Blog of Design Studies

update work in progress

While the writing and research progress is still ongoing I gathered some new impressions. At the moment I am reading the book ‚Death‘ by Todd May wich gets closer to the topic from a more philosophical position.
As already mentioned in my last post the informational Liporello reached the next question. How can I show the circle of life and that all this is one within the booklet. One line that crosses and connects all pages could be an option. As I already know that there are going to be a lot of quotations in this part I thought about using something like this to make this whole thing one and on the other hand to separate the written from the list of references. But just a line seams a little straight and maybe boring kind of. My next thought was about the Line of an EKG or words, scribbles can be seen in the picture below. But mostly I liked the idea of a mountain like shape with uneven edge wich doesn’t paint a line but a shape until the bottom of the paper.
The thick yellowish paper works pretty well with it I think.
For the poster I started a second attempt in printing it from the back so the typo can be seen from behind.

Form follows content

Werner yesterday told me that the questions you have to ask yourself before you start creating things are:
What do I want to say?
How do I think?
How can I organize this thinking?
-> to cast it to others
he meant that you can look at a publication in three ways. As pages, as double pages or as a long line of everything lying next to each other kind of like a strip. He said every story should be seen as this and only if you have this you can go back to the double pages and then to the single pages to layout.
He told me when Lars von Trier starts a new movie he locks himself up in a room with no window and paints a long line from door to door and then he paints lines that cross this main timeline in an evenly rhythm and only then he starts adding the storyline to it.

What do I want to say? What is the headline of all this?
I had different things written down wich were important to me
to facilitate grief
to let grief find expression
to help and support
to enhance transparency
to show the circle of life
but most of all I want to show that dealing with the topic you get a feeling for the immensity of life.
The challging aspect will be to find an overall design that gives you a feeling for this.

As there exist several different sizes and paper goods in my collection it is to think about how to fold it. As a designer it is an important question to ask. Does this binding fit my topic or would another do better. It is important that decisions aren’t made because they look cool but because they make sense.
So I had to question wich folding suits and wich doesn’t. The Origami for example (red) is too playful. The Leporello is a nice metaphor for the circle of life because, if you finished reading and you come to the end you just turn over the last page and you have a new beginning.

As another attempt to visualiseI tried floral ornaments and shapes in silkscreen on different types of paper.

layout- finding balance

One direction of the layout I aspire works with a simple shape, some lines and print enhancement.
Here the lexical field comes into play again. I wanted to give a connection. Not only nicely made shapes. They should work like symbols and show a connection without illustrating too clearly. This will be cover designs for the booklets.
On the photo you can see my trials to find a simple shape wich is in balance and connects with the topic.

finding a format

Today I’ve been going on collecting information in text form I already have and sorting out wich is needed and what isn’t that necessary to know. It is my aim to give a light overview, not to write a book. Especially because there already exist several very well made.
At the moment there are thee booklets. One that gives some general information about death. The second one gives some rituals that can help let go or not feeling overwhelmed and the third one deals with grief.
I already tried out wich format pleases me and thought about how the formats of the different products and booklets could go together.

planted seedpaper

I planted the silkscreen printed seed poster and 3 days after, sprouts can be seen already. Until now the legibility of the letters isn’t really given. Or can you already spot wich letter this will be if it’s grown up?

Compared to the original …..

And 2 weeks later we might see with a little bit of imagination this wonderful “G” – a question of the size of letters.

The planted “G” (highlighted)

finding a structure

Finding a Structure

Today’s work was all about concretizing and structuring. I already started yesterday with the first attempt to get an overview about what I have and what I want to communicate throughout this project. Today’s result is way deeper into details of content and the target group.

  • Junge intellektuelle Menschen, die nach Tiefe suche, die wenig Bezug zu einem spezifischen Glauben haben
  • Geht auf den Style-Markt
  • Meditiert/Kontakt mit Spiritualität
  • Gender – Neutralität (Frage der Identität)
    • Wollen die Freiheit haben sich selbst entscheiden zu wollen
  • Hat normalerweise keinen Kontakt mit dem Tod
    • weil in der Lebensphase Verfall keine Rolle spielt
  • Hat dann doch Kontakt mit dem Tod weil
    • jemand stirbt
    • was passiert dann?
    • sind unvorbereitet
    • haben das Gefühl es ist eine unmenschliche Maschinerie
  • Gefühl von Wertschätzung für das eigene Leben erzeugen, wenn der Tod bewusst gemacht wird
  • Wünschen sich:
    • Information
    • Tiefe
    • Nachhaltigkeit
    • Gut durchdachte Produkte
    • Handgemachtes
    • Ausdruck
  • Alter: 20 – 35 Jahre
  • Anmutung
  • Ausdruck
  • Transzendenz
  • Tiefe
  • Ruhe
  • Stille
Bezug der Artikel
  • Internet
  • Buchläden ( Szene)
  • Style-Märkte

