Design + Inclusion

Design for all, universal design, inclusive design; whatever terms we employ, the important thing is core agreement about what these terms stand for. Design, which reaches beyond the status quo. Design, which lays the foundations for a straightforward, human approach and enables and promotes inclusion.

Inclusive design puts the user at the heart of the design process. Design for design’s sake doesn’t work. Inclusive design recognises and addresses people’s diversity, their different needs and circumstances.

Everybody should be able to participate in and enjoy art, culture and information freely and independently, and use products and services without any restriction.

At inkl. Design we meet these challenges with investigative curiosity and long-standing expertise. Our qualified and experienced staff understand the distinctive nature of individual needs and can tailor solutions for inclusive communication. Every single member of our team is committed to making the difference for inclusivity. This is what distinguishes us from other design agencies.

There’s more to inclusion than accessibility:

For many years, inclusive design solutions were all about accessibility and compensating for disadvantages which people with disabilities experienced. Very rarely was the approach truly inclusive and this led to less-than-ideal results. Though physical barriers were removed, users often had to take detours, which separated them from other visitors or users. It still contributed to a general stigma for disability and particularly if designed in a notorious ‘special needs’ style.

Rather then developing products and services for ever smaller target groups, a culture change is needed in the way we address the matter of inclusion. It should be based on an aspiration towards universal, fully comprehensive accessibility. We need to grasp the opportunities offered by the process of inclusive design by understanding the vast untapped potential inherent in the issues of both diversity and heterogeneity.

Inclusion of all people requires professional, innovative and all-embracing outlook, and readiness to pursue design solutions which may be off the beaten track. We have changed our conceptual approach so that inclusive design comes into its own.

We follow clear inclusive design criteria:

We won’t come up with some off-the-shelf design ideas or last year’s retrofit. Innovative and inclusive products, services and designs need to be:

  • user-friendly:
    and as such easy and safe to use,
  • customisable:
    adaptable to the individual needs of a wide rage of users as well as being compatible with other aids and assistive equipment,
  • user-oriented:
    by involving the potential user at any stage in the design and development process,
  • aesthetically pleasing:
    attractive and easy to use in order to hold their ground in the mass market, and tap its full potential.

All our inkl. Design projects live up to these criteria. Nonetheless, we constantly review our guiding principles and develop them further. Inclusive design needs to remain constantly dynamic in its response to changing requirements.

„Human needs are more diverse than some designers wish to see – or perhaps are capable of seeing.“

Dieter Rams

“For most of us, design is invisible. Until it fails.”

Bruce Mau

“Good design enables, bad design disables.”

Paul Hogan

Inclusive design changes the way we work

Inclusive design requires a conceptual framework that significantly improves on any conventional design agency’s practices. Most of our clients have very specific requirements. inkl. Design solutions add further value to the product or service by making them accessible in many and varied ways.

Tailored usability analysis, workshops for clients, development of innovative design concepts and new manufacturing methods are all part of a process, known in design research as ‘Universal Design Thinking’.

Ultimately, we need to transform human diversity into an asset, tap into its creative potential, and incorporate it into the ways we design in order to offer environments for the benefit and free accessibility for all. We are, both personally and professionally, part of this process of transformation and are committed to rise to its challenges.

Conferences, talks, education and research:

inkl. Design contributes to a variety of national and international projects in design research. We carry out teaching assignments at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and support the National Institute of Design in Bangalore. We are members of the Competence Network Universal Design of the International Design Centre in Berlin, the association Design for All Germany and our social commitment is firmly connected with the non-profit association “Andere Augen” which we founded in 2009.

Academical teaching:

  • January – July 2017 – Bangalore and Ahmedabad, India: Adjunct Faculty at National Institute of Design in the Universal Design course
  • Summer semester 2015, winter semester 2015/16 and 2016/17: Lecturer at the HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences in the Communication Design course
  • November 2014 – January 2015 – Bangalore, India: Guest lecturer at the National Institute of Design in the Information Design course

Awards:

  • May 2014 – Zurich, Switzerland: Paulus-Akademie Award 2014 for outstanding thinking and action  in the field of ‘society and disability’
  • October 2013: Nomination of the painting guide ‘The Golden Age’ for the ‘BKM award for cultural education’
  • March 2013 – International Design Biennale Saint Etienne, France: Ceremony of the international Design for All Foundation Award 2013 for the painting guide ‘The Golden Age’

Talks/publications:

  • September 2015 – article in the international business magazine ‘Terra haptica’: ‘Golden Age – Paintings for all: Making the previously unheard, unseen and unimaginable accessible’
  • June 2014 – Lund, Sweden: Talk at the International Universal Design Symposium (UD 2014)
  • April 2013 – Tallin, Estonia: Talk at the FRAGILE? symposium about inclusive art and culture conveyance
  • October 2011 – Berlin: Talk at a conference of the task group ‘culture and media’ by the SPD parliamentary group of the German Bundestag about inclusive cultural work
  • September 2011 – Leipzig: Talk at the world congress ‘Braille21 – Innovations in Braille in the 21st century’ by the World Blind Union
  • November 2010 – Berlin: Speaker at the Universal Design Symposium by the competence network Universal Design of the International Design Center IDZ Berlin

Certified further education trainings:

  • 2016: Certified course easy-to-understand language in five modules by the Federal Association Lebenshilfe e.V.

Conference participations 

  • November 2016 – Helsinki, Finland: ‘Forum of Equality in Culture‘ by the Scandinavian museum network Culture for All – Kulttuuria kaikille
  • April 2016 – Leipzig: Symposium ‘Easy-to-understand language through the prism of theoretical and applied research‘
  • October 2010 – Essen: Conference ‘Culture for all – museums and exhibitions accessible for blinds and visually impaired visitors’
  • January 2008 – Dresden: Symposium ‘The museum as a laboratory of cultural education’ by the conference of national cultural institutions

The traveling exhibition ‘Different Eyes – an exhibition about seeing’ operating as a pilot project for the development of inclusive art exhibitions

  • March 2017: Town hall Vechta
  • February/March 2015: City museum at Hoyerswerda castle
  • April/May 2013: Municipal museums art hall Rostock
  • September – November 2012: Low Vision/Reinecker Reha-Technik GmbH, Berlin
  • Mai/June 2012: Foyer of the Bavarian Parliament, Munich
  • February/March 2012: Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin
  • October – December 2011: Protestant church Christuskirche, Nuremberg
  • August – November 2010: Foyer of the Thuringian Parliament, Erfurt
  • March – June 2009: Federal Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs, The Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Disabled Persons, Kleisthaus, Berlin