Changing the world

– with style

Hi, I’m Verena and I’m very happy that YOU are here.

I’m the founder of Verena’s Design Studio and Transnational Queer Underground. I started working as a website designer more than 20 years ago. This year, in 2021, I decided that it’s time to open my business up to more people.

Often clients come to me thinking that once they have a website, their business is all set up. But in order for a website to be found and to actually work for you –  it needs a bit more: Search Engine Optimization and Marketing.

SEO isn’t a single step in which you can just add a couple of tricks to your website and not have to worry any more – you will have to create useful content on a regular basis in order for your website to be found. It is all about creating actual value!

In addition to that, a well planned out Marketing Strategy can help you to save money and time. There are lots of proven methods that can get you started without any extra costs at all.

Often clients, especially if they’re freelancers or just starting their business, don’t have the money to pay for website, marketing and SEO. Does that sound familiar?

This is why I created a course: in 21 weeks you can learn all you need to build, grow, optimize and market your website, for the same price that a small website would cost you, but with all the extras that you need to start like a pro. I created this course – so that you can start off with all the professional support you need, without having to pay big money! 

Is this you?

Are you someone who likes to know what they are doing?

With more of our lives taking place online, it helps to have an understanding of how the internet works – building your website is a first step to understanding how everything is connected and works together.

Do you see yourself spending more and and more time online and see an opportunity in reaching more people over the internet as well?

More and more of us are becoming digital citizens – getting our information, shopping, connecting online – beyond our borders and what we thought possible just a decade ago. Building your website and learning about your responsibilites as a website owner also helps you to understand your rights as a visitor and customer, as a digital citizen. Plus the ammount of new people you can reach is endless.

Do you like to get what you want?

Knowing how a website works and what it takes to get the word out will help you get exactly what you want. Whether you build and promote the website yourself or work with designers and marketers, knowing how the systems work will make communication and reaching your goals much easier and save you from a lot of frustration!

Do you like to be independent?

Then you will want to have the rights over your content. If you solely rely on apps you don’t own your content or your followers. You can’t export them and move them to a different place. Your website and email list remain with you, no matter what. They are your number one assett as an independent business owner.

I believe that not only big companies should be able to look fantastic online or reach a wide audience, but everyone, especially those working to create positive change. What do you think?

My Goal

We want to help at least one Million people by 2030, who want to change this world for the better, by teaching them how to build, grow, optimize and promote their websites. We need more good in this world, which is why we want your voice and wisdom to be heard. It is my goal to support you to reach your goals and implement the change you, we all, need.

My Vision

A world where everyone can be free.
I believe that no person is free while there are others that are not.
I want to work towards creating that freedom for all.

WHAT DOES FREEDOM MEAN TO ME?
  • Getting to know who we are and being there for ourselves as well as for each other. Protecting our earth.
  • Building community so that no one has to face injustice alone. Showing solidarity with all other beings.
  • Acknowledging privileges and unlearning prejudices. Meeting each other and learning from each other. Working and growing together.
  • Accepting ourselves with all our flaws and respecting the other, no matter how much we might disagree, how different our experiences might have been.

What does that have to do with web design? Everything.

If we want an equal world in which we can all be free, we need an internet in which we can be free also. We need more diversity, we need more accessibility on and offline. We need more love and joy and respect. We need to grow together and learn more about each other. Do you know a better and more accessible place to do that, than online?

My Mission

is to design online presences that create positive change.

I do this by building bespoke responsive websites, optimized for search engines, accessibility and sustainability, and by developing your branding, tailor made Social Media strategies as well as Marketing plans.

I offer courses so that you can learn how to implement build, grow, optimize and market your website. I want you to be able to be the best version of yourself, and I believe that knowledge and empowerment will support that. I want you to be able to reach more people, so that they can benefit from what you bring into the world.

 

What do you need to change the world?

The right mindset?

There’s no right and wrong. But there’s being afraid to start. So a helpful mindset would be one that is ready to define goals, develop strategies, is interested in open and clear communication, works on a glass half-full attitude, likes a holistic view and finds joy and excitement in exploring new ways – so that we can build a future which is respectful with everything that surrounds us.

