Michael Köckritz from RAMP MAGAZINE
ramp. Car. Culture. Magazine.
Since launching in 2007, the avant-garde German culture magazine is filled with breathtaking photography. Making every issue a project that aims to be a work of art, ramp stands out from other automotive magazines by creating a complete universe within the car industry.
The issues feature amazing close-ups, new drops of cars, details into their history, tech news, driving experience insight, and luxurious leather seats in a fresh perspective. Its mashup of supercars with art and design is what makes readers look forward to every page turn.
The magazine's chief editor, creative director & publisher — who is also the owner of two classic leather-coated Porsche 911s — knows ramp from cover to cover, so we interviewed him to learn more about their work. Scroll down for all that inspo 👇.
ramp started within the universe of design, lifestyle, and the automotive sector. After all these years, what do you think is the most necessary aspect to maintain the direction of a special project like this?
Of course we are enthusiastic about cars — that's why we want to touch, get in, start, and drive as intensely excited as possible. But that is only one aspect. We are interested in experiencing the car and mobility in contexts that are relevant for us and our target group — the car is only one of many things in our lives and the bigger picture matters. So, cars pave the way to all the things we are interested in: people, ideas, places, things, events, music, design, and art — hence the subtitle Autokulturmagazin (Car culture magazine). For us, culture stands for the joy of life in an exciting world. Ramp stands for this freedom combined with the passion for newspaper making, storytelling, and visuals — so ramp remains the creative media development laboratory as it was intended more than 12 years ago.
Together with other creatives and experts from all areas of practice, we are always interested in breaking down structures, thinking freshly through new things, and daring to try out new things in an unconventional way. We are always delighted when people say we are courageous and avant-garde in the best sense of the word, and the publishing house ramp.publishing with its titles is only one part of our company ramp.space. The other part is the studio, the agency for content-based, strategic brand communication across all media levels, like print, online, mobile, and TV. Here, too, we use a network of international media and brand experts, scientists, authors, artists, and creatives for collaborations and client projects, this is extremely stimulating for our view on things.
What is it like to work between cities with a huge automotive center like Berlin and Reutlingen?
We find Berlin extremely exciting and are often in Berlin, but our editorial office is in Reutlingen, so on the one hand, we're constantly on the move throughout the world of luxury brands and lifestyle, and on the other hand, here in Reutlingen we can work in a wonderfully down-to-earth and concentrated manner. Especially in our very lively themed world it is important to be able to think and reflect in peace. However, I am always happy when I am back in Berlin, it's a great city with a very stimulating creative scene and I have many good friends there.
Can you tell us a bit about what you are working on lately?
At the moment we're advising and accompanying a whole range of brands in repositioning and transforming processes as an agency. Here we develop showcases and alternative approaches to innovative communication strategies and concepts, and in a time of change this is especially exciting. Then we are continuously working on the development of our existing publishing portfolio, we will bring out one or two new magazine titles and a few books. We're really enjoying the process!
When we bring the words design, creation & future within an industry as technological as the automotive, we are talking about building, molding, remodeling several aspects of it, such as sustainability. What is the best new thing that is happening within the industry on that subject right now?
Design must be a central theme for the automotive industry, it's becoming more important than ever. In the future, cars will become more and more similar on the one hand and their technologies will become more complex on the other. Designers are now called upon to create a consistent and distinct emotional product and brand experience. Design has a signal effect, creates identity, becomes a contact surface visually, physically, and sensually for products and brands. Design makes the difference and becomes an advantage.
We always see possibilities of less impactful consequences through the study of new materials and new technologies. How are electric cars fitting into the market today?
Design does not only mean that products are beautiful to look at, design is a philosophy and "good design" translates into enjoyment of the product, a strong mix of aesthetics, usability, innovation, and a consistently good experience. All of a sudden there is a deep awareness of designers being the guarantor for “user experience”. Designers translate visions and technology into experience. Especially for electric automobiles which offer a lot of new options for innovative design adaption.
How is design inserted in this industry?
Design allows you to look ahead. With design we not only shape and configure things in our real world, designers always mold the first shapes of the future. With showcars, for example, design brings ideas and concepts into the world in such a way that our imagination can attach itself to concrete things. In this way, designers become facilitators of fantasy and hope, and guides for the car world. Designers create and feel what should or could come. If a brand wants to stand for innovation, designers always like to work for credible proof. This is also highly emotional.
Do you believe that companies are more concerned about the use of materials or ways to reduce the impact on the environment?
The use of our resources, environmental conservation, climate protection, and alternative materials have fortunately become important issues for car companies. A new perspective is gradually shaping this and it's great how Polestar makes statements here. The brand is working in an exemplary manner to reduce the weight of the vehicles, as well as to reduce the use of plastic and to replace waste material with innovative natural and recycled raw materials. For Polestar, sustainability is about much more than just the electric drivetrain.
To end this one and lighten the mood: Which car icon is at the top of your personal shopping list?
I am fascinated by Porsche, the brand has everything that makes a car brand cool. Above all, of course, it is the Porsche 911 — I have two of them myself, both over 30 years old with wonderful leather interiors.
Ramp Magazine is known for publishing amazing covers. Could you tell us a little bit about the process of curating these images? Would you have a list of your 3 favorites ever?
Each of our magazines has a main topic that already provides the direction of association and research, it is often the case that a motif from our productions simply lends itself to me or I remember a picture that I've seen that simply fits perfectly. Sometimes I realize afterward that there could have been a better option, but the cover still has a central meaning. We see every issue of our magazines as a small work of art in which the covers have a signaling function.
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