Germany, that is situated in the center of Europe and acquaintances nine other countries, isn’t just the motherland of eminent philosophers, poets, composers, world-famous cars and excellent beer, but also a location where some of the very gifted and highly rated Web designers reside.
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German design is surely worthy of respect and a joy to the eye of anybody who takes the opportunity to observe it. For years, we’ve gathered knowledge, upheld eternal principles of style, simplicity and availability, embraced best practices and kept up with the most recent international trends. I am pleased to present here a showcase and discussion of world-class German Internet design.
German Internet Layout: jung von matt
State Of Things
The creative business in Germany has been exceptionally competitive and consists of thousands of accountants, studios and agencies. We have the pleasure here of presenting a short interview with several German design gurus to lend some insight to the local design scene. As gifted creative pros, blog and book authors and accountants, they are passionate about sharing their wisdom with other people. Our participants ‘:
- Kai Becker, Creative Director in Elephant Seven agency;
Creative fashion agentur
Query: Can you please explain the current state of the German design market. What is the lifestyle span of a freelancer, programmer or designer in Germany enjoy? Just how much do designers make?
Prof. Fons Matthias Hickmann: Dealing with interesting and open-minded individuals isn’t something you are able to take for granted. And earning money by doing what you love entails luck.
Mike John Otto: The present situation for great designers, designers and especially freelancers is amazingly great. That strange year 2009 was not as poor as many believed it’d be, and also there was a major demand for great creatives with experience to assist attain projects at bureaus. As many bigger agencies lower their group sizes, freelancers were highly advised, and I honestly think that decreasing in such a “crisis” always benefits the standard of creative jobs, because folks try harder to show themselves with great work instead of just doing their own job.
Kai Becker: I believe 2009 was a hard year for designers. Though we had a lot of job (in comparison with traditional advertising agencies), lots of customers cut their budgets, which often meant less time to the design procedure. Additionally, I missed jobs in which the design or idea played a leading role. Briefings were quite conservative or half-hearted and frequently came with a incredibly reduced budget. A display designer earns about $2000 to 2800; from there around you’d be a Art Director. The majority of them make $2900 to 4000, however a few earn somewhat higher. Freelance display designers earn at the assortment of $150 to 250 per day, Freelance art supervisors get from $300 to 500. Because traditional agencies had to sack a number of designers, a lot more freelancers have been accessible in 2009, and so far as I know they have had a challenging time.
Religious Bartsch: I believe we’ve got the ideal marketplace at this time for smaller studios and accountants. All the large agencies attempted to build up knowledge of electronic services before five years to be more integrated. People who failed today have to work with specialists and independent freelancer networks to be aggressive. Clients need their 360° communication, and also you need professionals for that. A lot of these professionals, including myself, can be located on Design made in Germany, a platform for German designers. Money-wise, I would say it’s the same as anywhere else. If you are great, you are going to be booked.
Dirk Ollmann: The fiscal crisis had a strong effect on the freelance marketplace. I know a lot of these were starving and sleeping beneath the bridges in Hamburg. Only joking. Life isn’t so bad, but bureaus attempted to manage all of their work using their own staff, and so hiring Managers proved to be a no-go for the past couple of years. Currently the sector is rising again, and also the fact that agencies were quite cautious and kept their staff counts low will now help freelancers. An art director can make between $300 and 500 a day, depending on his abilities, quality and speed.
Björn Seibert: Web designers and developers are operating — surprise, surprise — as freelancers and employees. Freelancers work more on interdisciplinary projects and teams. The workers work in little technical agencies, in bigger high tech agencies and big industry enterprises. I would guess the vast majority work for little to mid-sized businesses. But I don’t think that this is unique to the German sector.
Working as a Web designer or programmer is seldom a 9:00 to 5:00 job. Your earnings depends of if you operate as a freelancer or worker. Second, it depends on if you work for a little service or large enterprise. It may also be dependent on instruction. Employees can make from $35,000 around 50,000 or even more. As a freelancer, then it depends on your market, target groups and clients. As a freelancer, you can and should ask for an hourly fee of at least $50 and up.
