Thus we must first grasp the original concept of an antifascist-democratic institution for holistic education.
This paper will suggest that the Information Department and the accompanying general education courses called Kulturelle Integration (“cultural integration”) are a key to understanding the Hf G Ulm.
Their influence on the school’s distinct intellectual climate appears to have been much greater than mainstream publications on the Hf G and contemporary scholarship suggest.
In Ulm, not only did students who were actually enrolled in the Information Department benefit from the teaching of verbal communication.
Students from other departments too benefited from the department’s presence and from “cultural integration” courses, in which they had the opportunity to explore linguistic and text-based techniques.
At the Ulm School of Design (1953-1968), there was a promising approach to teaching visual as well as verbal communication.
Although it took place in separate departments, this pioneering approach attempted to integrate form and content, theory and practice.
From the school’s inception, the Information Department was established alongside the Departments of Visual Communication, Product Design and Building: writing was considered a discipline on a par with two- and three-dimensional design.
While the Department of Visual Communication flourished, however, the Information Department languished, not least as a result of the school’s policy and staff conflicts.
A closer look at the Hf G’s history nevertheless reveals the Information Department’s overall importance to the school’s self-conception and attitude.
Beyond its relevance for design history, this might also contribute to the discussion of a greater emphasis on verbal and writing competence in present day design education. Introduction Looking back in 1975, graphic designer and cofounder of the Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung, Hf G) Otl Aicher wrote that, in comparison with the Bauhaus, the Hf G’s idea of “writing as a design discipline equivalent to graphic design, product design or construction” was an innovation (Aicher, 1975).
From the school’s inception, the Information Department was established alongside the Departments of Visual Communication, Product Design and Building: writing was considered a discipline on a par with two- and three-dimensional visual design.