The HfG Ulm

Ulm School of Design

HfG Ulm building

View of the HfG Ulm building from the west, 1956
Photo Wolfgang Siol

The Ulm School of Design was one of the most progressive institutions for teaching design and environmental design in the 1950s and 1960s. It was founded by Inge Scholl, Otl Aicher, and Max Bill; the latter became the school’s first rector in 1953. The HfG Ulm rapidly gained international recognition. New approaches in design were investigated and put into practice within the departments: Visual Communication, Industrial Design, Building, Information, and later Film. The HfG building was designed by Max Bill and is still an impressive sight today, with its prominent open setting.

The campus reflects the teaching concept, namely the integration of work and life in one place. The history of the HfG was shaped by innovation and change, consistent with the school’s own image of itself as an experimental institution. This resulted in countless modifications to the content and organization of classes. In a 1975 review of the HfG Ulm, Otl Aicher identified a number of developmental phases, which are listed here in a timeline.