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Dirk Behlau: Hmm… I’ve been working as a freelance graphic designer and photographer for ten years now, and I’ve been fortunate enough to create Pixeleye Interactive (my business) from year to year. I mainly do the job for global way of life, car and custom-bike magazines and top brands. For instance, I had been in Mexico with the Finnish rock group Leningrad Cowboys at the autumn of 2009; we will produce a picture book and DVD documentary collectively. All I mean to convey with this illustration is that I’m not sitting at my office every day from 9:00 to 5:00. I travel a great deal, meet cool folks and a lot of new things happen. So daily is like the other, that keeps me inspired. Just how much do designers make? That depends on how “based” you are in the business… I’ve all I need and can earn a good living from it.
Query: Are there some routines of rules or usability of thumb that are common of German layout? Are the criteria of Internet design in Germany altering?
Prof. Fons Matthias Hickmann: even though the internet is completely different from print or anything else we thought we knew, it’s still possible to apply your principles and preferences to Internet design. At the moment, virtually anything is possible, and that makes it intriguing.
Mike John Otto: Well historically, German design has always been quite clear and easy. On the 1 hand, everything produced in Germany, including the design, is typically very precise and content-driven. On the flip side, I see a new trend of more experimental designs that attempt to break from grids and usability patterns. As globalization strikes every one of us, as well as one click anybody can check out what’s highly rated in different countries, German designers are trying to develop a brand new, a fresh German design speech, as happened on the German music scene earlier.
A fresh German aesthetic language that still hasn’t really developed but will be as strong as the German music and art landscape is now. The most creative places in Germany currently are Berlin, Hamburg and the Frankfurt am Main area. A lot of smaller German design and electronic studios pop up and do outstanding work far away from everyday advertisements function, even though the big networks still play a much bigger part in the creative scene than they do in, as an instance, the united kingdom or Sweden.
Kai Becker: I would not say so. This is a difficult point, however I can not see anything explicitly “German” in Internet design from here. Standards are always changing, but I think that affects Internet designers and developers worldwide.
Christian Bartsch: The layout culture in Germany is still very young. With the rise of Berlin among the hot spots in Europe, German layout has taken a large step. We had and still have a lot of influence from Spain and France. If we speak of Internet design, Germany consistently was competitive in the international industry. You will get a lot of German jobs around The FWA.
Dirk Ollmann: For me, as a creative director who’s worked on a lot on large brands in the automobile and consumer goods businesses, the financial crisis has had a enormous impact on promotion strategy and the procedure and technology of the internet designer. It turns out that the short term “return on investment” is significantly more important than long-term brand building.
Nowadays, analytics will be your driving force in Germany. But what impact has that had on Internet design? The trend will be “back from infrared to HTML.” This is the technology that works best with Google’s search engine optimization. Actually, the new BMW site design is based on HTML. Last year’s Web designers have been anticipated to have a lot of skill in Flash and inventing new navigation theories and visualizations. Now, we are going back to the roots of Web, keeping it very easy, do every thing that Google needs and seeking to sell the product with a few clicks. That’s it.
Björn Seibert: First of all, I do not believe there needs to be a particular rule set for a specific national sector. We and others are working hard for a common comprehension of internet standards, usability and accessibility across the globe. There may be derivative or special requirements for particular markets or target classes. But there’s foremost a solid demand for global and widespread criteria by which every designer and programmer can build sites and software of premium quality and a high level of user experience.
Spurred by the Internet standards movement in the US, and led by “General” Zeldman and his combatantsthat the Internet standards movement accelerated very quickly in Germany as well. Many people in Germany started thinking about those criteria and proposed best practices. In 2005, Jens Grochtdreis launched the Webkrauts. Even the Webkrauts are working hard to doing awareness instruction for Internet standards and best practices in web design and development. Their books help teach others and point to barriers.
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Question: Just how important is specialist education in the design business, and also do you believe that the instruction available in Germany is adequate to come up with world-class designers?
Prof. Fons Matthias Hickmann: Professional instruction is essential, and more open minded and sensible young abilities are around than previously. I’m anxious to allow them to carry over shortly.
Mike John Otto: I truly think that most world-class designers have an inborn sense for design but have also heard and shaped their own abilities at art college and by operating in bureaus. So yes, a specialist education isn’t merely important but fundamental, and a few great ones not merely teach students creative and applications methods nevertheless open their eyes to art, design history, shared tendencies and design rules in addition to things like cinema, film and marketing. Nowadays, design students who are looking for jobs need to know far more than that they did a couple of years back: about picture, conceptual thinking, marketing rules, electronic tendencies such as social media and online campaigns, to mention just a couple.