Farbfächer zu Rate ziehen (Lila?.sehr dunkles Petrol/Blau hat Anmutung von Sonnenauf-/untergang…)

1. Heft: Information
  • If you were going to die soon …..
    • Checkliste des Sterbenden ( ich hinterlasse ordentlich 🙂 )
  • Jemand stirbt bald
    • Fünf Phasen des Sterbensnach Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
      • Nicht haben wollen und Isolierung
      • Zorn
      • Verhandeln
      • Depression
      • Zustimmung
    • Was passiert beim Sterben?
    • Arten zu Sterben – Suizide
    • Umgang mit Sterbenden
      • Respektieren der Privatsphäre des Sterbenden (Achtsamkeit gegenüber dem Sterbenden)
      • Achtsamkeit zu sich selbst
  • Der Tod und danach
    • Tod und Nachleben in den fünf Weltreligionen
      • Hindus ( Verbrennung der Toten / Aufgaben des Ältesten)
      • Juden ( Beerdigung der Toten – keine Verbrennung)
      • Buddhisten
      • Christen
      • Moslems
    • Totenverehrung und Rituale in verschiedenen Weltregionen
      • Ghana,
      • Mexiko
    • ( Unterschiede in verschiedenen gesellschaftlichen Schichten?)
    • Was passiert beim Beerdigen und welche Optionen gibt es
      ( Was passiert mit dem Toten) 
      • Was passiert im Krematorium
    • Literaturliste


2. Heft: Was kann ich tun?

(Gliederung nach der Frage wofür?)

  • Gefühl für die Unermesslichkeit des Lebens bekommen
  • Umgang mit akuter Trauer
    • Texte
    • Meditationen (Schmerz-Meditationen)
    • Gebete
    • Verbundenheit mit der Religion
  • Verarbeitung von Trauer
    • Schuldgefühle auflösen
  • Frieden finden
    • Eigene Rituale (was kann man machen)
      • Selbststeuerung ( sichere innere Ort / Tresor)
      • Eigenen Altar aufbauen
      • Totenlichter (Friedhof, Zuhause, Kirche)
      • Besuche der Verstorbenen auf dem Friedhof
      • Toten als Diamanten etc.

  Hier kommen die weiteren Produkte rein


  • aufklappbar, könnte aussehen wie ein Kreuz(?!)
  • zarte Form Linien wie bei Landkarten zeigen Tiefe, Reise, Metamorphose
  • Formen die eine Anmutung von Pflanzen und Bäumen,
  • Trost durch Naturverbundenheit
  • gute Wörter: present, rise
  • Quellenhinweise gleich in Gestaltung mit einbeziehen
Drucksachen (Anchoring items)
  • Kondolenz-Buch neu gedacht (ein Teil geht in den Sarg, ein Teil bleibt bei mir)
    • Arbeit mit Samen (Naturverbundenheit)+Papier …..
  • Karte mit Wunsch oder Gedanken der verfliegt ( verschwindet)
    • Lichtempfindliche Farbe Siebdruck
  • Tattoos als Neuinterpretation der Trauerbinde
  • Poster als Zeichen und um Kraft zu geben
  • Hefte
    • 1. Information
    • 2. Was kann ich tun

design- finding a path


Finding a direction for your design is a quite difficult thing. How do I want it to be afterwords? Clean and pricy or young and wild? To take the fist steps out of the chaos of single ideas and text I collected I started to make a lexical field.
Sometimes this is a good option because it can help associate and not getting stuck with an idea in such an early state of designing. Afterwords I added a quick picture research to see what different pictorial worlds or associations could be possible.

