Creative Industries in Baden-Württemberg

A study carried out by Sunday newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and consultancy Roland Berger ranked Stuttgart the second most attractive location for the creative community after Munich. But creative individuals feel at home throughout Baden-Württemberg, not only in the regional capital. The region’s creative economy is characterised by small to medium-sized businesses and agencies, often specialising in particular fields or applications for which they are internationally renowned.

The 2010 Data Report found that the region’s cultural and creative industries (including the media and software/games sectors) comprise some 29,000 companies, which together generated turnover of 20.1 billion euros in 2008. Around 160,000 people are employed in the cultural and creative industries.

Quality of form: design and architecture

Diagramm: employee figures for creative industries in Baden-Württemberg. A snapshot of employee figures (picture: Baden-Württemberg Regional Statistical Office).

Companies from Baden-Württemberg have always valued good design, be it in a sports car, computer, document file or wall plug. This appreciation is reflected in the importance of the design industry. According to the 2010 Data Report, the design sector employs 11% of workers and generates 10% of the turnover in the cultural and creative industries.

Southwest Germany has long been home to luminaries in the field of communication design, including the unforgettable and highly influential typographer Kurt Weidemann. The Strichpunkt agency, whose CEO Jochen Rädeker has been spokesman for the board of the Art Directors Club for Germany (ADC) since 2009, is among the creative agencies with the most awards in the world, while Büro Uebele is also one of the top names in this field. Three of the ten best design agencies come from Baden-Württemberg according to the DDC 2010 ranking. Visionaries from within the industry and prestigious art colleges (>> see Education & Research section) are working to ensure that many new, talented individuals enter the sector in the future. The Design Center Stuttgart is the central point of contact and advice for both designers and users.

The region has particularly strong credentials in the field of architecture. At Stuttgart University’s Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design (ILEK), teaching staff past and present include pioneers such as Frei Otto and Jörg Schlaich who have had a profound influence on the architectural scene. 9% of people working in Baden-Württemberg’s cultural and creative industries are employed in the architecture sector according to the 2010 Data Report, with almost 40% of them based in Stuttgart.

Agencies: advertising and communication

Ranking: the 15 biggest PR agencies in Southwest Germany. The 15 biggest PR agencies in Southwest Germany (picture: Pfeffers PR-Ranking/PR-Journal).

The advertising industry (including design and placement) accounts for around 15% of total turnover within the cultural and creative industries, according to the 2010 Data Report. Although the really big advertising agencies are not located in the region, at least not in terms of their headquarters, a dense network of specialists exists who offer high levels of specialist skills and quality. They benefit both from the presence of major clients and also from excellent links with related disciplines like IT, media technology, design and architecture.

This concentration of architectural expertise has led to the emergence of an emphasis on spatial communication in the agency scene. In Stuttgart, the boundaries between architecture studios and communication agencies are extremely permeable. Nowhere else in Germany is so much activity devoted to designing museums, exhibitions, brand concepts and permanent and temporary meeting spaces. Nationally renowned exhibition designers include Atelier Brückner, HG Merz, Milla & Partner and Totems.

Combined fees in 2010 for the 15 biggest PR agencies in Baden-Württemberg were in excess of 19 million euros, according to the PR Journal ranking. Tübingen-based agency Storymaker tops the list, closely followed by Stuttgart-based firm Communication Consultants.

Digital creativity: interactive service providers and new media designers

A bowl from Stuttgart fascinates at the EXPO in Shanghai. “Balancity” at Shanghai EXPO (picture: architecture: Schmidhuber+Kaindl / exhibition:Milla&Partner).

Businesses and agencies in Baden-Württemberg have an abundance of digital and media resources to draw on when implementing their services and messages. There is a high concentration of experts in digital communication and media design. Highly respected centres of excellence (>> see Media section and >> Information Technologies section) foster young, talented individuals with strong creative ideas. Innovative thinkers and experts from all over the world are attracted to the region by events with international appeal, such as Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS) and the concurrent FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Interactive Media.

Specialists for various multimedia and Internet applications have emerged within the agency scene, from web designers and programmers to experts in online shopping and e-learning and content suppliers. The list of Baden-Württemberg’s top revenue-generating companies in the ranking of the largest Internet agencies has been topped by e-shopping specialist Digital Media Center (DMC) since 2005.

Art: pictures and stage, sound and technology

Exterior view of ZKM in Karlsruhe. ZKM – a unique interdisciplinary cultural institution (picture: ZKM Karlsruhe / ONUK).

Bands like Die Fantastischen Vier, Freundeskreis and Massive Töne have put Stuttgart at the centre of German hip hop. Similarly, the success of soul singer Xavier Naidoo and his Söhne Mannheims band has propelled Mannheim to the top of the musical hotspot charts.

Germany’s first Pop Academy, opened in Mannheim in 2003, is making an important contribution towards professionalising the music industry. Five colleges of music also cater for young, talented virtuosos who are welcomed by the region’s well-known classic ensembles and also further afield.

Stuttgart State Opera House is an exceptional venue that has been awarded the accolade “Opera House of the Year” six times since 1994. The Stuttgart Ballet has enjoyed a reputation as a world-class dance company for decades. Alongside its major venues, Baden-Württemberg is also home to over 30 small professional theatres and puppet theatres. Theatres, opera houses, artists and studios not only inspire their audiences, they also bind creative individuals to the region whose creative power can be harnessed by businesses.

Media art is particularly important in Baden-Württemberg. It gives additional impetus to the IT and media industries and benefits from their expertise and technology in return. As a unique interdisciplinary cultural institution and forum for interaction between science, art, politics and industry, the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe is particularly noteworthy. Since 1989, more than 500 guest artists from all over the world have created widely acclaimed works in the ZKM research institutes – works which have been honoured at biennials, festivals and exhibitions internationally and which have decisively shaped media art.

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Diagramm: employee figures for creative industries in Baden-Württemberg.

A snapshot of employee figures (picture: Baden-Württemberg Regional Statistical Office).

Ranking: the 15 biggest PR agencies in Southwest Germany.

The 15 biggest PR agencies in Southwest Germany (picture: Pfeffers PR-Ranking/PR-Journal).

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Robert Gehring
Robert Gehring

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Media Literacy/Online
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