My name is Ulrich Liesch and I’m a communication designer with a focus on the design of identities and information, as well as on simplification. Aside from that, I am interested in societal design processes.
I offer visual design work with a conceptual and strategical approach, based on thoroughly research and concept phases.
There are a number of definitions of design which say something about the working methods, the fields of activities, and the attitude of specific people. Therefore I would like to point out some characteristics that are critical for design in my understanding and on which my work practice is based.
Design is always a bridge between theory and practical application, wherein the aim is to fulfill a specific function and to communicate messages. It translates identities, information, human’s needs and emotions from an abstract level into a sensible, experienceable form. Thereby, design decisions should not be arbitrary but based on profound reasons.
In my first few semesters at the HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd, I learned that the choice of a specific typeface or color should not only be based on one’s personal taste.
Professional design shows its quality in design details and precision in its realization. Actually, the correct use of quotation marks and the optically consistent line are the things that distinguish a professional design work.
Especially during a five-month type design project at the HGK in Basel, I strengthened my sensibility for design details on a micro-level.
Some of the main tasks of design are to organize the increasing complexity of our world, to make things understandable, and to simplify processes. To do this, the designer has to identify the essence within the complexity and transform it into something that can be easily understood and used by the user. More often than not, simplification can already be reached by making things and connections visible or by restructuring information.
With regards to designing geological information panels, the task was to explain existing structures in the stone to children and common people. I combined photos of the highlighted structures in the stone with simplified graphics or familiar photos that show where people know these structures from.
Design has a strong influence on our society and our future. Thus, designers should reflect on their work constantly. Throughout the design history, the question of the designers’ societal responsibility played a role. Many well known designers and institutions took part in this discourse.
The relationship between design and society is an issue on both my bachelor’s and my master’s thesis. In the bachelor’s thesis, it is an issue on a practical level by fostering co-creations between design students and non-profit organizations. In the master’s thesis, it is an issue on a theoretical level by outlining how competences from a design process can be transferred on the political process.
An open and unbiased way of thinking are particularly important in the concept phase to open the search space for potential ideas and solutions, as well as to be able to think outside the box.
Dealing with systems theory, network theory and constructivist theories in the Master’s program have a lasting influence on my way of thinking and led to more flexibility, openness and awareness of the diversity of perceptions of reality.
Besides their practical work, Designers are also taking over more and more advisory and strategic tasks. A systematical and methodical work process is more transparent, which makes designers reliable business partners, replacing the image of the mysterious creative in parts.
In the study program “Master of Arts in Creative Direction” at the HS Pforzheim, I got to know a range of design methods. I could use them, for example, with the participants of a corporate design workshop in the context of a teaching assignment at the HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd.
As a communication designer, it is possible and necessary to learn constantly about new topics and to exchange with other disciplines to be able to develop appropriate and clear communication concepts.
In previous projects, I learned in a close exchange with a geologist about the formation of sandstone layers, the pickling process for the treatment of metal objects, and about the history of the shepherds in the Allgäu.
In a close cooperation project with the Amsterdam architecture and urban planning office Van Dongen - Koschuch, I worked as part of an interdisciplinary team.
The human for whom something is designed is always in the focus of the design process and basis for decisions. Empathy, a sense of observation, the ability to listen and to formulate the correct questions make it possible to detect the hidden needs of people, which are thereby the basis for the development of concepts to fulfill these needs.
As part of a research project in collaboration with architects and urban planners, we organized several discussions with citizens in order to get insights into their needs, perceptions and concerns and being able to take them into account when developing concrete urban concepts.
The term of creativity is often mystified but is actually just the combined thinking and connecting of previously separated things to create something new.
In the corporate design project for a recruitment network in Russia, I linked their activities with those of a squirrel from a Russian fairy tale which finds golden nuts that are filled with emerald. This metaphor communicates the core competencies of the company in an unexpected and impressive way.