For the period it existed from 1953 through 1968, the Ulm School of Design was one of the most important contemporary design academies. It saw itself as an international institution for teaching, research, and development in the field of design.
Students from many different countries were drawn to Ulm, attracted not only by the interdisciplinary aspects of the training program, but also by the names of founders and teachers such as Otl Aicher, Inge Aicher-Scholl, Max Bill, Max Bense, Hans Gugelot, TomÃ¡s Maldonado, and Gui Bonsiepe. The special methodology used in Ulm is still internationally influential today in design teaching. Known as the "Ulm Model," it has helped define what it means to be a professional industrial designer. Systematic thinking and logically-argued design processes offered rational, technically-oriented solutions to a modern mass society, made possible by scientific and technological progress in new materials, media, and techniques. By the late 1950s close cooperation with business had already been established. The Ulm School of Design, beset by political and financial problems, began to decline from 1966 on. In 1968 its members decided to close the institution.