For me, this also means knowing that one shoe doesn’t fit all. In that sense we know this doesn’t have to be the same for you. In the end the right mindset is the mindset that works for you!

But if this does appeal to you, then we will have a wonderful time working together.

The right tools!

No matter what your goals, your plans and your budget are, or in which field you work, you need a website and an email-list, which are yours. Owning your assets will make you independent and stronger.

Social Media, Blogging, etc. can be wonderful to get the word out, but your content should have a home which is under your control and doesn’t belong to anybody else.

I can provide you with tools you need so that you can reach your goals, grow your assets and navigate the online world safely and independently.

Why Web Design For Change?

It was in 2019 when I really got a big scare. People were on the streets in Germany, raging. Led by fear that came out as hate and anger towards those most vulnerable.

They were making it clear that they did not believe in the same values I did. Where I, and everybody I knew, wanted freedom, the right to be yourself and most of all the right to be safe from war and harm for everyone, they were thinking only about themselves and wanted these things for themselves only.

It’s not like we didn’t have people on the streets mobilizing against minorities in Germany before. Was it history repeating itself? Not exactly. This time they used the internet to connect, to spread their message and to get people on their side.

At the same time all these wonderful people I know, those working for the greater good, those spreading peaceful messages, were struggling to make the internet work for their causes.

That was the point where I realized I wanted to change something. Working as a web designer is great – I can support organizations and wonderful people with websites. But what I wanted more than anything was to empower more good people, who’s voices were still silent, to get out there – so that we could build a network of support and a strong voice against hate.

Women are still not getting an equal wage or have the same possibilities to success as men do. Same goes for people of colour, or people who don’t fit into the binary gender system. Let’s talk about the rights of Refugees and how we continue to use different standards when it comes to human rights depending on where you were born.

Recently I heard a quote by a German Actress, Heidi Kabel:

„Once we find a completely unqualified woman in a high position, we won’t have to talk about equality any more.“

Honestly, when is that going to happen?

So what can we do?

I think we all need to do what we really love. Whether you are a movement teacher, a naturopath, working for human rights, for the environments, helping people to get out of trouble, supporting those who need care, creating music, art. If you do something that comes out of you, that makes you happy, it can bring people together.

I set out to study the strategies these people were using to build a movement, I set out to study the best strategies available to connect and empower people online.

We’ve seen #standingrock, #metoo, #blacklivesmatter and #fridsaysforfuture. We see what we can make happen if we work together and call for change.

But not everybody has to be on the front line, maybe you just want to build up your business in a conscious and sustainable way, maybe you want for more people to know about the work of your organization and get new volunteers.

Women sitting at her laptop, smiling, hand near her mouth. She's sitting on a porch or balcony.

Whatever it is: one thing you want to make sure of is that you own your assets.

How do you do that? By building a mailing list and setting up your website so that you remain independent and so that you can be free from adjusting your content to the rules of Social Media.

Because if we use services that are offered to us for free, usually we are the product not the customer. Which does not mean you shouldn’t use Social Media for your business or movement. It just means you should know how to use it well.

Möchtest du jetzt gleich loslegen?

ALLES WAS DU WISSEN MUSST UM 2021 EINE UMWERFENDE WEBSEITE ZU BAUEN

6-Step Guide + Checklist

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BECOME A RESPONSIBLE
DIGITAL CITIZEN

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SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER - I KEEP IT SHORT, PERSONAL, HOLISTIC AND USEFUL. People say it's inspiring. 🙂

Every Sunday.

Meet Verena:

I live in Berlin and would like to move to the countryside. I’ve just moved to the countryside! I have two dogs and and enjoy building things and getting my hands dirty. I hosted a radio show for 17 years. I have an M.A. in Cultural Anthology, Politics and Russian. I’m the founder of Transnational Queer Underground. I like cake, and going to the cinema and I don’t read enough books or find enough time to draw as much as I’d like to. I’m also a web designer and I believe that, together, we can change things for the better – for all of us.

On the BLOG you can find out more about other projects I’ve been/I am working on and my new life in the countryside. I also write abut politics, ecology, mindful living and other things that are important to me.

“To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step.

We will fail when we fail to try.”

– Rosa Parks 

Are you ready to grow beyond yourself?

Brand new: Course - Web Design for Change

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE?

WEB DESIGN FOR CHANGE is a course for anyone who would like to have more impact, lead a successful business, fight for a cause that matters or generally wants to actively contribute to making this world a better place.

Learn how to build Your Own Responsive and Scalable Website & underline it with the right branding and a corresponding Marketing Plan, all built in a Sustainable and Ethical way - so that you can run your business/non-profit consciously, joyfully, effectively and successfully and boost your confidence by acquiring new skills!

Whether you are just starting or have been in business for a while and want to upscale - with Web Design for Change you will get all the tools necessary to create a greater impact with your powerful new online presence.

Web Design For Change Course

Verena’s Design Studio builds bespoke responsive websites, optimized for search engines, accessibility and sustainability. I design online presences that create positive change.

Book free consultation

Your chance to tell me all about your project and what you would like to achieve, so I can help you most effectively.

see all services

A new website? A new logo? An illustration? Updating your old website? Learning how to build your own website? A layout for a flyer or brochure? Or a whole new corporate design? Take a look at all services and prices. 

"I believe that if you're working to make this world a better place, you should have the best website and the best tools available to deliver your message." Verena Spilker, founder

Let's get you started.

Verena's Design Studio - Quality Guarantee

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sustainable

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responsive

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search engine optimized

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accessible

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scalable

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full cost controll

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full satisfaction

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as individual as your project

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built for the future

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holistic

Verena’s BIO

Verena Spilker (°80) is a web and media designer from Berlin (Germany). During her first year at University she took a course to learn HTML programming and started to design and build websites for herself and others to support herself during her studies of Cultural Anthropology, Political Sciences and Russian philology (MA). She graduated with honors from Leipzig University in 2010.

Since then she’s been working for different NGOs in Germany and Ukraine, is engaged in various fields related to music, art, anti-racist and queer-feminist work and has been freelancing as a web and media designer and journalist along the way.

In 2014, with more than ten years of experience in the field, she founded her own business as a web and media designer. With this work she brings together her love for art and design, her logical thinking skills and her engament for social justice.

She is open to working with clients located anywhere and has a special interest in queer, feminist, anti-racist and other emancepatory projects as well as working mindfully and sustainably.

Formal Education

2010 // M.A.
2000 // High School Graduation
1998 // Foreign Exchange Semester USA

2010 // Abschluss Magistra Artium [Note 1,7]
Studium der Ethnologie, Politikwissenschaft und Russistik
2001-2005 Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
2005-2010 Universität Leipzig

2000 // Abschluss Abitur
Gymnasium Bramfeld, Hamburg
Leistungskurse: Englisch und Kunst
Prüfungsfächer: Philosophie und Mathematik Stufensprecherin [12. und 13. Klasse]

1998 // Auslandssemester Chula Vista High School, San Diego, USA

Prizes

Winner Berlin + East Germany Prestige Awards 2020 – Web Design Specialist of the Year

Web and Media Design

2002-now // web and media designer, freelancing, Göttingen, Leipzig, Berlin. Since 2014 self-employed, working for a.o. Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung, Lola für Lulu in MV, DeutschPlus, Initiative Burak Bektas.

Further Education

2014-jetzt // neue Entwicklungen im Berieich Webdesign, gendergerechter Zugang, Sicherheit, Datenschutz und Barrierefreiheit im Internet, Berlin.

2013 // Webdesign und Programmierung, Berlin. HTML5, CSS3, CMS, SEO und JavaScript.

2013 // Barrierefreiheit im Netz, Berlin.

2002 // HTML-Kurs an der Georg-August Universität Göttingen

other work experiences

2018-2020 // support worker at a therapeutic shared housing facility, KommRum e.V., Berlin.

2016-2018 // Coach, freiberuflich, Expath, Berlin
Unterstützung hochqualifizierter ausländischer Arbeiternehmer_innen beim Umzug nach Deutschland. Behördengänge, Wohnungssuche, Visaangelegenheiten.

2010-2011 // Koordinatorin Freiwilligendienst, Amaro Drom e.V., Berlin Registrierung für und Aufbau von FSJ und Europäischer Freiwilligendienst.
Betreuung von fünf ausländischen Freiwilligen, Entsendung deutscher Freiwilliger, Organisation, Betreuung und Abwicklung von internationalen Jugendbegegnungen und Seminaren.

2009-2010 // Mentorin, Roma-Gadje Dialogue Through Service
Betreuung von zwei ausländischen Freiwilligen in Berlin. Organisation und Durchführung von Seminaren für alle Freiwilligen des Programms in Deutschland.

2008-2009 // Freiwillige, Diakonisches Jahr im Ausland, Uzhhorod, Ukraine
Webdesign, Design, Übersetzungen, Unterstützung der Menschenrechtsarbeit in Roma NGOs. Entwicklung und Leitung von Seminaren für Freiwillige.
Vertiefen meiner Sprachkenntnisse (Ungarisch/Russisch).

2002-2005 // Verkäuferin, DisRecords, Plattenladen, Göttingen Verkauf, Veranstaltungsorganisation, Einkauf.

2000-2001 // Freiwillige, Diakonisches Jahr im Ausland, Szernye, Ukraine. Betreuerin im Kindergarten einer Roma-Schule.
Kritische Auseinandersetzung mit Armut, Segregation, Rassismus und Religionen. Erlernen einer neuen Sprache (Ungarisch).

 

Special Knowledge

Html/CSS – very good
WordPress – very good
SEO – very good

W3C-Standards – very good
Microsoft® Office – very good
Adobe® Photoshop® – very good
Adobe® InDesign® – very good
Adobe® Illustrator® – very good
Sound Studio® – very good
Native Instruments® Traktor – good
a.o.

Other:
Drivers Licence BE C1

Languages

German – mother tongue
English – fluent
Hungarian – good konowledge

Russisch – good konowledge
Spanisch – good konowledge
Ukrainisch – basic konowledge
Romanes – basic konowledge

Memberships

Transnational Queer Underground e.V. – head of organization
FG Gender – founding member

Publications (selection)

2019 // Fool’s Journey – Wheel Of Fortune
2018 // Leopardskin & Limes – Horses
2018 // S_he’s Amazing! – Dogs are Amazing!

2011 // Post Privacy – Denkanstöße vom Gender Camp
In: Sona, Zoé u.a. (Hg.): Make Out Magazine # 1: Nerd-Issue

2011 // Queere Subkultur – Geboren aus der Randständigkeit, bedingt durch den radikalen Moment
In: Engelmann, Jonas u.a. (Hg.): testcard #20: Access Denied – Ortsverschiebungen in der realen und virtuellen Gegenwart, Ventil Verlag

2010 // Queer Theory – Queer Music. Making an Appearance.
In: Nagelschmidt, Ilse u.a. (Hg.): Interdisziplinäres Kollquium zur Geschlechterforschung, Peter Lang Verlag

2009 // Unter Anderen – Roma und Homosexualität in Mazedonien
In: Streck, Bernhard (Hg.): Shutka Shukar. Zu Gast bei Roma, Askali und Ägyptern, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2009

Talks

2019 // Transnational Queer Underground and queer life + work in Berlin. Bedtalks Berlin, Deutschland

2019 // A queer Perspective on Art, Culture & Activism, TALFF, Tallinn, Estonia

2019 // A queer Perspective on Art, Culture & Activism, KRETS Malmö, Sweden.

2019 // Identity in Germany, NY Universtity, Berlin, Germany.

2019 // A queer Perspective on Art, Culture & Activism, ArtGora Forum, Riga, Lettland.

2012 // Roma zwischen Romantisierung und Ausgrenzung, Hamburg, AG Queer Studies, Universität Hamburg, Deutschland.

2011 // Roma und Sinti in Europa, Hamburg, Kolloquium Forschungsgruppe Intersektionalität, TU Hamburg

2010 // Queer Music, Wiesbaden,
Gegenbeispiele zum Sexismus in der Popkultur, Schlachthof Wiesbaden

2009 // Queer Music – Repräsentation und Manifestation, Leipzig, Gender Kritik Reihe II, Universität Leipzig

2009 // Wert- und Wortverschiebungen bei Roma in Transkarpatien, Leipzig, FTF-Netzwerken – Workshop für Wissenschaftler_innen

2009 // Economy and Prestige in Roma-Families, Uzhhorod, Ukraine, Roma-Gadje Initiative Dialogue Through Service, Seminar for Volunteers

2008 // Romani Education and Family Relations, Oradea, Rumänien, Roma-Gadje Initiative Dialogue Through Service, Seminar for Volunteers

2008 // Roma/Ciganyi in Transkarpatien, Leipzig, FTF-Netzwerken – Workshop für Wissenschaftler_innen

2005 // Die Rolle der Frauen in Roma Gesellschaften, Münster, Training für Lehrer_innen und Sozialarbeiter_innen

Press

2019 // Lola Magazine: Local Hero
2018 // Sieggessäule: Stirn Bieten
2018 // GAY.CH – Einmalige queere Kultur-Sphäre

Exhibitions (my own work)

2019 // Suwon Festival: MirrorLand, (group exhibition), 1.-10.11.2019, Suwon, Korea.
2019 // Batumi Photo Days: MirrorLand, (group exhibition), 30.08.-15.09.2019, Batumi, Georgia.
2019 // Drawing/Connection (single exhibition), 14.06.-31.07.2019 Frauen*Nachtcafé, Berlin, Germany

2018 // A Window To The World (Gruppenausstellungen), Altes Spital Viechtach und Bahnhof Kötzting, Juni 2018

exhibitions (curated)

2019 // Berlin, Germany – Photo Exhibition: Climate Crisis/Climate Change
2019 // Malmö, Sweden – Photo Exhibition: Climate Crisis/ Climate Change
2018 // Berlin, Germany – #TheGalleryProject

2017 // Prague, Czech Republic – #TheGalleryProject
2017 // Podgorica, Montenegro – #TheGalleryProject
2017 // Sofia, Bulgaria – #TheGalleryProject
2017 // Tallinn, Estonia – #TheGalleryProject

Network

2019 // Practitioners’ Lab: Arts and Culture under Pressure, Zagreb, Croatia
2019 // Tallinn Feminist Festival, Tallinn, Estonia

2019 // ArtGora Forum, Riga, Lettland
2011 // Study Visit, Discover Caucasus – Volunteering in Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgien.
Aufbau und Ausbau von Strukturen für Freiwilligendienste. Austausch von best practices.

2012 // Teamerin, Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste, Uzhhorod, Ukraine. Leitung des Summercamps, Organisation und Kommunikation vor Ort, Vor- und Nachbereitung, Abrechnung.

2011 // Teamerin, Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste, Uzhhorod, Ukraine. Leitung des Summercamps, Organisation und Kommunikation vor Ort, Vor- und Nachbereitung, Abrechnung.

2011-2015 // Herausgeberin, Make Out Magazine, Berlin
Auswahl und Redigieren der Beiträge, Vertrieb, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Veranstaltungsorganisation, Webdesign.

2010 // Veranstalterin, be_cunt, FLT*I Sex-Party Reihe, Berlin
Programmgestaltung, Raumgestaltung, Veranstaltungsorganisation, Webdesign.

2010 // Veranstalterin, Lad.i.y.fest, Berlin
Programmgestaltung, Raumgestaltung, Design, Veranstaltungsorganisation.

2011 // Study Visit, Volunticipate – Volunteering in Roma and Jewish Organisations, Bánki Tó, Ungarn.

2010 // Conflict Management Workshop, Kobuleti, Georgien. u.a, Austausch über regionale Konflikte mit Menschen aus über 20 Ländern, Gespräche mit IDPs, Forum-Theater Workshop.

2009-2020 // Herausgeberin, Transnational Queer Underground, Berlin Programmentwicklung, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Veranstaltungsorganisation, Web- und Mediendesign, Finanzverwaltung.

2007 // Ethnologie Exkursion, Shutka, Mazedonien
Sprachkurs Romanes, 50 Unterrichtseinheiten + Exkursionen.

2005 // DAAD Stipendium, Sommerschule Lviv, Ukraine. Sprachkurs Ukrainisch 85 Unterrichtseinheiten + Exkursionen.

2004 // DAAD Stipendium, Sommerschule Bischkek, Kirgistan. Sprachkurs Kirgisisch 44 Stunden, 5 landeskundliche Vorlesungen + Exkursionen.

2004 // Teilnehmerin, EU Presidency Enlargement Arts Event, Dublin, Irland Mitarbeit an einem Kunstprojekt zur EU-Erweiterung. Repräsentantin für Deutschland

2006-2007 // Veranstalterin, Queerer Lesekreis, Leipzig Textauswahl, Diskussionsleitung

2006-2007 // DJ & Veranstalterin, A Queer Night Out, Staubsauger, Leipzig Organisation der ersten queeren Partyreihe in Leipzig.

2005-2008 // Journalistin, Persona Non Grata, Leipzig Musikrezensionen, Interviews, Artikel, Radiomoderation.

2004-2005 // DJ & Veranstalterin, Analog Disco, Kabale, Göttingen – Organisation der ersten queeren Partyreihe in Göttingen.

2003 // Teamleiterin, Children International Summer Villages, Knoxville, TN, USA Betreuung der deutschen Kinderdelegation.

2002-2004 // DJ & Veranstalterin, Musik & … , Rodeo Bar / King Kong Klub, Göttingen – Monatliche Partyreihe zu bestimmten Themen in Göttingen.

2001-2017 // Moderatorin und Programmdirektorin, Radiosendung balm&creak, Stadtradio Göttingen, Göttingen. Moderation, Programmgestaltung (Musik und Themenauswahl), Interviews.

From My Clients

“Before the re-launch, we had a website that was hard to navigate and out of date. Therefore, we were looking for a web designer who combined political positioning with design. I found Verena’s clear, friendly and affable way of communicating really pleasant. In the design process with the graphic designer and me, her flexibility and professionalism were very helpful. We finally have a great and appealing website that we all enjoy, thank you so much!”

Sanata Nacro

LAGM*A NRW

“Verena is a truly creative mind and knows how to support inexperienced people with perseverance and know-how on their way to building their own first website. She finds a solution for every problem and offers quick help. Thanks!”

Alma Klemm

Harpist

“Verena was able to answer ALL questions I had about WordPress. And there was no problem (and I experienced numerous), be it technical, legal, or about design that she wasn’t able to help me resolve. Thanks to my new website, which I was able to create together with her in no time at all, I quickly started winning new clients. Thank you! ”

Juliana Campos

camposKOMM

“Working with Verena was one of the best things that could have happened to us in our situation: We had no experience in translating a real life festival situation into an online festival, but Verena was able to see us through in an uncomplicated manner. With a calm, patient and absolutely accurate and concentrated way of working, she built us a website which we see with pride and great pleasure.”

Elske Beckmann

Prosanova 2020

"Before contacting Verena's Design Studio, I didn't have a website and didn’t really get on with it myself. I chose Verena's Design Studio because of their political orientation and community connection. I found the cooperation very helpful and am now very happy to have a new website and to get positive feedback for the website as well. I can gladly recommend Verena's Design Studio!"

Nino Mar Seliz

Verkoerperungsatelier

“Verena works with creativity, carefully and reliably. She implemented our ideas brilliantly.”

Kerstin Meyer

DeutschPlus

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