Designer, Editor, Academic

 

I was born in Prague, grew up in Ulm and studied in Schwäbisch Gmünd. There I earned my diploma in the early 1990s with a substantial work on ISOTYPE and innovative strategies in visualizing information by using digital media. Working on these topics taught me to sharpen my focus on the views of my clients and their tasks, rather than on the superficial aesthetics and annoying ideologies. Because of their ubiquitous implicitness, endless discussions on the future of media and technology have become a matter of minor importance. Analogue, digital – digital, analogue are useless determinations if we regard design as a discipline of facing problems and finding solutions. In 1993, shortly after my studies, I started my academic career at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) as an assistant teacher of Prof. Michael Klar in the field of Designing Visual Systems. Shortly after, in 1994, I founded the Berlin-based design studio ‘kognito gestaltung’. From the very beginning, the studio became an early supporter of integrated design thinking – connecting various media, creating new forms of visual expression and advanced communication.

 

Since my professional and academic engagements have become permanent companions, these fields of activity interact on an extremely fruitful basis. Pragmatic normalities are questioned by theoretical reflections and brisk imagination sometimes needs to be confronted by a profound reality check.

Working in an academic environment means to me working in one of the last remaining areas explicitly dedicated to quality. Universities and academic institutions are privileged to collaborate on ideas and solutions far beyond mainstream standards and wanton mediocrity.

 

From the mid-nineties onwards, numerous academic contributions all over the world have benefited my perspective on design – for more than ten years as a visiting professor at the Universidad de Las Americas and other institutions in Mexico, as a frequent lecturer in seminars at the Beijing Institute for Communication and Technology (BICT) in China, and as a conference speaker and lecturer in Korea, Japan, and New Zealand as well as throughout Europe.
From 2003 till 2011 I have been a permanent member on the faculty of design at the Zurich University of the Arts. As a professor I was responsible for the Information Design Program and the master program ‘Visual Systems’. Alongside this I have been working as a co-head in the visual communications department. 

At a certain point, all your experiences and outputs reach a crucial level that needs to be documented. Otherwise everything you have fought for remains without any form of obligation and there is rarely a commitment from where to continue. This is why publishing has become an important part of my work: in 2002 I published the monograph on our studio kognito ‘show’ and in 2003 the comprehensive handbook on ‘Digital Layout’ in various languages. I have published articles in several magazines and books, and in 2009 I co-published the book ‘Ein und Alles’ on the Visual Communications Department at the Zurich University of the Arts. The exhibition ‘Designing Visual Systems’ reflected my academic and professional work in Zurich and Berlin.

Since 2011 I am working as a professor of the ‘Visual Systems’ department at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). This field is concerned with inventing solutions for orientation and identity addressing all levels of human perception. We will do research and realize projects on topics taken from economy, science and culture – regarding people's needs in our everyday life.



 

If you wish to contact me:

ds(at)skopec.com

 



If you want to see my professional work please visit:


www.kognito.de



 

And see the work of some of the most amazing students from UdK:
www.udk.skopec.com