Stefanie Rau

This Berlin University of the Arts graduate shows how crafted, intelligent and sophisticated editorial design is done, while helping to organise a school for alternative design education.

How would you describe your practice?

Early in my studies I stumbled over the quote by Saul Bass “Design is thinking made visual”. I still like this idea of conceiving design not only as an aesthetic practice, but essentially as a process of thought. For me theory and practice can’t be separated, they are reciprocal processes informing one another. I like to believe that these thoughts might have something to do with what and how I actually work.

You studied in Berlin and still live their now, does it feel like an exciting place to be for a young graphic designer?

Before I transferred to the Berlin University of the Arts I studied in a small characterless town in southern Germany. The city really didn’t have much to offer, therefore a lot more activity had to be organised by the students. That created an atmosphere that I sometimes missed during my studies in Berlin. Although I am sometimes exhausted by the overload, I appreciate Berlin for everything it offers. So yes, it is an exciting place to be, but also one in which you have to find your own balance.

You've helped to run a few iterations of the alternative design school Parallel School; could you tell us a bit about what it is and why it interests you.

The main idea behind Parallel School is to engage in self-organised education and an international exchange. It doesn’t have a fixed location or ownership. It is rather a nomadic idea that takes place in the form of workshops or discussions.

The concept behind these workshops is very simple: everyone who takes part also contributes in form of a small activity, usually something that interests the participants personally. The intention is directed towards sharing rather than gaining a specific expertise. This creates a great atmosphere where everyone can communicate on the same level. At Parallel School everyone is teacher and student at the same time. My involvement in Parallel School was mainly helping to set up this framework in which anything can happen.

I am interested in the exchange with like-minded people, as well as discussing educational issues and experimenting with alternative forms of knowledge production. The experience of the workshops in Berlin, Glasgow and Brno has been extraordinary in so many ways – particularly having met with so many great and interesting individuals.

Tell us about a professional project you've worked on recently.

Together with Robert Preusse and Marius Förster, I finished the design of the second volume of Forum on the Genealogy of MediaThinking. It is a compilation of an ongoing series of conversations with different artists, theorists and philosophers in order to examine the development of dealing, thinking and working with and through media-related issues.

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Parallel School Brno, with Robert Preusse, Robert Haselbacher and Till Wittwer, 2014

What are you working on now and what’s next?

I currently work as an assistant in the media theory department of the Berlin University of the Arts and am involved in a publication project that will hopefully reach its final phase this summer. I am also looking forward to designing the first printed issue of Emerge Magazine as well as assisting with the art direction for the next issue of pop-feminist Missy Magazine.

Since I would like to continue to study within a master program this autumn I simultaneously find myself in the middle of an application marathon and hope to find a place to continue developing an approach towards my own practice.