Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design

Interview with Bettina Schulz

About the relevance of print and online media, trends and craftsmanship: interview with Bettina Schulz

Since 2008, Bettina Schulz has been a member of the Red Dot Jury. Together with her more than 20 colleagues from around the world, the cofounder of the Munich-based Creative Paper Conference evaluates the projects entered in the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design. She has been editor-in-chief of the international journal “novum – World of Graphic Design” since 2001, having joined the editorial staff of the magazine back in 1994. Moreover, she works as a freelance writer and editor for national and international magazines and for a range of clients in different sectors. Bettina Schulz contributes her expertise to selecting the best communications projects of the year. Red Dot conversed with the design expert about the relevance of print and online media, trends and craftsmanship.

Which developments do you, as the editor-in-chief of “novum”, currently observe in the creative industry?
Bettina Schulz:
Instagram, Snapchat & Co. are boon and bane at the same time: on the one hand, they are great opportunities for creative people to present themselves; on the other hand, they lead to rehashing what already exists if they are the only source of inspiration. This is what many in the industry bewail at the moment; also, because many clients present their designers only image snippets as a briefing. But this way, well thought out and genuine concepts cannot be developed.

Why are print products still relevant?
They create an important second pillar of communication alongside digital content, and they make it possible to convey certain values and create a different perception.

How will print and online media be able to exist in parallel in future?
Just like bicycles and cars, cinemas and television. Every medium has its strengths which should be taken full advantage of. Of course, it would be preferable if society would notice one day that high-class journalism can’t be realised at no charge – neither in the field of print nor online.

Which importance do paper and finishing have in the print sector?
Both have an extreme influence on the overall message and are therefore part of the communication and of the design. A discounter prospectus on fine paper is as incredible as a Prada catalogue on onion skin paper.

What can good typography accomplish?
In this context, I always like to point to the ten commandments by Kurt Weidemann, who I reverence. One concise sentence: “Typography is environmental protection of the eyes, which need to be opened and interested, but not confused or offended.”

Why did so many brands ventured a re-design of their logos?
I think that brands have always renewed themselves. It would be quiet terrible if we would live in an ever-present outdoor museum. One reason for the total makeovers in recent years can be found for sure in the partial lack of compatibility of the previous visual appearance for the implementation in new media.

How do you attract attention with regard to design?
To answer this in general is very difficult. Technically good design implicates tailor-made solutions and coherent, stringent concepts – this might have always been the key to success.

Please complete the sentence: Good communication design…
… exists more than you think and astoundingly often at places where you wouldn’t have expected to find it. Moreover, it can be found in the “novum” every month. ;-)

Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2019

Until 28 June, designers, agencies, companies and brands can enter the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design 2019. From her many years of experience as a juror, Bettina Schulz can tell about the communication design competition: “The surprising number of high-quality entries is not only impressive but also allows for a real comparison. Moreover, there is enough time for us jury members to examine, discuss and rate all works individually – it is an international display of creative achievement that provides an outstanding annual overview of the state of the industry.”