These so-called “digital natives” have a much wider selection of techniques and hardware to mix into their everyday job than I had when beginning from the business in 2000. That is a major opportunity and a large pain in exactly the exact same moment. Every fantastic school has to prepare to students to fulfill this large new range of market needs.
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Kai Becker: For advertising agencies, your portfolio matters the most. I judge designers from the job they have done already, maybe not if they have studied the correct thing. And Burg Giebichenstein at Halle, Germany, is the location that develops world-class online designers. If you’re able to make it there, you are going to make it everywhere.
Christian Bartsch: I think professional schooling shapes your style and keeps you focused. I experienced substantial gaps in quality at German design schools. After four years, I transferred because I was unsatisfied with the conditions in my college. Layout is evolving. Augmented and augmented reality provide new strategies to approach articles. Interfaces are becoming increasingly more complex. Some schools still believe in paper.
Dirk Ollmann: clearly, a professional instruction is crucial. It speeds your gift. But learning your craft is but 1 aspect. It’s also wise to use your university or design school to meet people and network. World-class designers? Of course there’s enough space for them in Germany. Take a peek at the biggest multi-touch wall made by Sensory Minds!
Björn Seibert: This issue has been the subject of the most recent article for the German “Webstandards Magazin” (Issue 4⁄2009). And yes, I think there’s a demand for greater professionalism concerning orientation and education for job starters in the field of internet design and development. Indeed, we’re seeing a little bit of activity with apprenticeship; individuals who study digital media and layout have the opportunity to do some specialization. However, there’s no exceptional degree course or job training that completely concentrates on teaching Web designers and developers. In my opinion, there’s still a lot of work to do in supplying more specialist schooling and better defenses to hopeful professionals — safeguard that will keep people from thinking that any internet design job may easily be accomplished with their neighbor’s son.
Dirk Behlau: Now, obtaining a fantastic education is becoming increasingly more important for someone to become successful at the design area. There are a great deal of great folks out there. I started 15 years ago as a complete auto-didact, creating my own style and look. Designers coming from university are frequently very impractical in ordinary “office life.” They may have learned how to work with apps like Photoshop, however they don’t have the experience to be successful in their business enterprise. Self-marketing and self-promotion are very important, and these aren’t educated very well in universities.
Query: Where would you get inspiration from? How do you keep informed about the most recent design trends? What magazines and books do you see?
Prof. Fons Matthias Hickmann: Like nearly everybody I speak to about inspiration, so I’m overwhelmed with the amount of info we process every day from the Web. A few sites are smart and considerate, providing insight to the production and procedure of design, rather than just displaying random images. Where can I get my inspiration from? From every form of culture. And from everyday life. The Internet nowadays plays a role in both.
Mike John Otto: I get my inspiration from a mixture of consequences: Hamburg and Berlin’s nighttime scenes, youth culture and their apparel and music codes, traveling, music magazines and my everyday work with coworkers and students in my class. Needless to say, I check out design sites such as The FWA, High Floater and Digital Arts, in addition to magazines such as PAGE and IdN, however I don’t get motivated by checking out other design work. Authentic inspiration stems from fields such as music, theatre and story-telling. Sometimes new ideas are born of those influences, and occasionally 1 kind of recycles all of this stuff and creates something new by it.
Dirk Ollmann: Before you design, you need an idea. I believe this is the most difficult thing. A lot of designers use the Internet to attempt and come up with a special idea, but that’s the last place to locate it. I attempt to keep my eyes open to things that happen in real life… keep my eyes open and record. After a time, you have a record of ideas waiting for implementation. Quit working, get motivated! Suggestions will come by doing something completely different. Try out something! I use to pet my cat, kite-surf, play bass, etc.,. Nonetheless, there are some sites I check frequently: Behance for random searching (those are a few cool guys from Eastern Europe); for fashion, The Cool Hunter is one of my favorite websites; and The FWA for state-of-the-art Flash design.
