Red Dot Award: Communication Design

Awarded up-and-coming talent

Prize-winning young designer: Sarah Müller about her Red Dot success

Young designers have fresh ideas and realise outstanding creative achievements. Every year, Red Dot recognises these within the framework of the Red Dot Award: Communication Design by awarding its talent prize. The Red Dot: Junior Prize goes to the best piece of work by an up-and-coming designer. On 26 October 2018, this year’s laureate will be announced during the Red Dot Gala. Red Dot talked to Sarah Müller who learned during the award ceremony in 2017 that she receives the prize, which is endowed with 10,000 Euros, for her book “Akustik sehen – Rhapsody in Blue” (“See acoustics — Rhapsody in Blue”). It addresses the perception and effect of music as well as its visual interpretation.

Red Dot: How did you feel when you were surprised with the Red Dot: Junior Prize?

Sarah Müller: At first, I was not sure if it was my trailer that was being played – that’s how surprised I was. But when I was called up to step on the stage, I was simply thankful and happy. Of course, the festive atmosphere at the Konzerthaus Berlin upgraded this moment.

What made you especially glad about this distinction?

The appreciation of my project which is a matter of the heart. If you are on fire for an idea and you can also enthuse others with it, it’s probably the more than desired payoff for all the work you invested.


How does it feel when you look back at 27 October 2017? Did you expect to be awarded?

I absolutely did not expect this award. It was very exciting and I still like to remember this evening. If I look back to this moment, it is a mix of having butterflies in my stomach, a huge portion of gratefulness and a great pack of motivation.

When you were on stage, you had no words out of sheer joy. Is there anything you would like to have said back then?

I would have liked to thank all the people who have supported me. First, my lecturer Georg Engels, who accompanied me on this long road. On this evening, Professor Dr. Peter Zec said that there is probably no better place to receive a prize for such a project. That was exactly when words failed me. To accept an award for a music project, that convinced the jury, at a concert hall, namely the Konzerthaus Berlin, is more than I’ve ever dreamed of. I was never sure whether this project would find fascination one day, but it was my actual want to realise it. Again and again, I was doubtful if I would ever attain the end of the design process, that I had in view. But when it was ultimately finished, for me, it was the highlight to receive this recognition.

The work for which you received the Red Dot: Junior Prize was your diploma thesis. Did the award influence your start to working life?

In fact, this prize had great influence on my professional life’s start. It opened up new ways. And of course, it makes it easier to get in contact with the industry – for sure a great opportunity for every junior.

Your work was very special: You visualised sound. Already at the award ceremony, you said that you are dealing with the topic of music for a long time. Did you stay in this thematic field?

In the meantime, I developed the project further and am still working on it. Next year, there will be an exhibition about it again, this time accompanied by a youth orchestra. At the moment, communication design projects with musicians are also being developed and I would like to work even more in this field. Music will keep going along with my classical projects.

Can you imagine to enter a work in the Red Dot Design Award as a professional, too?

Absolutely. I think, it is a great chance to request feedback from experts and receive recognition for one’s own work. That is both motivating and strengthening.

Talking about your professional future, what do you wish for?

I strongly wish to continue my career as a communication designer successfully. By this time, I work as a freelancer and hope for many more exciting contacts and projects.

To which dream projects would you like to dedicate yourself once?

Developing the corporate design for a theatre or concert hall would be interesting. However, at the moment, I’m full of inspiration and glad about each new cooperation.

“See acoustics — Rhapsody in Blue”

The aim of th diploma thesis “See acoustics — Rhapsody in Blue” was to dissect music into its structural components, examine it visually and thus offer the chance to consider music from an aesthetically different point of view. The jury acknowledged the very analytic approach of Sarah Müller who created, despite the stringent clearness, an emotional experience and thus made the invisible visible.

The “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin is the centre of this design experiment: the composition was analysed and translated into a variety of graphic illustrations. This way, the observer can visually trace the composition bar by bar while listening to the music in parallel. By means of a QR code and the minute information he or she gets further information. The staves, which were generated with computer technology, form the basis of the graphics and were modified according to the parameters dynamics, rhythm and dramaturgy. As intended by the composer, the reader of the publication immerses into the city of New York in the year 1924.