Back to school, Amanda Friedman
Hello! I'm Laura Serra, an Illustrator, Lettering Artist and Graphic-Designer based in Berlin.Portraits by me • Snowflakes by me • Coroflot • Behance • Instagram
Tips for Designers and Artists thinking of moving to Berlin.
Berlin has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years and has become a city where a lot happens and many want to live. As a letterer living in Berlin I often get e-mails from designers or artists saying something like this:
“My name is Xxxx and I’m a designer/artist from some other city. I’m planning to move to Berlin next year and it would be great to hear from your experience living and working as a lettering artist in Berlin. Would you like to meet for a coffee?”
As I appreciate those who ever gave some minutes of their time to answer some of my questions, I have met with many of them throughout this years. The first thing I start with is: “if you think the city of Berlin has the potential of making you happy and successful, forget about it!”.
As a happy individual having started my own studio here and doing a job that I love, I can tell you awesome things about the city and how it meant a lot in my personal and professional life. However, this does not mean that it will work out the same way for you too. Feeling successful (emotionally and professionally) in a certain place and moment is a very personal thing and is determined by many factors.
If you are a designer or an artist, Berlin is a very good place to meet with peers because there is a lot of them. True is also that many are circulating and they will leave at the precise moment you thought you were starting to become good friends. As certain as this is that getting involve with colleagues that are eager to do new stuff is a very enriching and boosting experience. There is an example of two sides of the same coin.
That said, if you are a designer or artist thinking of moving to Berlin, I can give you a couple of tips that might help you get your head on straight:
★ Move to Berlin because you have a goal, whether this is starting your studio, studying the calligraphic archives of The Academy of Art or taking an inspirational year. Try having some aims other than just coming because “it’s cool” and “people have fun”.
★ Do not underestimate moving to another country. As cool as it may sound, moving countries is a very challenging experience. As soon as the tourist phase is done, you will find yourself immerse into serious paper work that includes finding a place to live, getting registered in the financial office and grabbing a health insurance, to list some. Not to mention that this is mainly being carried on in german language.
★ You will have to learn German language, so start loving it. “Everyone speaks English in Berlin, that’s why my german sucks” is the most common form of denial that you will find around here. Not everyone speaks English and speaking German language will help you better understanding what is going on around you and therefore meeting better opportunities. Learning German is as hard as learning any other language and not speaking it after a while living here can become very intimidating and frustrating.
Lastly, do not try to control everything that might happen, this is something you do not know. Be ready to love it as much as not liking it at all, important is that you try to achieve the goal you aim for and that you will be faced by new things on the way. Moving cities is a very personal project and depends much more on you than on the city itself, whatever this is.