»Designers of course have to turn a profit, invest in equipment, keep an eye on their costs and social security, but frequently their artistic bent gets in the way when it comes to such issues. In order to be able to deal with this conflict more efficiently, a program has been developed especially for this kind of business start-up, geared specifically to the concerns of art, design, and media students, and intended to make them more familiar with previously tedious topics such as money, the law, taxes, and acquisition. After all, it is not just a matter of the business plan, taxes, and the law, but also about self-realization and positioning in terms of design. That, too, requires planning.«
Prof. Peter Eckart (HfG business start-up officer)
»You can learn how to do things, but only by doing them. The vocational preparation courses are not a substitute for addressing and conducting real projects. The ability to work in a team, flexibility, assertiveness and decisiveness cannot be experienced in theory. In this respect students on the vocational preparation courses get important first-hand information and insights.«
Prof. Klaus Hesse (HfG business start-up officer)
HfG was one of the very first universities of art to include business start-up courses on its curriculum and to support its students and graduates in their start-up plans. 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of HfG’s activities in this field, which were launched with government “Exist” funding in the »Gründernetz Route A66« initiative. The courses offered are constantly being evaluated and advanced.
The Office for Knowledge Transfer, which draws up and coordinates the vocational preparation events together with Prof. Peter Eckart, Prof. Klaus Hesse, and Prof. Heiner Blum, is responsible for the courses.
Copyright and Contract Law
The essentials of copyright law and industrial property rights in the field of design, brands, and technology
Part 1: Acquiring and using copyrights and industrial property rights, associated costs, and the interface between the copyright and general right to privacy.
Part 2: Wording of contracty with regard to the receipt, transfer, and licensing of these rights, individual contractual clauses, and behavior in conflict situations.
Introduction to Self-employment for Artists and Designs
Part 1: Start & Billing
Teaching content: statutory provisions, proposing and invoicing freelance work
Part 2: Fees and insurance
Teaching content: Calculation of cost of contracts, German artists’ social security fund.
Part 3: Taxes and bookkeeping
Teaching content: Documentation for the tax authorities, overview of costs and income
Starting up a Business
Teaching content: Practical experience reports from the fields of space, communication, product design, art, media
Presentation & Moderation
Teaching content: Structuring meetings, lines of argumentation, dramaturgy, timing during presentations and lectures, overcoming of stage fright. Practice in real-life situations, video analyses.
Objectives: To develop communication goals, a personal style of speaking, and presentation skills, and apply conversation techniques.
Teaching content: Cover letters, texts in a portfolio, curriculum vitae, formulations for applications, reading of texts and discussion
- Lectures, seminars, workshops for all subject areas of both departments
- Participation conditions: none
- Conditions for completion of workshop: Attendance
Personal advice service »Graduation – what’s next?«
The questions that young people starting up a business ask HfG are as varied as the subject areas we teach. Be they prospective stage, product, or communications designers, artists and media professionals such as filmmakers and photographers – they can all direct their questions to Ulrike Grünewald, Head of the Office for Knowledge Transfer at HfG and, since 2002, responsible for business start-ups. Her personal advice service »Graduation – what’s next?« is extremely popular. The advice given ranges from the first steps on the way to becoming self-employed, to founding a limited company. Most questions, however, are about calculations: What am I worth? How much can my services cost? Students also seek advice about how to be accepted by the German artists’ social security fund. On request, Ulrike Grünewald will accompany graduates for several months during the process of starting up a business and until it has become established in the market. To this end she uses her many contacts, not to mention the university’s alumni network. In her experience, artists and designers like learning from the practical experience other creative minds have gained. And in many cases it is not the answers, but the right questions that are helpful.
Projects (a selection)
a series of events about the most important tool for artists and designers who are looking for a job. These kicked off with lectures given by HfG graduates, in which they presented the portfolio of their work as artists, graphic artists, and product designers. The second half of the series was devoted to the presentation of portfolios which students had compiled during workshops. To conclude, experts commented on and graded the results: Four-and-a-half hours of interesting works and constructive criticism. (2012)
a poster campaign that encourages self-employment, or stickers in the form of neon price labels with imaginative start-up ideas such as »Gourmetkiosk« and »Chaosbeseitiger« created under the supervision of Stefan Weil, Creative Director at Atelier Markgraph in Frankfurt/Main, as part of the seminar »Ab dafür / Just do it«. (2005)
a mentoring program for students and graduates aimed at helping them with the transition from student to professional life. For the most part the mentees were allocated to HfG alumni. (2005)
visits to young companies and studios, including Speziell Produktgestaltung, Eikes Grafischer Hort, and Medialab Meso. (2005)
a get-together for the communication sector in Offenbach was staged together with the Offenbach business development agency. Seated at 11 different tables ranging from conference to table tennis tables, novices and experts met for an entertaining exchange of ideas and opinions. (2004)
a training company operating as the project management department of the Office for Knowledge Transfer at HfG, responsible for university events, competitions, and publications.
For further projects and publications on the topic see Office for Knowledge Transfer.