Being part of the Köln International School of Design (KISD) and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences enables students to participate in a growing exchange program that connects universities around the globe. While many students go abroad, many also come to Cologne and try to make the most of their limited time here. Being confronted with a new culture and city, many students can't help but feel a bit lost, especially in their first weeks and months. And then, just when they’ve finally settled in and found their favourite spots and hang-outs, it’s almost time to leave again. So how can a university help international students to settle in faster and provide a ‘tool’ for exploration?

This was one of the central questions that we asked ourselves when we came together to tackle this problem in the context of a self-initiated project. While talking to former and current international students at KISD, we quickly realised that almost everyone we talked to was short on tips and information about life in Cologne after their arrival. Although there were information brochures provided by the faculty, material dealing with the local culture simply didn’t exist. With these issues in mind, we evaluated the existing information and developed our own concept to fill this gap and to provide a helpful tool for international students coming to Cologne.


The Not just another guide to Cologne, is a guide book giving first-hand, direct information, made by students for students. It features twelve categories, from food to seasonal events, cultural and emergency information, as well as regional travel tips. 
To create more interest in the guide, the visual concept took a different direction to that found in the ordinary tourist guide. Leaving the two dimensional, digital world, we decided to visualise the cover, as well as the title pages for each of the twelve sections of the guide, with photographs of detailed scenes from Cologne constructed from coloured paper. These colourful paper models took about three hundred working hours to complete and, in the end, around a hundred meters of tape was used to fix 120 square meters of cardboard and paper together. The layout was kept visually simple and clean, to provide an easy-reading experience and to enable the reader to quickly take in the content.
After great interest in the final product, a first-edition print run of 1,000 guides was printed, published and financed in cooperation with the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and KISD. Officially introduced in the winter semester of 2014 to all new incoming international students, the guide comes as a three-piece welcome gift with the guide book, a fold out map for navigation and a postcard to send home.

Self initiated project | KISD | 2014
KISD – Köln International School of Design of the
Cologne University of Applied Sciences
Gustav-Heinemann-Ufer 54, 50968 Cologne, Germany

Concept, Editing and Layout
Jaqueline Diedam, Raoul Döring, Yuki Fukuda
Event Photography
Anna Shapiro -


Supervised by
Prof. Iris Utikal,
Lisa Janßen (M.A.)
International Relations Officer

English proofreading
Tim Danaher and Lisa Janßen

Supported by
Cologne University of Applied Sciences
KISD – Köln International School of Design

1.000 copies
First edition
Re-printing, reproduction or use of the graphics and text contained herein are expressly forbidden without the written permission of the editorial board.