KISD is an institute belonging to TH Köln, one of the largest state-owned universities in Europe. When the university was founded in 1971 as Fachhochschule Köln, the »Kölner Werkschulen« were integrated into the university as the Faculty of »Art and Design«. In 1991, this faculty became the »Kölner Modell« for a new direction in design study — what is now KISD.

From »Kölner Modell« to KISD

Essential aspects of KISD’s current study concept are based on the »Kölner Modell«. This study and learning concept was introduced to the Faculty of Design at the former Cologne University of Applied Sciences (now TH Köln) in 1991 by the founding dean, Michael Erlhof, and the first professors of the college: Brigitte Wolf, Thomas Bley, Heinz Bähr, Günter Horntrich, Heiner Jacob, and Wolfgang Laubersheimer.

Due to its project orientation and the abolishment of traditional semester structures, this model offered students a unique alternative to the traditional design study courses while keeping abreast of emerging changes in research and job prospects in design. The constant advancement of this approach has led to a successful study concept throughout the past two decades and has influenced various curricular concepts in Germany and abroad.

In 2002, the subject area of design acknowledged an increasing international orientation when it was transformed into an institute and integrated into the Faculty of Cultural Sciences in the course of an internal structural reform. Ever since, particular attention has been focused on the institute’s internationality – as the name indicates: KISD – Köln International School of Design.

Since then, the name KISD has been synonymous with an integrative, interdisciplinary, international as well as project-oriented and student-centered place of learning and research where students are given a great deal of autonomy to design their studies independently.

With its consecutive BA and MA Degree Program »Integrated Design«, KISD stands for design studies that are uniquely vibrant and impetus-providing. This has been proved again and again by the close cooperation with outstanding international partners, high international rankings, and our successful graduates.