shaping cultural memory
evidence-based design

co-creation & development

We create value from
scientific insights.

The Empirical Aesthetics Research Lab (earl.) is dedicated to explore and leverage aesthetic behaviors. We deep-dive into neurophysiology, data science and practice-based research to identify decision making patterns in groups. Our aim is to max out visual communication to be more accessible, better understood and highly memorable by informing design decisions with evidence.

The independent and interdisciplinary research laboratory is cooperating with the TRACE Research Group.

How we find out if your visual style is a functional eco-system: design thinking, cognitive science and machine learning

1 — identify


To learn more about the visual culture we are investigating, we define the space between knowns and unknowns. In this phase we find out what exactly we are looking for to benchmark sweet spots and to frame the opportunity space.

2 — model building


We use our framework of cognitive science, cultural theory and machine learning to analyse the problem space. After unpacking our insights and assumptions we build a research plan to find patterns and rules in your visual domain.

3 — actionable plan


As a final step we experiment and ideate with the extracted features: preto- and prototypes help us to test our ideas and get feedback to reframe the opportunity or lay out an actionable plan. With the help of empathy work (user experience) we end up with a guideline that will allow you to adapt to be more accessible, better understood and highly memorable.


Project descriptions are available soon.

Design Research Landscape (DACH)
The Sarajevo Experiment
Mnemonic VR
your project - let's talk about it



Thomas Grundnigg
Prof.(UAS), DI., Univ-Lekt.

Visual Rhetorics,

personal website 


Michael Manfé
Prof.(UAS), Dr., Mag.

Philosophy of Technology,
Media Theory

personal website 


Matthias Tratz

Design Research,
Artificial Intelligence

personal website 

open lab lectures
and visiting researchers

We invite the public to join our open lectures. We present leading figures from technology, society and culture.


Dr. Shiro Inoue - Design Research

our services

Design Thinking Workshops

Empathize with your clients. Reframe from problem to opportunity.

& Advice

Data-driven analytics and evidence-based recommendations.

Preto- & Prototyping

From low-res to market: fail early, learn quickly and cut costs.

Branding & Visual Storytelling

Our unique program for brand stories and data-visualization.

earl. Salzburg

we are looking for new opportunities

let us develop your ideas to shape the future

contact us