevertheless, I think I speak for all of us, if I say that one is never really able to relax during exams :'D (especially when you've got all the students and professors examining your stuff from above 'D).

The tasks were pretty generalized and open for interpretation.
The task from the second day, for example, was given in English as follows:

1.Invent a band (Pop/Rock/Jazz/Classical/Electronic/Hip-Hop/etc.) and give them a name.

2. In no more than 150 words describe their music and explain why you have chosen this name.

3. Design at least two of the following applications:
- 12" LP sleeve (30 x 30 cm)
- Label for vinyl (10 cm diameter)
- CD Cover (12 x 12 cm)
- iTunes icon (5 x 5 cm)
- Concert poster (DIN A3)
- T-Shirt

This is what I came up with:

I can't show you the results of the first day though, because I was extremely stressed and couldn't even finish them so that taking pictures was the last thing on my mind :'D (we didn't get the sheets back either).
With all those unfinished pieces, I was really depressed after the first day, to be honest.

However, the oral exam went pretty well.
Despite some general questions, such as "Do you know any designers? What are they known for? What is design? Why do you want to study design? Why here? etc.", they just really wanted to get to know me and asked things like "I've seen that you love reading. What is your favorite book? Who inspires you the most?". I've honestly never seen such nice and open-minded professors :'D.

One week later, the final and crucial letter arrived.

I passed.

You can't imagine just how relieved I felt :'D.

The lessons start in October, so I still have some time left and also quite many things to do, but it is already a dream come true :).


  1. Zuerst mal Congratulations für das Bestehen der Eignungsprüfung. Deine Skizzenbücher sind sehr beeindruckend und was du dir für die Prüfung ausgedacht hast, finde ich auch gut gelungen! Viel Spaß bei deinem Studium!

  2. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zur Bestandenen Aufnahmebprüfung!
    Ich bin erst seit zwei Jahren in Stuttgart und war mir garnicht bewusst, dass es hier noch so kreative Studiengänge gibt. Kam mir sonst alles so bwl / ingenieurslastig vor.

    Eine sehr, sehr gelungene Bewerbungsmappe hast du da! Dann wünsche ich dir mal viel Spaß beim Start :3

    Lg, Kinky

    1. Herzlichen Dank, Kinky ;) ^-^
      Ja vor allem wegen den ganzen Autohäusern :'D
      Dankeschön, vl. trifft man sich ja dann ;D


Post a Comment

By clicking on the publish button on this blog, you agreed upon the privacy policy statements (noted here: Privacy Policy)

Popular Posts