60 Years of form
1997: form im Netz – Design Goes Online

Text: Petra Schmidt, Mathias Wollin

Nº 160


p. 26–31

October 1st is the launch date for a new Internet-based information service, namely form online – design communications and resources network. The news available there will be up-dated daily, and a digital magazine will appear every fortnight. Petra Schmidt and Mathias Woollin are in charge of the project. They explain here how form online came about – and how it functions.


The general opinion is that Web sites are boring, badly designed and low in editorial content. But this need not be the case! Or so we believe. Instead, we considered the widespread gloom of homepages a real challenge.

Together with the Linz Design College, eight months ago we set about creating a new Internet image for form. And one thing swiftly emerged: Simply inserting dates and copy from a journal into a Web site is not enough. The World Wide Web has a logic of its very own. For this reason, form online is by no means intended simply as a digital version of form, but as a comprehensive information service, form online is:


A news service, offering hot news every day.

An e-zine. Every fortnight a digital-based magazine will appear with a fixed set of main topics, including trade fair novelties and portraits of designers.

In an interview section, designers draw on their experience to give tips and reveal some of their professional secrets – Web Secrets.

Forum. Here, designers can meet in newsgroups to discuss all the various issues in design.

Database and archive. This comprehensive information pool gives details of design studios and exhibitions, events and institutions, colleges and jobs. As of 1998, all back issues of form will be available for browsing in the archive.


We have set ourselves quite a goal: We want form online to be the virtual meeting point for the whole design industry.

We will regularly inform browsers on innovative media applications. We will be pressing ahead with new forms of reporting better tailored to the Web.

We’ve taken the first step. Well-known Web designers will regularly create a page for the freeform section – as they see fit. The only brief: to incorporate new standards and technologies in the design. For example, we will be experimenting with educational multicasting services (ems) – A/V education programs – again in cooperation with the Linz Design College.

The Web site will stand out for hard facts, journalistic reports and design experiments. And here our experience as the longest standing German design journal will be brought to bear in the Internet.

Moreover: form online can be accessed free of charge by all Internet users. So the only remaining question is: How do I access the relevant information? No problem. The following pages familiarize you with how form online functions. Step by step.



A color system based on the 216 colors in the Netscape color scheme identify the individual sections. Navigation through form-online is facilitated by so-called roll-overs which light up when hit by the mouse and indicate the section like markers on lop of file cards.



Starting out

The entry page gives you swift access to all the topics and sections. It features headlines and short text passages in keeping with the classical structure of a table of contents. Buzzwords lead via links to the editorial articles.



Daily information

In the news section form online presents short synopses of facts and trends in the design industry up-dated daily. Each item bears the date of first publication und remains in the section for two weeks before becoming part of the archive, where it can also be clicked.



Where & when?

The calendar provides a table of information on trade fairs, exhibitions, conferences and competitions. The links enable you to click additional data and background information on the events. We recommend important events in the “Don't Miss” slot on the entry page for this section.



A matter of form

In this section you will find exhaustive details on Verlag form. The complete list of books and journals. And, in addition, a comprehensive reader and subscriptions service – not to mention special offers.



The Gutenberg galaxy goes online

This section comprises a reference work containing many hints on publishers and publications in the world of design – both print-based and on-line. We are planning a bookshop that will offer a special selection of books and take your orders. The editorial section will present reports on new publications and reviews every two weeks.


Your dream job: Designer

In the education section, a database presents colleges, focal points of courses and admission terms and procedures. Here, you will find regular reports on international training colleges. Students and teachers also have the opportunity to report on work at their college.


Hunting for jobs

Here you’ll find companies offering jobs, people hunting for jobs, as well as links und articles arranged in terms of specialist interest. The editorial part of this section is published parallel to each new issue of the journal and addresses the focal theme of interactive design. This includes freeform section, where renowned Web designers experiment with new technologies.



Join the design community

With the newsgroups, which function like pinboards, form online is promoting an exchange of ideas in the design community. Anyone logging into a newsgroup can take part in specialist discussions on issues in industrial design, visual communication, and design theory. Insiders chair the discussions and endeavor to promote fruitful dialog by providing buzzwords and statements.




This is the search tool for designers and people interested in design! Soon, the digital archive will also contain the back issues of form – the journal of design. Back issues of form online as well as our new form diskurs and form spezial journals will also be available here.



Who’s who in Design?

Here, form online presents design institutions and studios, as well as their designs. You can click portfolios with select projects by designers from the world of industrial design, graphic design, interactive design, interior design, fashion design, and photo design. We are presently creating “yellow pages” for the design scene. The database already features the contents of the form publication Ranking: Design – The 100 Best. Soon, it will be expanded to include the entries from the compendium on Designer Profiles. The editorial part will highlight incisive portraits on designers and studios.


Nº 284
Region of Design

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