Design School Kolding – 

Opening up New Ways of Thinking

I have always been interested in how Danish designers think. Influenced by many vacations in Denmark I came to realise that virtually all Danes have a good taste in designing even small details. For years Danish designers have been known for their work worldwide, and even small private advertisements in supermarkets or on street lights are designed with good fonts. Why is this? Why do Danes have a feeling for design? In the summer of 2002 I visited all the schools in Denmark where I could study design, and in 2003 I applied to Design School Kolding as a guest student. I liked the open architecture, the interdisciplinarity between the faculties and the classes.

At Design School Kolding a new way of thinking opened up for me. Nearly all projects were in international teams. During my stay I worked with students and professionals from more than 20 different countries and many more nationalities. We worked in interdisciplinary teams and with other professions even outside school, so after a few months I applied to change my status to become a regular student. I graduated in 2006.

In all projects ethics and morals were essential elements, in relation to the later user and the way I made my choices. While at the school I started to think about the wider range of design. Is design only the product or could I design processes, behaviour in groups of people? How could communication between people improve? How do citizens think about politics and political parties and could I change this thinking?

Before I started in Denmark, I got a thorough education in Germany in typography and practical media design. I also dabbled in the engineering field, where I acquired the technical engineering thinking and developed knowledge which helped me understand and talk to people. Useful tools in many ways, but the way of thinking that started at Design School Kolding proved to be essential. I became aware of problems in many situations where human beings were living and working together, which could be solved. Often I saw the problem first and later found the client with whom I could solve it. One issue was changing power plant control rooms into more intuitively controlled environments. Together with Kraftwerkschule Essen e.V., where power plant workers learn their profession from a basic education to higher level programmes, we developed courses, future working scenarios, etc. and were awarded for this work in 2011 with the ”Kultur und Kreativpiloten Deutschland,“ an award given to the most creative heads in Germany. Later in the process we started cooperating with an applied research institute and with architects who build control rooms.

Sometimes I started problem solving projects myself and found partners with whom to continue the working process. One project focussed on drinks served with good food. Often good food is only served with alcoholic drinks that go well with the food. But not everybody can or wants to drink alcohol. What non-alcoholic drinks go with what food? How can we promote and change the thinking of cooks, service personnel and owners of restaurants? What tools could be helpful? In this project I worked together with a photographer, a food artist and a food researcher, with help from bartenders, food physicians, doctors, etc.

I can say that until now virtually all my work has involved innovation – changing human behaviour, using human intuition and analysing processes to find new ways. Partners and clients include the German government, the research and science community, the business world and very often friends who dare to develop innovative ideas and are willing to listen to my thoughts that cannot often be explained in a few words. In addition I have been an ambassador for female entrepreneurship in Germany since 2014.