Signs and Symbols are more significant today due to the global context and economy we live in. Many of these symbols and pictograms don´t have to be decoded because their iconic shapes are well understood. When they are used in branding, signs and symbols can be either local or worldwide.

Does living within the contradictions of local and global surroundings require companies to value their cultural origins to meet the demands of the market? Examples would be the identities of Nokia and Levi Strauss & Co. Both are successful global players; however, Levi Strauss continues its strong branding practice based on its American origin while Nokia does not. In 1853, Levi Strauss, an immigrant from Bavaria, founded the first company to provide men`s work pants, later called blue jeans, for the miners working in the gold mines during the California Gold Rush. Now, more than 150 years later, their identity is still nurtured through their jeans which even now stands for the casual, yet rough and durable look and feel. Now we look at Nokia, with a strong global presence and identity as well, yet without the relevance of a corporate story.

However, many regional companies need to have their products and services advertised and sold on a global market utilizing their original identity. This idea was the tangible basis for the workshop and in this context it made sense to find an additional project partner from the practical field to complement the academic part. A local brewery located in Southern Germany, called "Barfuesser", agreed to join the workshop as the client.

This is what the 3-day workshop, a joint project between the Unversity of Ulm, Prof. Radtke, and the San Francisco State University, Prof. Noble, is all about: to provide an intercultural design approach for the mixed American-German student teams so that they can learn how to function and succeed as designers in a global world. In the final presentation to client the students experienced a very positive and direct feedback that strengthened their self-confidence and will help them for future international contacts and professional work.

In this intercultural workshop 13 students participated. 5 American students from the San Francisco State University under the direction of Prof. Nancy Noble. 6 German students from the University of Applied Sciences Ulm from the Bachelor Program Digital Media, department Electrical Engineering and Information Technology under the direction of Prof. Susanne P. Radtke. Also 2 Russian students from the St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University. During the workshop the participants were divided into 3 different intercultural teams with the following topics:

The campaign team had to develop an advertising campaign to support the redesign of the local beer brand "Barfüßer" and persuade the client of the advantages of a new global brand. The goal was to transform it to a global brand. The team members were
Buchmüller, Emmerich (University of Applied Sciences Ulm)
Krutova,Anna (St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University)
Moran,Mackenzie (San Francisco State University)
Reiner, Stephanie (University of Applied Sciences Ulm)

The information design team did a research of the history of an American and a German brand (e.g. brewery) and presented it using the methodology of information design. The team members were
Cheung, Jennifer (San Francisco State University)
Müller, Saskia (University of Applied Sciences Ulm)
Naoi, Kenta (San Francisco State University)
Wilutzki, Christopher (University of Applied Sciences Ulm)

The third team focused on a comparison of beer commercials from around the world and made a film collage out of the results of their research. The team members were
Bach, Ann-Kathrin (University of Applied Sciences Ulm)
Beliaeva, Mariia (St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University)
Leung, Cherisha (San Francisco State University)
Lewis, Katie (San Francisco State University)
Pierzchala, Martin (University of Applied Sciences Ulm)

Download the schedule of the intercultural workshop