«From the coffee cup to the housing estate»
(Max Bill, «Speech at the topping-out ceremony for the first construction phase of the HfG,» July 5, 1954.)
Max Bill’s statement illustrates the wide scope of the initiators’ goal to train designers for a new mass culture. The program comprised a one-year Foundation Course followed by three years of specialization in one of the departments: Industrial Design, Visual Communication, Building, Information, and Film. In addition to their technical training, the students were taught about the future cultural and social responsibilities that they would bear.
The teaching program focused on practical design. Theoretical knowledge and methodology was taught as a complement to the design process from first draft to final result. In the Industrial Design Department objects and serials were planned and designed for industrial production. In the Building Department modular systems for industrialized construction were developed, and in the Visual Communication Department typography, graphics, and photography were used to illustrate complex issues or to produce complete corporate identities. The Information Department, which trained journalists, closed in 1964. Film, which was initially part of Visual Communication, became an independent department in 1961.