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Photo by Radtke

Intercultural Workshop - Type in Motion

How do we look at each other in typography, image and animation?
An encounter between American & German media design students.

During her research sabbatical in the Summer of 2010, Prof. Susanne P. Radtke from the University of Ulm, Germany, conducted an intercultural exchange with Prof. Nancy Noble in the Design and Industry Department at San Francisco State University. Working with Prof. Noble's research class, Prof. Radtke compared the German approach to design education with the American way of teaching.
Also, during this time, a collaboration evolved between Prof. Noble, Prof. Radtke, and Prof. Ricardo Gomes, chair of the Department of Design and Industry at SFSU. This collaboration included discussion and plans for a workshop at SFSU in June 2011 and a visit by Prof.Gomes, to the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm in April 2011.

Prof. Susanne P. Radtke has developed and run international workshops mainly in the United States and in the Middle East. Typography is always the foundation for her intercultural approach. The meaning and the message typography can transfer is quite different in various cultures apart from differences in writing systems. Designers today focus on one hand on the global market but on the other hand, they remain sensitive to their own national and cultural heritages.

Objectives of the workshop:

Designers are required to design not only for their home countries but for the global market as well. It is important for students and designers to learn to experience how other cultures react to our visual concepts in a professional context, which is one of the goals of our workshop. Secondly, prejudices and stereotypes of the other nations are emphasized, discussed and put into perspective to be utilized at a later time as a new experience in visual messaging. Thirdly, when you consider the diverse society which exists in San Francisco, it is important for German students to understand this experience as a foundation for our modern, global society. This intercultural exchange proviides the opportunity to extend and enhance professional horizons, which means that the interactivity of this exchange creates a powerful message beyond the previously separate positions. Conclusively, there will be further development in forms of individual design and animation; promotion of self-initiative and the competency to work as a team in an intercultural context. This ensures further practice and precision in technical skills.

Project topic/result:

The typographical module with optional audio elements is created from typography, illustrations, images, video footage or graphic elements and based on a collage of images and movies or a stop motion movie or any kind of animation. The following parameters are required:
1) The key aspect is the intercultural exchange
2) Typography and audio elements are to be used
3) The movie/animation will take between 5 - 15 seconds
4) The final pieces will be presented as presentations

Methods to be used:

The workshop is divided into three parts:
a) Warm-up Phase: introduction, become acquainted with the exchange partners and their presentation.
b) Conceptual Phase: create mixed teams with German and American students, work on concepts, storyboards and conceive projects
c) Implementation Phase: final production, presentation and evaluation

Creativity and experimentation while playing with typography will be an essential part of the workshop. Increased knowledge about the rules and conventions of the wide field of typography will occur during the process of brainstorming, storyboarding and working on the final design. Later lectures in Typography will be included which will build a theoretical background for the practical work. The Program Flash, will be used for the animation although the students are welcome to use any other software such as AfterEffects.

Number of participants:

12 students from Ulm (9 design students 2. / 4. and 6. semester from the Bachelor Program Digital Media, department Electrical Engineering and Information Technology & 3 engineering students from the Master Program System Engineering and Management, department Mechanical and Automotive Engineering) under the direction of Prof. Susanne P. Radtke and 12 from the SFSU (San Francisco State University) under the direction of Prof. Nancy Noble.
All German design students attended the elective class Type in Motion from Prof. Radtke in spring term at the University of Applied Sciences Ulm. Some of the students who attended this class couldn't join the workshop. Their supervised project results are shown under the link "Elective Class."


Aniko Attila
Alexander Braun
Emmerich Buchmueller
Mads Gerke
Jan Gurbandt
Maximilian Maier
Stephanie Reiner
Stephanie Schmid
Christina Seidel
Ricarda Vogel
Susanne Wasserlechner
Christopher Wilutzki

Ivonne Calderon
Rose Carlyle
Kate Collett
Heather Guilford
Nora Gutierrez
Kathleen Low
Breena Nunez
Sabrina Tan
Erica Wong
Annie Yu
Zoe Zhou
Yan Zhu


Prof. Susanne P. Radtke & Prof. Nancy Noble