Lexical field for death
Tod Death
Sterben To die
Gehen Go
Davon segeln Sailing from it
Münzen auf die Augen Coins on the eyes
Grenzen überschreiten Exceed limits
Untiefen Shallows
Hinübertreten Step over
Sich befreien Free yourself
Zeit ist abgelaufen Time is up
Ins Licht gehen Go into the light
Karma Karma
Aufgeben To give up
Aussteigen Get out
Leben aushauchen to sigh out one’s soul
Geist-Körper-Trennung Mind-body separation
Den letzen Atemzug Breathe one’s last
Ewige Jagdgründe Happy hunting grounds
Von jemandem gehen To go from someone
Heimgehen Go home
Sein Ende finden Find its end
Sich verabschieden Say goodbye (for ever)
Sterbebett letzte Nachricht Deathbed message
Dahingehen Passing by
Ruhen Rest
Paradies Paradise
An einen schöneren Ort gehen Go to a nicer place
Nichts versäumt haben Have not missed anything
Warum haben wir nur solche Angst vor dem Sterben, wo es doch alle vor uns schon getan haben Why are we so afraid of dying, when all of us have already done so?
Zur Ruhe kommen Come to rest
Den letzten großen Schritt gehen Take the last big step
Intensität Intensity
Nichts Nothing
Stille Silence
Lexical field for life
Leben Life
Kontakt Contact
Verbindung Connection
Berührung Touch
Gefühl Feeling
Trommelwirbel Drum-roll
Haut Skin
Wind Wind
Sein Be
Ganzheit Wholeness
Grenzen Border
Farbe Colour
Liebe Love

Poster- paper and printing techniques trial

Today I wanted to give it a try if a poster printed mirror inverted would be viewable on the back side of  thin paper. So that if you would hang up the poster the paint and message would be kind of kidden in direction of the wall but hopefully still viewable on the front side. For this I chose another quote by Ram Dass. But unluckily the gost picture wich was viewable on the net was exposed to my screenprint frame and viewable on the print as you can see in the pictures.

intermediate result


To show what we have discovered until now we were called upon holding a Pecha Kucha presentation wich means 20 pictures in a slide show, each is shown for 20 seconds. This is the text I aquired.

Presentation of intermediate results

We live in a society wich is used to deny death.
Like sexuality, death is something only being talked about behind closed doors.
In the past the church had preserved the monopoly of dealing with death.
How is death to be handled when faith is missing? 
How does that work without rituals?
this topic interests me because I am asking myself
how can we appreciate life if we don’t know anything about death? I think that throughout getting in contact with the topic of death we can feel the immensity of life.

So I started to ask a lot of questions.
But the more questions I asked the more came up and lots and lots of information
I wanted to make this huge topic a little less heavy. To give a light overview, informations and assistance.

If you were going to die soon and you would only have one phone call you could make.
Who would you call? And what would you say?

And why are you waiting?

This question by famous author Steven Levine sums up pretty much a lot of other questions and gives information wether we have thought about death yet or how we deal with that topic.

Here you can see what I discovered happens next. ( Herby and Marie arguing on several photos)
Whenever I started to talk about that issue a conversation came up and everyone had something to add.
And this is what I do for my 100 days.

2. On the point of death – assistance and information

Seventy-five per cent of the population take their last breath in a old people’s home home or hospital. Most die in institutions where death is considered the enemy.
Relatives are often left alone

In my work I want to have a part with general information but also a
part with rituals that can help you let go.
because letting go is one of the most important things. also for the relatives.
In times before the death everyday moments are important.
If you have a calm mind also the invalid can come to rest.

3. Somebody died. What to know. What to do.

A friend of mine told me that after his mother died he experienced the contact with the undertaker as traumatic. He described it as pale thin men in cheap suits giving him a fake look of compassion. They took everything out of his hands and the next time he saw his mother was at the funeral.
I want to show what has to be done and where you have room to decide
For that I want to make a checklist. step by step. What has to be done and what is possible.

4. Grief

The pain of separation from a dearly loved one is among the greatest of a lifetime.
Some people speak of grief as though they were walking beneath a great ocean.
The rational mind can’t ‘understand’ what has happened.
It is the time to to honour the moment, to let grief find expression.

We know printed grief items mostly from memorial cards, death notices or condolence books.
For my project I wanted to overthink all of these again and make a link to historical grave goods.

Until nowadays people like to give something personal within the coffin.
Toys, letters or presents.
I liked the Idea that it could be something out of two parts.
One that you can give within the coffin and the other part to keep.
To remember.

My second idea overthinks the concept of condolescence books.
Those books normally belong to the relatives of the decedent.
I’d like it better to take it out of the book format.
An envelope for everyone who likes. In it are a card on wich you could write a nice memory you shared or glue a photo you could also write something critical.
This is only between you both.
Also in the envelope, could be a seed paper which shows the circle of life.
plant it in your garden or keep it as you like.
all the cards with the written memories will be bound together like letters in the past and will be given into the coffin.

