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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

MA Eco-Social Design: Project 2 by Stella Kornfeld, Damiano Fantin | SS 2020

Commons Communication. A Website for the German Commons Institute

Commoning creates Commons – but how can we communicate that? An approach to the new online appearance for the Commons Institute.


What is Commoning?

If we get together to work on projects in a sharing and caring community we do commoning. Commons are shared goods or resources and commoning is the process of negotiating their use. Even though the process of caring together is as old as humanity, the modern research on this communal praxis has just started decades ago.

The Commons Intstitute

In germany the Commons Institute is compiling work on the topic. An institute is “an organization where people do a particular type of scientific, educational, or social work“. But in order to share their work with the public, they needed a new website to make their cause understandable. And that’s what we did.





The Commons Institute is a diverse group of people. They are a network of different initiatives and ideas. The group was founded 2014 after a summer camp about commoning.

Our Process

We went through a long process of taking their old website apart and analyzing the pieces. Out of that and together with our peers we restructured their online appearance.

The process of creating a new website structure: Starting with an analysis of the existing structure and understanding the needs of our partners. Creating a new structure and bringing in new ideas such as the library function.

The library came out of the understanding that the institute does scientific work and writings. They just don’t need to put it all on the first page of their website.

The archive was born out of the complexity of the topic. There is not just one visual metaphor for Commoning as there are many diverse projects. The archive does not offer one image but a dialog on different views and understandings. 


The new design

The new appearance is radically slim compared to the old structure. The page is left with an information page to introduce the institute and the idea of commoning; an events page to inform about happenings within the community and the library page, where the work of the institute can be found. The archive is an idea for future implementation but will not be built in the new website just jet, as it is too complex.


Our project partners had a clear idea of the visual style that they wanted to implement. As a part of our process we developed a variety of other designs, which on the one hand informed our making and on the other hand started a dialogue about the visual style with the community of the institute.


Stella Kornfeld, Damiano Fantin

Teaching Team:
Corinna Sy  (Object–Spaces–Services)
Kris Krois (Communication–Interaction–Services)
Jennifer Schubert (Social Interaction Design)
Secil Ugur Yavuz  (Design & Production)
Alastair Fuad-Luke (Design Research)
Elizabeth Tauber: (Anthropology)

The Commons Institute

Supporters & Stakeholders :
The Commons Institute
Stefan Meretz
Johannes Euler
The Commons College Workgroup