Promotion im Bereich Designtheorie

Als eine von wenigen Hochschulen in Deutschland bietet die Bergische Universität Wuppertal die Möglichkeit, im Bereich Designtheorie zu promovieren. Nach erfolgreich abgeschlossenem Promotionsverfahren wird der akademische Grad Dr. phil. verliehen.

Aktuell betreut Prof. Dr.-Ing Fabian Hemmert in unserem Studiengang die Promotionen. Bitte wenden Sie sich bei Fragen an ihn:

Die Regelungen des Promotionsverfahrens finden Sie in der aktuellen


Abgeschlossene Promotionen

Daniel Bühler

Designing Universal, Intuitive, and Permanent Pictograms - A Human-Computer Interaction Approach Grounded in Embodied Cognition and Visual Perception

The thesis presents a complete human-centered design process (ISO 9241:210) that had two goals: to design universal, intuitive, and permanent pictograms and to develop a process for designing suitable pictograms. The thesis analyzes characteristics of visual representations, grounded in semiotics. It develops requirements for pictogram contents, relying on embodied cognition, and it derives content candidates in empirical studies on four continents. The thesis suggests that visual perception is universal, intuitive, and permanent. Consequently, it derives guidelines for content design from the process of perception. Pictogram prototypes are produced in a research through design process, using the guidelines and content candidates. Evaluation studies suggest that the prototypes are more suitable than established pictograms and that they should be considered universal, intuitive, and permanent. Finally, a technical design process is proposed.

Sylke Lützenkirchen Heterogeneity in Design – Potential for conflict and cooperation in collaboration with SMEs

On 04.07.2017 Sylke Lützenkirchen successfully defended her dissertation at the chair of Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf at the Bergische Universi-tät Wuppertal. The work was awarded summa cum laude by the examination board (Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf, Design Theory; Prof. Dr. Viola Hartung-Beck, Applied Social Sciences; Prof. Andreas Kalweit, Manufacturing & Material Science; Prof. Dr. Johannes Busmann, Media Design; Dr. Marc Grünhagen, Chair of Business Foundation and Economic Development).
Cooperation has always enabled people to achieve extraordinary results. Famous buildings or technical inventions with all their constant-ly advancing developments could never have come into being without efficient cooperation. Yet conflict affects such projects decisively. It also affects people themselves - both psychologically and physically - and has a significant impact on the reality of their lives. Conflict can hinder people in a negative way, but it can also change people for the better and enable sustainable solutions.
In cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises, creative companies develop new ideas, products and services, and customer-specific adaptations; and produce unique products or prototypes - mostly non-technical innovations or so-called soft innovations. The decisive factor here is the ability of creative people to network their knowledge, to recombine it and to translate it into products and services. Cultural and creative companies are also valued for their very distinctive view of business issues and their ability to develop concrete business models and user-oriented products from new trends.

In her research, Ms. Lützenkirchen shows that conflicts are heterogeneous positions in the collaboration between designers and their clients as well as solutions for change. In addition, she describes areas that already exist as mutually perceived positive potentials in the collaboration and that can strengthen it, and concludes her work with an applications transfer. She derives her results from a qualitative empirical study of narrative interviews developed for this research and places the methodological object in the realm of subjective pat-terns of interpretation by analyzing, describing and contrasting the values, attitudes and needs of designers and companies, as well as the subjective experience of their collaboration.

Her research provides answers to the questions: How do companies and designers work together? What are their specific goals, expecta-tions and needs in collaboration? When is the collaboration successful? In order to work out the expectations and goals in this little-explored field, the study was broadly based and informed by economics, social sciences and design science.

With its results, the research work contributes to an improved perception and to easier handling of conflicts between partners, creates transparency, and alters cooperation in design projects in a sustainable way. With the help of the application scorecards developed from the research, designers can assess themselves as well as their customers and derive knowledge about the attitudes, values and needs of their customers in general, or of a specific customer. All in all, the results of this work allow a first reflective approach and a first foray into a wide, so far little-investigated and firmly closed field of research, as well as bringing new insights into the research discourse.

When one considers the great economic relevance of SMEs, which account for 99.5% of all German companies, it is clear that improved cooperation, particularly in the area of innovative development work, is an important economic opportunity - especially in view of the competitiveness of companies and the increasing stress of competition for designers.

Link to publication:

Ralf Baarsch

Navigating complex event fields: Developing and steering design for international motor shows

Ralf Baarsch successfully defended his dissertation at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on 14.09.2016.
The examination committee (Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf, Prof. Dr. Christoph Häberle, Prof. Dr. Axel Buether and AR Dr. Daniel Schneider) awarded the work magna cum laude.

