Design meets grammar.

The idea of translating grammar structures into a visual system came from Barbara Avila Vissirini's own experience learning German as a foreign language. It started to take form during her Master's studies at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP), where she took a closer look at the way grammar has been represented in learning materials. She asked herself how language structures could be shown in a visually consistent way and how this could influence and facilitate learning. 

Based on an analysis of existing textbooks, she first developed a system for declension and her work Visuals for Language received the design department’s award for the best master's thesis. Franziska Morlok, professor of editorial design, and Marian Dörk, professor of information visualization, supervised the research.

After graduation, Barbara continued to develop the visual system for other grammar structures as a research associate at the Urban Complexity Lab (UCLAB). Barbara wrote the first edition of Dieses kleine Buch ist für dich in collaboration with the University's International Office and under the supervision of Karin Schmidt, head of the International Office and teacher of German as a Foreign Language. The first edition was published in cooperation with the FHP, and it can be downloaded as a PDF for free. With funds from the DAAD and the German Federal Foreign Office, 500 print copies were produced and distributed to international students from FHP.  

Since publishing the first edition, Barbara has been collecting first feedback from learners and working on making a print edition available for the public. For this she has founded Grammatikon. The team has also gained didactic reinforcement with Julia Kühne, a teacher of German as a Foreign Language, who has revised the new edition.

About the project >


Barbara Avila Vissirini


Barbara is a designer and research associate of the UCLAB research group. Having moved to Germany in 2015, she has firsthand experience learning German as a foreign language. From this learning experience she came to the idea of developing a graphic grammar system as learning support for other non-native speakers. She holds a Master's in Design from the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and wants to use design to make complex content more accessible.

Julia Kühne

Teacher of German as a Foreign Language

Julia has been teaching German as a foreign language for 7 years and has revised the new edition of Dieses kleine Buch ist für dich. She studied German as a foreign language in the Master's program at the Humboldt University of Berlin. When teaching, Julia pays special attention to individual prior knowledge, practical applicability and clarity. In her free time, she likes to be creative herself and get inspired in museums.