Is a Bachelor’s degree in a creative discipline not enough? Can you climb higher in the agency world with a Master’s degree?
Yes, I would say so. It naturally makes a difference in how a graduate is perceived if he or she has five years’ of study and two degrees, as opposed to three years’ study and one degree. Masters’ students are generally a little older and more experienced, which can also have a positive effect on one’s chances. But the path towards becoming an art director still takes work. Even as a Master’s student, two years of study do not replace two year’s of experience in the field.
Why is strategy so important for designers?
It’s about “branding” in the broadest sense, i.e. issues of brand management which play a significant role. Even in complex, cross-channel marketing activities, it is necessary for designers to be informed about brand-strategic background information and motivation and consider this as an interdisciplinary compass for design work. The more interwoven this is, the better and more consistent the implementation of integrated communication concepts.
Does a Master’s degree in Design better prepare you for the job market and the needs of the industry?
I think that a fundamentally better understanding of the field of work and the market can come only from dealing with the relevant issues deeply and extensively. Entry into the world of employment often involves graduates coming across entirely new topics and challenges in their field. In this case, a Masters' course, which gives student the chance to network, analyze strategical contexts and international cultural dimensions, can offer an important foundation, ensuring that this “gap” is not too big.
What must a designer be able to do and what do you think the future holds for the field?
A designer must be more open and think in networks. But at the same time, a designer needs to find his or her position in an extremely fast-paced and dynamic world of communication, one which stems from strategic components and stands out from the wider field of arbitrariness. The ever-growing complexities and pace in the digitised and internationalised world require clear and stark poles in the conception of communication, which can only be developed by interdisciplinary teams. Strategy, networking and a capacity for team work are indispensable tools for creating relevant design.
What does Strategic Design and Creative Direction mean?
While the term strategic design focuses on the strategic planning and implementation of integrated communication measures, creative direction is about management skills, which are necessary for managing complex communication tasks and leading teams.
What lies at the heart of the Master’s course?
Our MA in Strategic Design focuses on the globally-networked world with the ever-growing challenges this poses for effective communication design. This includes the role of branding as the staging of brands: Target groups want to be addressed via increasingly innovative design approaches and are using new media. To ensure that communication can be sustainable in this global environment, it must be performed via a variety of channels with constantly new formats. For this reason, we combine strategy with project-oriented design/ integrated communication.
What exactly are “interdisciplinary design skills”?
Next to strategic skills, courage and openness are required. This includes an ability to look beyond the limits of the subject area and sound out free form in an experimental way.
Why should designers do this Master’s degree after their Bachelor’s?
The experiences with the Bologna Reform have shown that the relatively “regimented” BA course was only able to convey the foundation material due to the brevity of study. In order to be successfully employed in an international environment, specialised skills are required. This is where a Master’s course comes in: opening up current research positions and greater space for specific specialist skills.
Does the MA provide space for the individual interests of the students?
The MA in Strategic design aims to encourage student individuality through the course’s third component: the “free formats” module. Free design projects promote experimentation and offer space for individual approaches.