Björn Seibert: A typical day starts with Google Reader and the Twitter timeline. These are the main sources of information for keeping current on Internet design trends and issues. Actually, I am subscribed to around 230 feeds, largely covering design, Internet design and development, usability and user experience issues. Further, I am subscribed to a Posterous blogs. I really like to find little new anonymous blogs with good and appropriate copywriting. For me, inspiration is just what you head out looking for. It starts with great content, smart insight into online design difficulties and smart solutions to common issues. I read a lot of online design-related books. Recently: Sexy Internet Design, Designing with Web Standards, Integrierte Informationsarchitektur. At the moment, there’s just 1 magazine I am ready to pay for, the Rs Webstandards Magazin.
Dirk Behlau: I travel a great deal, meet new artists and swap ideas with them. And I do see a lot of magazines and assess sites, websites, social network sites, etc.. So, I do seem everywhere, and I am interested in a wide assortment of topics from films, songs, video games, traveling, lifestyle, hot-rodding, custom culture, skateboarding, custom bikes, graffiti, tattoos, and to mention just a couple. I do get a lot of magazines from all over the world every month, covering everything from automobiles to tattoos to music. I love the Juxtapoz and IdN magazines.
Query: Are there some other issues unique to German Internet design? Can you see any remarkable gaps in assessing it to creative businesses globally?
Prof. Fons Matthias Hickmann: One obvious difference is the language. English is omnipresent on the internet, German is large as well. How do we cope with that? Is translation a good way, or an alternative? How will our culture shift? What can we do as performers?
Mike John Otto: Not really. British, US and Swedish influences are large in Germany, and so the product is becoming increasingly more similar. A German design and Internet design language has been formulated more and more but is still not strong enough. The majority of the German function found at award shows and in magazines is still mainstream by a handful of very well-known German bureaus. Although German ads and design are winning increasingly more at award shows: Germany has been at the top five at quite a few rankings this season. I expect a remarkable difference will show itself in German design sometime shortly.
Kai Becker: There might be slight differences between Asian, European and American Internet design, however I wouldn’t say they are remarkable. Maybe German Internet design is typically straight, clean, easy and tidy. Kind of what you’d expect from a German, would not you? 🙂
Dirk Ollmann: Germans are usually regarded as “number crunchers“– that’s absolutely true. The big brands always wish to understand what the results would be before we do anything, and we attempt to avoid any mistakes. The end result is that we miss a lot of chances that the Internet provides. But perhaps this is a worldwide problem as well. Styles and trends? I expect German Internet designers will kill glistening 3-D buttons, wet-floor shadows and those ’80s fad next year. Site design will evolve into large clear typography, short copy, just a few topics per page, large easy buttons and a lot of content.
Earning videos will get increasingly easy, and we’re going to turn away from the high end glossy advertising grease. Even big brands will host their own videos on YouTube or even Google Video allowing consumers to embed. “Sharing” are the driving force of content and Web design in the next several years. The biggest job of brands are to conquer social networks like Facebook, MySpace, etc.. But most brands don’t have any idea how to do this. For me, this is one of the most interesting fields in advertising now.
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Björn Seibert: I typically have a more international perspective. But what has to be highlighted is that a line of German Internet design has emerged. You will find a bunch of very talented web designers, and the Internet standards movement is dependent upon us, in no small part as a result of its Webkrauts initiative. There’s also an experienced Web-standards podcast Technikwürze that covers the most recent Web design tendencies and features the finest from the Web in Germany. But I believe occasionally we need to be more self explanatory and discuss with each other our ideas about modern Web design and present difficulties.
Dirk Behlau: That’s difficult to answer because I work for global customers that demand my particular style. Sometimes I think American and European customers are more experimental.
What’s Going On In Germany?
A number of design and tech-related events happen in Germany on routine basis. Some worth mentioning are Forum Mediendesign; painters’ Open; webinale ; WebTech, DesignCamp (January 24-25, 2009 at Cologne). A famous global arts festival, “Illustrative,” has been held this year at Berlin.
One of the most prestigious awards from the German design sector are the red dot design awardwinning, iF communication design awardwinning, Designpreis, Gute Gestaltung, Deutscher Multimedia celebrity (DMMA), BIENE-Award and LeadAward.
Smashing Membership. Just sayin’.