The third anchoring item could be a poster which you could hang up in your room and it could give you calm and strength when you need it without showing everyone that you are in grief.
I thought about sleek and clean typography one bright color, no illustration

I already started playing around with different types of paper and printing techniques.
The colours have a clear link to death:
For example red is the color of mourning in Ghana
Yellow symbolises the sun. Is the color of death and sorrow in Egypt.

The Typo I decided to use for headlines is a relative young one.
I’ts Sang bleu by Swiss type foundry Swiss typefaces.
It is a great mix of young and old style, look at those beautiful serifs.
I combined it with Swiss In’tl. I liked to have a sans-serif font for rolling text and I think they go together very well

For my process folio I thought about making something like a folder.
Coming back to the Idea of a collection and with this screw binding I could combine different kinds of paper and size.

In times where we are overstimulated by digitalisation.
I want to use Graphic design to build a room to rest.
I want to make Items that help.
When holding hands, holding a moment, holding an object is helping to keep calm throughout the overflow.




a text about suicide by steven levine

Hamlet wonders, “To be or not to be,” but that is not the question. The question is, “How to be?”

Hamlet wonders, “To be or not to be,” but that is not the question. The question is, “How to be?” In a world where so many longings are not met with satisfaction, where so often there is physical and mental pain, how does one survive without becoming deadened before one dies? A Greek philosopher said, “The tragedy of life, my friend, is not that it must end. But that so many times before our natural demise, we must wish for death.” I know very few people who have not at one time or another thought that death was preferable to their present predicament. Indeed, it seems that death becomes an ever-present option within a few years after birth. Each year, thousands of grade-school children kill themselves. Among teenagers, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. It is not difficult to see that when pain and confusion arise in the mind, they are met by a strong desire for the cessation of that suffering. Indeed, suicide may be an attempt at taking control of what otherwise seems an uncontrollable situation. The only alternative to complete defeat. Suicide often arises not from a hatred of life, but from a lust for it, a desire for things to be otherwise, for life to be full when it appears not to be. Suicide may be for many the manifestation of a thwarted “will to life.” For others it may be that the pain has made life not worth living. I have been with many people dying from degenerative diseases whose contemplation of suicide is the first instance of their having taken death within, having seriously contemplated the possibility of not existing as they know it. For those in such enormous physical pain, it must be remembered that their death, like their physical experience, is wholly their own and is not to be measured or judged by any other. It seems there are various states of being who enter death willingly. One whose heart is wide open, not holding to the body, melting into the next moment with a “don’t know” openness to the unknown. Another, whose mind is weary and whose heart is frightened, jumping into death to escape the seeming unworkableness of life. And yet another who trades life for the benefit of other sentient beings—the selfless, the unswervingly merciful, the all-compassionate—such as Socrates or Jesus or the emergency rescue person in a burning building. They are each us all, equally due respect and loving-kindness, the prayers and acceptance of those left behind. The other day I heard the father of a boy who had committed suicide, during a momentary depression, say, “Everyone has a skeleton in their closet. But the person who kills themselves leaves their skeleton in another’s closet.” The grief and guilt that arise in the wake of suicide often leave a legacy of guilt and confusion. Each loved one wracks the mind and tears the heart questioning, “What could I have done to prevent this?” To acknowledge that beings must act within the context of their own life allows compassion for those who kill themselves as well as those left behind. The mind in its queasy rumblings brings up all the insecurity and fear of a lifetime when confronted with the suicide of a friend or loved one. All the moments of thinking we should have been a better person, that we ought to have loved more, float to the surface. “What could I have done? How could I have made life fuller for my loved one?” A sense of failure arises in the mind, no matter how unfounded Indeed, those who grieve after a suicide often contemplate suicide themselves. The desperation of “What’s the use?” or “Why bother?” is transmitted to those left behind—perhaps the same questions that propelled the poison or pulled the trigger. A feeling of impotence in the face of life’s uncontrollable changes. I think it is skillful, in the wake of a suicide, to practice meditations on forgiveness. Sending forgiveness to loved ones on the other side so they will not be tormented by the pain they imagine they have caused. Encouraging them to forgive themselves so that they will not repeatedly die out of guilt. And forgiveness for oneself, for unknowing, forgiveness for the mind’s incessant judgment and self-doubting, which makes each feel responsible for the acts of another There is no arguing with the mind. There is only the encouragement to let go, to open around the pain so that we do not recreate another moment of the mental suffering that was reflected in the suicide Forgiveness of ourselves and others allows life to continue, allows the heart