This contribution to design theory research considers logical instruments to enable designers and those responsible for steering complex design projects to orientate themselves more situationally, holistically and in a more structured way within complex design projects.

Ralf Baarsch investigates the interdisciplinary interaction between strategists, specialists and designers in practice, using examples from international motor shows. He has developed a 4-stage management system and a compass principle for navigation.

In future, the instruments proposed should also support strategists, moderators and steering committees in practice to focus reflection, communication and action when solving complex design tasks and thus to work together more systematically and in a more integrated way.

Sadaf Rostamkhani

Consumer-Oriented Design: Designing Competitive Products for the Iranian Domestic Appliance Market

Ms. Sadaf Rostamkhani successfully defended her dissertation on "Consumer-oriented design - the design of competitive products with regard to the Iranian household appliance market" at the University of Wuppertal on 24.09.2015.
The work was judged magna cum laude by the examination committee (Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jonas, Prof. Dr. Vahid Choopankareh, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Siegfried Maser and Prof. Dr. Johannes Busmann).

Ms. Rostamkhani examines in her dissertation how the household appliance industry, one of Iran's most important, can be strengthened. The product designer, who comes from Tehran, has researched the requirements and wishes that Iranian consumers and users have re-garding household appliances. Her study gains a deep insight into the habits and rituals of Iranian households. Her 'customer insights' have enabled her to define culturally influenced values and acceptance criteria and to derive conclusions from these findings for a promis-ing design strategy for the Iranian household appliance industry.

Doaa El Aidi

Seeing the Future through Aesthetics: a sustainable design strategy to tackle poverty in Egypt

Ms. Doaa El Aidi successfully defended her dissertation "Seeing the future through Aesthetics: Sustainable design strategy to tackle poverty in Egypt" at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on 10 July 2015. The work was presented by the examination committee (Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jonas, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Siegfried Maser, Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. h.c.). Gui Bonsiepe and Prof. Dr. Phil. Axel Buether) with summa cum laude.

Ms. El Aidi addresses in her dissertation a very sensitive topic, which she analyzes theoretically and empirically in detail. Using Egypt as an example, she demonstrates how the vicious circle of poverty can be broken by including all stakeholders in her business plan and thus elaborating a win-win-Si­tu­a­ti­on for everyone: young people who want to get married, craftsmen who have no jobs, design schools who seek contact with "the real world", and financiers.
Ms. El Aidi has since returned to Egypt, where she will teach at Helwan University and put her ideas into practise.

Amanda Queiroz Campos

Uncertainty and dependence

The cotutelle doctorate of Amanda Queiroz Campos was jointly supervised by the Bergische Universität Wuppertal and the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). The dissertation defense took place at the home university UFSC in Florianópolis. On July 19, 2017, Amanda Queiroz Campos presented her work for about 30 minutes in English in the auditorium of the library, publicly in front of specta-tors and via live streaming.

The examination committee consisted of the following professors: Dr. Luiz Salomão Ribas Gomez (Supervisor/UFSC), Dr. Marilia Matos Gonçalves (Examiner/UFSC), Dr. Brigitte Wolf (Supervisor/Bergische Universität Wuppertal), Dr. Axel Oliver Buether (Examiner/Bergische Universität Wuppertal) and Dr. Virgínia Souza de Carvalho Borges Kistmann (external examiner/UFPR/PUCPR).
The dissertation analyzes the role of companies dealing with fashion trends - the so-called Bureaux de Style. A qualitative, explorative and clarifying approach was chosen for the research. The work focuses not only on the considerations and motivations of the Bureaux de Style, but also on the willingness and interest of fashion companies to acquire, review and apply - or not to apply - fashion trend infor-mation.
Data gathered through theoretical and documentary field research (interviews) was analyzed on the bases of Critical Realism, Giddens' perspective on structure and agency, and Glaser and Strauss's Grounded Theory.

The duality of "uncertainty and dependence" is shown to be decisive in the relationship between Bureaux de Style and fashion designers. The familiar dependency is based on a security experienced as successful in the past, while uncertainty about the future, especially about unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge, is expressed. Despite the high subscription rates of trend reports by Bureaux de Style, a discourse that thinks through the "uselessness" of fashion trend reports is growing.
The manner in which fashion designers deal with the information provided by Bureaux de Style is reflected in the way they apply that information. In the results section, a model is sketched out that shows important aspects of the fashion trend information used by the fashion designers.