Showcase of Internet Design In Germany
In this informative article, we provide you a selection of their most inspiring and well-designed sites in Germany, both private experimental or corporate.
Stefan velthuys – web & frontend-designer
noel nieto – strassenfussballer
vier für texas *ideenwerk
Showcase Of Design Agencies
The plan industry in Germany is dominated by lots of highly skilled creative agencies that have earned global public attention and many prestigious awards: one of them the red dot design award, iF communication design award and Designpreis.
Recom Clients: Adidas, American Express, Audi, BASF, BMW, Bosch, Braun, Canon, Chevrolet, Citroen,Douglas, Ehrmann, Fiat, Ford, Gerry Weber
Mutabor Clients: Adidas, Audi, BMW, Breuninger, L’Oreal, Nivea, T-Mobile, Volkswagen
GNC Design Clients: HTC Deutschland, Ford Deutschland, Renault Nissan Deutschland
Toca Me Clients: Amway, BMW, Burda, Compaq, Fujitsu Siemens, Henkel, L’Oreal, Mc Donalds, Microsoft, MINI, Müller Milch, Novartis, Red Bull, RitterSport, Sony BMG, Vodafone, Xbox
Hauser lacour Clients: Bayer, Berlin Chemie, Commerzbank, Lufthansa
Urbn; Clients: McDonalds, Adidas, Sarotti, Hasseröder, hohes-C, L’Oreal
Taobot Clients: Beck’s, Coca-Cola, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, GfK Group, Jay-Z, Leica Camera, Mercedes Benz, Metro Group, o2 Deutschland, Smirnoff, Swarovski, ThyssenKrupp, Toblerone
Moccu Clients: L’Oreal, Garnier, Volkswagen, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Dior, Maybelline, WWF, Canon
MetaDesign Clients: Volkswagen, OTTO, Conrad, Audi, Klett Verlag, Lufthansa, Nici, eBay
Aperto Clients: Audi, Bayer, BenQ, Coca-Cola, F.A.Z., Siemens, Sony, Triumph, Volkswagen
Loved Clients: Adidas, Audi, Comdirect, Görtz, s.Oliver
Marctropolis Clients: ARD, Beate Uhse, Bild, BMG, Burger King, Chupa Chups, Procter & Gamble, Red Bull, RTL, Siemens, Skoda, Universal Music, ZDF
Fiftyeight Clients: DHL, Mazda, Milka, Lacoste, Jaguar, RTL, RTL, Nintendo Deutschland, Disney, Procter & Gamble, Ferrero Deutschland, Karlsberg, Nike, Renault Germany, Warner Music Germany, Sparkasse, Opel, MTV
Showcase of Internet Layout Freelancers
Aside from the professional creative agencies, we now find a lot of freelancers working in the business.
United States of Design Clients: Adidas, Audi, Bacardi, Berliner Sparkasse, Bertelsmann, Coca-Cola, Deutsche Bank, Mini, MTV, Mozilla, Plazes, Sprite, Siemens, Sony, Sony Ericsson, TDK, Volkswagen
Clients: Stiftung Warentest, Daimler, SPD Berlin, Plazes
Dirk Schütze Clients: Leibniz, Konica Minolta, Deutsche Post
Round-Up Of German Design Resources
To remain competitive and effective on the creative landscape, we must know what’s happening in the fields of Web design, Internet development, graphic design and typography and know what tendencies are set to become the upcoming big items in the plan world.
The round-up under over 70 design-related resources ought to provide you an overview of German blogs, Internet design galleries (both CSS and Flash), communities, social networks and magazines (both online offline). You would be well advised to see or at least sometimes look through them to catch up on the newest design trends and find a daily dose of inspiration and encouragement. I invite you to find a number of these special and pleasurable resources!
Web Layout Galleries (CSS and Flash)
Your Opinion Is Welcome!
What is your opinion of the German Internet design scene? If we have missed any unique sites, please discuss them, and your ideas, in the comments section. We always look forward to some feedback and encourage!
Stay Tuned And Get In Touch!
This article is the fourth in our new Global Internet Layout collection. Over the upcoming months, we’ll be covering various continents, featuring Web developers and designs from different countries and looking closely at what is happening on the internet design scene globally.
If you”d like to prepare an article for this collection, please get in touch with us, and we’re going to discuss details.
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