to go beyond the mind’s guilt and hellish recrimination Indeed, when we work with those whose occupations put them in the position of “suicide counselor,” we remind them again and again that if it is not acceptable that others kill themselves, then they are probably in the wrong business To truly be a suicide counselor, you must have room for every alternative in another’s mind Or you will just be someone else who cannot be trusted, someone trying to impose your will on them To allow beings to enter into your heart, you can eliminate no part of them. Our conditioning is that suicide is a heinous act, even a sin. We think we know better than people who contemplate suicide. Yet we never touch the pain in their mind, because we are so frightened of the pain in our own Our desire to stop people from killing themselves just creates more separation. How will we be there fully for them if we think they are wrong? But if we acknowledge how painful our minds can be at times, we will be able to tune in to the pain of another We will not withdraw love just because the act that another is contemplating conflicts with our models. We must remember that many wish to die because the love they feel within has never been fulfilled. They are not getting what they want. It is not indifference. They kill themselves out of pain and unsatisfied desires. Of the hundreds who jump from the Golden Gate Bridge each year, all but the Pacific Ocean. Even in suicide, their relationship to the world they wish to leave behind is greatest. We must touch the desperation in ourselves if we are to encourage another to open to life It could be said that suicide is not so much “wrong,” as unskillful. Another opportunity for surrender, for letting go of the pain in the mind, not seen nor taken. The long conditioned aversion to the unpleasant acted on and reinforced once again. It is ironic that many who kill themselves after long depressions in which they have many times contemplated, even rehearsed, suicide, but simply did not have the energy or will power to carry it through, do so on the upswing out of that depression. Just as the energy returns, just as the light is beginning to dawn. Many kill themselves when they feel they are at “hope’s end.” But hope is born of fear, of wanting. Only when we are without fear will we be able to live without hope. Those who passed beneath the arch in Dante’s Inferno read, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” This was not a curse but a blessing. It says that all holding to future possibilities creates a painful inability to enter the present. Hope causes us to kill ourselves again and again. This is easy to say but difficult to transmit to those who wish to kill themselves. But when you have come to live your life so fully that you can abandon hope, then you will be able to transmit that fearless spaciousness to others so that they may have room in their heart for their suffering When we have let go of attachment to our fear, then we will become the optimum environment for anyone contemplating suicide. Then we will be the space into which they can enter and let go of their suffering as they wish and take the next small step, the next soft entrance into the unknown. Our long conditioned condemnation of suicide is put to the test with the image of the Buddhist monk whose picture many saw on the front page of their newspaper in the mid-1960s after he poured gasoline over his body in the streets of Saigon and immolated himself. There is a belief in Vietnamese folklore, quite outside of orthodox Buddhist thought, that the conscious dying of a pure individual can save the lives of ten thousand others. For many, the first recognition of the suffering of the peoples of Vietnam came with the photograph of that being setting himself ablaze in great stillness. He was not backing out of life or lost in some self-conscious heroic gesture. He was attempting to ease the suffering of other beings by allowing his own body to fall away. Is this suicide? Marahaji said, “Jesus gave away everything, even his body.” The being who commits suicide as a means of escaping life is a manifestation of the pain of us all Suicide is not the answer. But neither is a life of coping and holding to a hope that things will be different or that survival must be maintained at any cost. Do not ask, “To be or not to be,” but only, “What is being?” Investigate the pain in the heart and let it be met by a commitment to serve others, for the cessation of the suffering of all. Suicide is the killing of the body. Awareness is the rebirth of the mind. Love is the actualization of the unnameable.


Who really knows a lot about dying? Before death and what happens with the dead person after that. Being honest, I guess the fewest in my level of age. And when I started asking, I realised, that this kind of issue is somehow banned in our social environment. Why? There are various reasons. Shall we dig into deep? No, I think there is no need. Isn’t it more attractive to come along with some viable and social reasonable things, that will invite us to develop an easier approach to this serious issue. I think so. This is the simple idea of my students project. And this is the starting point of my blog. It begins with my experience with death. How would I handle the situation before and after? What happens with the dead person really and in detail? What has to be done? People are so different and death as well. What is my attitude for that issue? Well, I am lucky, that there were not so many people around me who died.That’s the reason, why I’m collecting material. Material from different cultures, text works, music, pictures a lot more. This is the starting point for my discussion. And the discussion will lead us to highlight helpful things getting an easier approach.
Be welcome to attend and take part of the development!