Congratulations to Prof. Birgit Mager from KISD – Köln International School of Design of TH Köln. The Royal College of Arts in London has recently honored Prof. Birgit Mager for her efforts and accomplishments in the realm of design education with the 2020 “Sir Misha Black Memorial Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education“. The Sir Misha Black Medal is an award given to those people with special merits with regard to design, design education and design mediation. The prize is awarded since 1978 and refers to the British architect and designer Sir Misha Black (1910-1977). 

In its statement, the renowned jury stresses: “The Sir Misha Black Medal and Awards recognize those who, by contributing to the theory or practice of design education and who, through innovation and vision, have ensured that the education of designers has been measurably improved and the profile of design education enhanced. Professor Birgit Mager, recipient of the 2020 Sir Misha Black Medal, will join the distinguished College of Medalists – those who have received Sir Misha Black Medals since the first was awarded in 1978. Professor Mager is the first ever Professor of Service Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne, Germany. Since she was appointed in 1995, she has developed the theory, methodology and practice of Service Design. Her lectures, projects and publications have led to a new understanding of the economical, ecological and social function of design in the provision of public and private services.”

Prof. Birgit Mager says: “In 1995, I began to teach as a professor for ´Service Design´ at TH Köln. As I was the first professor in this area of expertise worldwide, I had at the time much freedom and space for experimenting and developing. At the same time I always had the sense that, when it comes to terms in teaching a new discipline, which didn’t receive much attention domestically and internationally at the time, it is mandatory as a professor to generate awareness and interest towards this area of expertise on the job market. Thus, it was not only my responsibility to further develop the theory, methodology, and practice of Service Design and to establish a curriculum. It was also of my concern to closely collaborate with external partners in the public and private sector, to strengthen research, to publish, and to speak as a guest speaker at conferences – in order to spread the word and discussion on and about Service Design in various ways. I do very much appreciate being awarded with the Sir Misha Black Medal for my efforts in this realm.“

Prof. Mager has internationally taught as a guest professor and conducted research projects on the topic of Service Design for, for example, the Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BWMF) as well as in cooperation with domestic and international partners such as Deutsche Bank, Siemens, or Telekom. She additionally is co-founder and president of the International Service Design Network, publisher of the international journal of Service Design “Touchpoint”as well as founder and manager of “zefo”, the Center for Research Communication of TH Köln. 

 “I am very pleased about the well-deserved honor of one of our internationally most renowned scientists and the founder of Service Design. The award is a huge success for the research and teaching of Prof. Mager,” says Prof. Dr. Stefan Herzig, President of TH Köln. 

The award: The Sir Misha Black Medal is an international design award with regard to design education. It refers to the British designer Sir Misha Black and is awarded by the following institutions: the Royal College of Art, the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), Design and Industries Association, and the Chartered Society of Designers. 

 “It is also a pleasure that, quite simultaneously with the award honoring my projects from the past, the publication ´The Future of Service Design´ has been released, in which, amongst others, the special significance of design education is highlighted,” Prof. Mager concludes.

The publication can be downloaded for free at: