Workshop with Andreas Uebele
Ambassador of good design

Workshop with Andreas Uebele
© Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Interview with the communication designer Andreas Uebele and two designers from Hanoi about the value of intercultural exchange.

For the sixth consecutive time the Goethe-Institut Vietnam is showing a selection of submissions to the international competition for the best typography of the year. The exhibition consists of posters, books, stationary and other print products, which demonstrate exceptional typographical design.
The show with approximately 400 posters stopped first in Ho Chi Minh City in November and can now be seen at the Goethe-Institut Hanoi until 18.12.2016. As is usual at the Goethe-Institut, the presentation and interaction with the public will be combined with a workshop and lecture with Q&A.
The participants in the workshop were independent artists, professional designers, design school graduates who are looking for work and more than a dozen design students from two universities in Hanoi. Andreas Uebele travelled from Stuttgart to Hanoi specifically to conduct the workshop. With more than 300 awards during his twenty years of design work, he is one of the big names in the German designer scene and a promoter of the art of typography.
The team of the Goethe-Institut spoke with him and two designers from Hanoi.

Hiep Ha Dung (FPT Universität): I have been teaching multimedia for over ten years and have joined many events at the Goethe-Institut.  This time, after two days in this workshop, I have learnt a few lessons for my own work and my students.
We have worked with our hands and paper and ink and brush. The workshop illustrated a consistent way of working with content and form. This is important. If your audience does not quickly recognize what you are saying, it is all in vain. This is in principle nothing new, but the workshop shows how important it is to keep things consistent in communication. This is a valuable lesson that distuinguishes quite clearly between graphic design and modern visual communication. That it is not only a question of how beautiful things are but how effectively you transfer your message. 

Huren Marsh (London College for Design and Fashion, teaching in Hanoi): I live in London and I am here for one academic year. In London just like in Berlin, there are many museums, galleries, alternative art venues, cinemas, and so on. There, we always have access to information beyond the university courses. When I am here now, I do exactly the same thing. I seek out the museums and galleries here because I am convinced that learning is not just something that occurs in the catacombs of an institution; you need to get out there because this is important for the students’ development. Especially as interior designers and architects, we react to the world around us, with its buildings and people. Which is why I drag students to exhibitions at the French Institute as well.

A workshop like this one  – and I was there for both days - has a special benefit for the students. It is free work and it is not graded so there is less pressure on the students. It is an opportunity to explore something that may be completely new. And I think every design student should explore every area of creative studies. Every sort of workshop widens their creative library and is most welcome. And it is always good to get some distance from the institutions, because lectures and institutions can become stale and a bit out of date.

  • Workshop mit Andreas Uebele © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
    Die Workshopteilnehmer. Huren Marsh, Hiep Ha Dung und Andreas Uebele sitzen in der ersten Reihe (v.r.n.l.)
  • Workshop mit Andreas Uebele © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
  • Workshop mit Andreas Uebele © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
  • TDC 62 © Goethe-Institut Hanoi
    TDC Ausstellung im Goethe-Institut Hanoi
Hiep Ha Dung: The most important thing for a teacher and a sign of successful teaching is when students like the lessons and like to study themselves. The students were eager to join the workshop and this shows they were motivated and wanted to learn. Last night I saw them share their experiences on Facebook. This interest makes me very happy. It proves that we are creating something substantial for them. 

Andreas Uebele (Stuttgart): For me, the invitation to Vietnam is first and foremost a compliment on the work of büro uebele. And I think that the Goethe-Institut deserves support. In my generation in particular (I was born in 1960) there is sometimes still a feeling of shame about our nationality. But yes, I am a German designer and I acknowledge that. We have something in this field that we can show to the world without wanting to being didactic. German design has quality and tradition. However, this was interrupted and discredited during the Nazi era. Now we are in a position to make our modest contribution to international understanding – for example through this workshop in Hanoi. I consider myself a cultural ambassador of good design. And I think it is fundamentally good and right that the Goethe-Institut is present in all countries – whatever the conditions under which they work.
But I have also personally profited from this stay in Hanoi in an ideal sense. As a matter of fact I am not fond of travelling, especially long distances. But coming here is something other than the usual holiday trip. I fly to what was for me a foreign Asian country, and immediately I have direct contact with the people, I can work with them and exchange ideas. And so I encounter another reality, which gives new impulses to my thoughts and actions, and enriches me. This is exciting. That is why I do this.