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Design Research in the Department of Art & Design

Institute for Design Research, Campus Berlin

About the IF

The Institute for Design Research (IF) was founded in 2014 in the Department of Art & Design at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences.
The IF has the task of initiating and accompanying design research projects. The IF represents an open concept of design and understands it as an overarching process of making, which can show itself in different media, such as textual, pictorial, auditory, installative, multi- and transmedial, playfully interactive.


This also concerns the notion of research. The IF also advocates an open concept of research. Research is understood as a movement of searching and questioning, which in turn manifests itself in different media and also methodologically differently. No distinction is made between a thinking practice and a material-bound thinking. These are understood as equal, but not the same, so that scientifically reflexive approaches, experimental design and artistically questioning projects appear equally in the IF's funding landscape. The IF poses the questions Who is researching?, How is research being done here? and What is the question? to every project.

Main research topics

Format Development

New formats emerge wherever technological development makes new design or reception tools available and designers intuitively and systematically engage in exploring the requirements, possibilities and limits that arise as a result. In research projects at UE, new hybrid formats with their own communication, interaction and narrative potential are developed and analysed by combining and transforming existing audiovisual media.

Design and Knowledge

This research focus addresses the epistemic preconditions, implications and consequences of design practices. The decisive factor here is that design, in its diverse methods and media, is understood as a knowledge culture in its own right. Thus, at UE, knowledge in design can at the same time establish design in knowledge as a research object. Both perspectives open up approaches that are interdisciplinary. They can occur as basic research or in application contexts. Their treatment includes the construction of models and theories as well as the preparation of case studies or the production of artistic-design artefacts. The didactic-rhetorical moments of knowledge transfer can also become thematic here.


Interactive Systems

Interactive systems realise an exchange of information and data between humans and technical systems via interaction interfaces whose design possibilities are growing rapidly. Experience-related and aesthetic aspects play a decisive role in the design of interactive systems today. In the research focus Interactive Systems, these are examined in particular in relation to interaction 'Beyond the Desktop', where new, innovative interaction technologies require new design concepts in the sense of interface design. Interaction approaches of tangible interaction, game-based interaction concepts (gamification) and 3D interaction are the focal points here. The methodological backbone is formed by empirical research methods and user-centred process models (e.g. user-centred design), which involve the users of interactive systems more intensively in research, evaluation and also in the creation phases.

Medial Spaces

The media space created by the spatial projection of content from a wide variety of sources is the subject of this research focus, which is linked in terms of content and technology to the fields of mixed and virtual reality, ubiquitous computing and urban media. The research area includes the analysis and creation of real, virtual, hybrid and abstract spaces; digital and analogue strategies of spatial communication, interaction, information or narration; and spatial-medial art. The creative degrees of freedom for a new spatial experience and understanding are investigated, in particular the superimposition or targeted distortion of real and virtual spaces, the work with physical, virtual and hybrid objects and the development of new geometries and spatial dynamics.

Medial Storytelling

The research focus Media Narrative examines narrative procedures, structures and their reception across media and genres. Narrative is understood as a process of meaning production that encompasses both fictional aspects such as computer games, staged photography or creative writing as well as factual ones such as information graphics or communication design. This production of meaning can be organised visually and/or acoustically (textual or pictorial narration, control of narration through sounds) and involves the different sensory systems of reception. The UE thereby brings together theory-oriented and applied narrative research. The interdisciplinary approach of the university and the participating departments enable the development of overarching options for describing media narration and an expanded concept of narration.