Graphic design with social impact: Interview with graduate Nadin Reichbodt

Design that has an impact on society: In her bachelor thesis, Nadin Reichbodt developed a campaign that aims to draw attention to the situation of homeless people. In the interview, she told us why this topic was particularly appealing to her and what specific experiences from her studies at HMKW Berlin she is taking with her into her professional life.

What comes to mind when you think about your studies at HMKW?

When I think of HMKW, I look back on a study program that not only taught me an incredible amount, but also gave me valuable experience for the future. It was a very nice time, but it was also over super fast - so enjoy your time at HMKW!

Why did you decide to study “Graphic Design and Visual Communication”? And what made you choose HMKW Berlin?

When I was looking for a study program, it was important to me that it covers as many areas as possible that interest me and that I can try out. In this case, this study program covers all areas, i.e. starting from photography, film and layout to app design or graphics in public spaces, just to name a few.

I chose HMKW because I particularly appreciate being personally challenged and encouraged, which would not have been the case in a crowded lecture hall at a university. Here you work together in small classes, so the lecturer can also pay attention to you and your interests individually. In addition, it was particularly important to me that my course of study included a practice semester, i.e. here a semester for an internship in an agency. I was able to gain valuable experience here and find it enormously important, especially for this career field, to gain practical experience. Theory and practice simply cannot be compared!

Did you get any further work experiences prior to your current position that you would like to share with us?

Before I started my studies, I did a banking apprenticeship because I didn't know what I wanted to do when I graduated from high school. A commercial apprenticeship seemed right to me at the time. Here I was able to gain valuable experience and knowledge, which I would never do without from today's perspective. In retrospect, it would have made more sense to study design right away, but sometimes it takes time to find what you really enjoy. So I am very happy to have finally found my direction!

Which seminar/project have you enjoyed the most so far?

I liked the project week best. During the project week, "real" clients place an assignment that is worked on in different groups within two weeks and finally pitched to the client. The one who convinces gets the order, which in the best case also leads to your idea actually being implemented. I found it super exciting and interesting to work with real companies and to gain my first experience of what it's like to work later on in real work life.

What did you deal with in your bachelor thesis? How did you come up with the topic?

The topic of my bachelor thesis is homelessness in Germany. In relation to my field of study, I dealt with the question of how campaigns on the subject of homelessness can make the plight tangible for the target audience in order to encourage more commitment. The focus of my design work here is the development of a campaign for an aid organization in Berlin, taking into account the communication strategy of guerrilla marketing. The theme of my campaign is "scarce goods" (in German: Mangelware), i.e. the focus is on products that homeless people cannot afford for financial reasons, but need to survive. People should be able to understand this plight or the feeling of having nothing and be encouraged to donate.


Especially in big cities, most of us encounter homeless people almost every day. Many of the homeless talk about their life on the street, their reasons for becoming homeless, or even plans for the future. As varied as their stories are, they have one thing in common: they are often ignored by people. With regard to the field of graphic design, I asked myself the question: "Why is indifference towards homeless people of current relevance, although it is already the subject of many campaigns?", so I decided to focus on this topic.

What is it like to live in Berlin? Was it easy for you to settle in? Would you like to stay?

Life in Berlin is very diverse, dynamic and full of opportunities! You quickly get to know all kinds of people here and can really do everything, whether it's getting to know Berlin's club culture, visiting exhibitions or discovering new places - it never gets boring! In the beginning, it was difficult to get used to all the people, but I settled in quickly. For the future, I would like to stay in Berlin for the time being to gain my first professional experience and to expand my knowledge. Later, however, I would like to return to the rural region, as the big city doesn't suit me in the long run.

What are your plans for the future?

My big goal for the future is to start my own advertising agency! At the moment, I'm dealing with the question of what to do after my bachelor's degree. I would love to gain more experience abroad - preferably in connection with an internship - and get involved in volunteer projects. However, I am not yet able to say at this point what exactly I will do next.

What’s your advice for students who decide to study at HMKW?

Grab as much as you can! Find out which area suits you personally and is fun. The course content is really broad and you can try your hand at any design discipline. Find your own direction and passion. Take your own initiative and continue to develop your skills, regardless of what the university teaches you. Another good option is to look for a job as a student trainee in your field. And very important: Don't despair if something doesn't suit you. Because then it was not the right thing for you!

Which characteristics should students have who want to study "Graphic Design and Visual Communication"?

I would say motivation and enthusiasm for design and a desire to learn something new. And to say this right away: You don't have to be good at drawing or master all the programs right from the start - which I was personally afraid of at the beginning. You can try out all areas and find out what you enjoy the most.

And very important: ambition and perseverance! Because, if there's one thing I've learned: Good design takes time, which means it's important to keep questioning everything, redesigning, and if things aren't going well, completely overturning everything and starting over again. Don't just focus on one idea, but also change your perspective once in a while and always demand 100% from yourself.

Thank you very much for the interview and the exciting insights into your Bachelor project. We wish you all the best for the future and much success for your career start!