The System-Design Class (Fachklasse System-Design) is a graphic design unit headed by the designer Oliver Klimpel (UK/GER) at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig.
It takes conceptual graphic design as a starting point to be developed into various media and formats. We see design – in an inspirational educational setting in one of Germany’s leading art colleges – as a critical, research-driven and holistic tool towards “the publishing of ideas”.
In active exchange with the field of art we are interested in exploring overlaps with artistic practices as well as distinctive difference to approaches in design, both in image and text. Applied to various social, cultural and commercial contexts and collaborations we work on situations in which design is instrumental both in creating chances for authorship as well as pro-active problem solving.
Practical outcomes and projects of our class range from books and other publications, identities, exhibition designs, time-based media and film to installation and architectural situations.
We are part of one of the oldest German art-schools with a very long-standing graphic and typographic tradition, a place full of influential historic positions in art and design. These we want to benefit from, as well as put firm challenge to, connect and extend. In the context of the Academy’s rich heritage and expertise in the conception and design of books and printing we understand books as one of many stimulating and relevant formats that can raise issues of “doubt, delight and change” (Cedric Price) – based on generating, formatting, producing and distributing of images and text and their relationships.
Die Klasse System-Design ist eine Fachklasse an der Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (HGB), die von Oliver Klimpel geleitet wird.
Hier wird konzeptionelles Grafik-Design zum Ausgangspunkt für die Entwicklung von Projekten in unterschiedlichen Medien, Arbeitsformen und Formate. Wir verstehen Design als ein kritisches, forschungsorientiertes und ganzheitlich-verstandenes Werkzeug für “das Publizieren von Ideen”.
In unserem Design-Verständnis spielen neben den Einflüssen aus anderen Feldern und Wissenschaften auch Arbeitsweisen aus dem Feld der Kunst eine Rolle für die Erprobung und Entwicklung von neuen und experimentellen Formen von Design-Praxis und Diskurs.
Unsere Projekte reichen von Büchern, Publikationsreihen und anderen Drucksachen zu Erscheinungsbildern, Ausstellungsgestaltung, Film, Installationen und architektonischen Situationen.
Als Teil einer der ältesten deutschen Kunsthochschulen mit einer langen grafischen und typografischen Tradition sehen wir Bücher heute in einer von einer Reihe mit anderen relevanten und stimulierenden Formaten, die “Zweifel, Vergnügen und Wandel” (Cedric Price) anregen können und sollten.
- Alix Linn Bouteleux
- Ann Richter
- Benedikt Bock
- Claudia Mosig
- Cristina Zickert
- Gregor Acker
- Hilde Gahlen
- Jan Blessing
- Josephine Walter
- Kristin Gertz
- Lea Kontak
- Leon Auffenberg
- Lysanne Bellemare
- Margarete Keltsch
- Marian Arendts
- Marie Lautsch
- Markus Stumpf
- Patrick Liebisch
- Patrick Mueller
- Patrick Vollrath
- Pia Christmann
- Teresa Rudolf
- Teresa Schönherr
- Thomas Schoofs
- Florian Göthner
- Christian Hoffelner
- Victoria Gondra
is a designer who runs the design studio Büro International London, working on projects in the cultural and educational sector, as well as the commercial: exhibition designs, identity programmes, architecture-related designs and publications amongst others. He has lead large- to small-scale projects for Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Museum Folkwang Essen, Whitechapel Gallery London and other organisations. Recently he has overseen the visual identity on the 5-year international art project Europe(n) by the Goethe-Institut. In October 2008 he was appointed Professor for System-Design at the Leipzig Academy and leads the class. Up until that time he was Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins Collage of Art & Design London and had taught at various other colleges in the UK and Europe. He writes and publishes frequently on visual culture and is pursuing research projects.
is a Belgian designer that gained her Master in Textile Design in 2005 and her Master in Graphic Design in 2007, both at the Sint Lucas Hogeschool Ghent. She has worked at Brussels-based graphic design studio BaseDesign for more than two years, developing projects with various clients in the commercial and artistic field. After that she became the graphic designer of the Vlaamse Opera Antwerp & Ghent and defined the visual identity of the house and its following 4 opera seasons. Currently she is working as an independent designer.
Guests who have previously visited the System-Design class include:
Linda van Deursen (NL), Participle (UK), Helmut Smits (NL), Barbara Steiner (A), Emily King (UK), Rebecca Stephany (NL), Zak Kyes (UK), Prem Krishnamurthy / Projects, Projects (US), Janettje in t’Veld, Toon Koehorst (NL), Hendrik Schwantes, Michael Heimann (GER), Nina Könnemann (GER)
Class and Programme
In our class students from the 3rd, 4th and 5th year of the Diploma-course work together in two generous studio spaces on individual desks and team spaces.
In a time frame of three years (Fachklasse) students have the possibility to work on a wealth of different projects supported by personal tutoring – personal projects as well as class projects. We understand our class as an active community of student designers that share experiences and discourses, both practical and theoretical, result-driven as well as speculative.
The projects vary from life design projects with subsequent production and realisation of the designs, experimental activities that investigate design as a social and political discipline, projects that fuse design with artistic methodology, to research projects, which pursue themes of relevance to the international design discourse and an historical understanding of our culture. The course passionately encourages multi-disciplinary ways of working within design and the visual arts and is interested in fostering collaborations with other classes and departments and fields of the cultural spectrum, theoretical debate, aspects of science, entrepreneurship and politics.
Concrete results in the past have been printed matter and books, installations, identities, publication concepts, signage systems, participatory projects and designs for narrative environments, such as exhibition designs.
Throughout the course of the class activities we can access the various impressive workshops in the college, which provide high-quality facilities for printing in various traditional and modern techniques, bookbinding, audio-visual, crafts and installation aspects.
The term “System-Design” was coined by one of the previous lead-tutors of the class, the Franco-Swiss designer Ruedi Baur and was continued by his successors and lead-tutors of the class, Daniela Haufe and Detlef Fiedler of CYAN. It is alluding to the complexities, the strategic component and the wider understanding of graphic design that is pivotal for the unit until today.
In conjunction with the class, there is the option for a unique post-graduate course (Meister-Schüler-Studium) that gives a selected number of students the chance to pursue individual research-driven design projects for two years with Oliver Klimpel as their personal mentor and Professor. Besides the opportunity to in-depth tutorials students benefit further from the integrated activities of the regular class and can make full use of the curriculum and all facilities of the college.
Department and College
In addition to the System-Design class, there are three other units in the Graphic-Design / Book-Design Department:
After two years of the Grund-Studium (Basic Course) – which offers a foundation in their chosen field – the students can choose to specialise in one of these units .
Generally, the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig) houses four different departments, which offer five year Diploma-Courses in:
- Fine Art / Painting,
- Graphic Design / Book-Design,
These departments are supported by a Theory department, which organises seminars and lectures on a range of fields relating to critical discourse in visual culture. Additionally, there is also a new two year Master course offered in the programme “Cultures of the Curatorial”.
Exceptional is the variety of well-equipped workshops including: facilities for printing (letterpress, lithography, etching, screen-printing, woodcut), a metal and wood workshop, an offset-litho printing facility, an audio-visual lab and various photographic studios and digital printing facilities.
The academy building is also housing the college library and the Institute for Book-Design, which is publishing books outstanding in their contents and design.
- Lydia Sperber
- Manja Schönerstedt
- Fabian Fenk
- Joachim Bartsch
- Maria Geißler
- Nora-Katharina Scheibe
- Franziska Leiste
- Katalin Szilagyi
- Simone Müller
- Beatrice Barth
- Nella Riken
- Florian Göthner
- Toni Schönbucher
- Anna George Lopez
- Anna Sartorius
- Tobias Steinert
- Sandy Hofmann
- Anna Gille
- Constanze Hein
- Florian Lamm
- Henrik Rossbander
- Mario Helbing
- Paul Spehr
- Sandra Barth
- Simone Vollenweider
- Timo Hinze
- David Voss
- Leila Tabassomi
- Wiebke Rosin
- Ina Kwon
- Simone Müller
- Anna Sartorius
For the Graphic-Design / Book-Design (5-year-Diploma-Course)
Information about the applications (dates and requirements) for a place in the course can be found at:
Application deadline: 15 December – 1 February
Furthermore, for detailed information you can contact Frau Roswitha Harmel and the student advise office:
Phone: (0049) 341 2135 144
For Wechsler (Transfer) into the System-Design-Class (Prof. Oliver Klimpel):
Application deadline for next Winter Semester: 31 May
Application deadline for next Summer Semester: 30 November
Applications by have to be made to the department via the student advise office :
Phone: (0049) 341 2135 144
However, in the case of the System-Design Class of Prof. Oliver Klimpel, you would need to apply prior to this with a PDF-Portfolio showcasing your work. Only after that and an interview with Prof. Oliver Klimpel a transfer into the class is possible.
All questions about administrative issues, credit points and other official requirements need to be resolved with the student advice office and Frau Harmel, see above.
For the Meisterschüler-Post-Graduate-Programme (description above):
Application deadline: 1 April – 10 August
Meisterschüler are only been accepted after applying with a Portfolio-PDF and, for successful candidates, a subsequent invitation to an interview.
For detailed information regarding eligibility and requirements you can contact Frau Roswitha Harmel and the student advise office:
Phone: (0049) 341 2135 144
Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig
Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig
Wächterstrasse 11 04107 Leipzig
Room: 81a, Ground floor / inside Letterpress workshop
Rooms 2.22, 2.23,