As a kid I loved drawing, tinkering, and creating. From a young age I soldered small objects and made things out of wood. The creativity became limited to the handicraft hours when I went to secondary school, and when I went to university I barely found time to create things anymore all together. However, I still liked to invent practical solutions to small problems by redefining the function of everyday things.
In 2017 I graduated cum laude from the master human factors at the Utrecht University. I enjoyed learning how people perceive and process information, as well as how this relates to the search for an optimal human-environment interaction. Yet I felt that something was missing. Also, the jobs that I liked to apply for required a background in design. I realized that I wanted to invent and create things again, while implementing human factors insights. Hence my decision to start studying Industrial Design.
Here are some examples of things I created before I started studying Industrial Design. These things often answered to practical challenges, and were made of materials that I could find in the house. Something that has always been and still is true for me, is that I enjoy finding new ways and skills for making things.
As both my professional identity and vision reflect, I like to be a designer who builds good products with a great user experience. I want to contribute to people’s life by offering products that are sustainable and intuitive, and provide an authentic experience. I want to design products that enhance life. To be able to do this, I studied cognitive psychology and industrial design, did an internship at a company that shares my values, and will continue refining my Final Bachelor Project (FBP) design which enhances authentic life by improving social settings.
With a background in cognitive psychology, I am a designer who aims to create intuitive user centered products. More specifically, my passion lies with creating designs that require no instructions for use, and have a great user experience. People must have a positive feeling regarding my designs. Enabled by my knowledge of human information processing capabilities from my study psychology, I always look at -and research- designs from a user’s perspective. My belief is that if users are unable or unwilling to use a design, it is bad design, despite the potential brilliance of its function.
Authentic experiences are core to my design. By drawing, painting, tinkering, making music, sewing, and running, I strive to be my most authentic self, which I can bring into my designs. For me, authentic designs support people in being their true selves, allow for free will regarding its interaction, and may evoke emotions. Authentic designs also respect the true nature of the materials that were used, and may expose the material’s appearance. Building on my craftsmanship, I strive to create simple, authentic, and inspiring products. The elegance for many products is, in my opinion, in their simplicity.
With the designs that I make, I want to have a positive impact. This means that I aim to reduce contemporary societal problems with my designs, and that I value the sustainability of the products. Having products made locally, for instance, supports local businesses and reduces the environmental impact. Moreover, selling products via physical stores instead of online, for instance, reduces the emission of deliveries and supports local stores.
The quest for authenticity also implies that I make designs that I believe in. I believe in user centered design, authenticity and societal relevance. This reflects in my Final Bachelor Project (FBP), as I designed a lamp that supports an authentic social situation by stimulating people to store away their phones. The intuitive design was greatly valued by the test group, and reduces the societal problem of smartphone use around the table. Designing my lamp both came from my beliefs around design, like the importance of user experience and simplicity, and made me conscious of some other beliefs, like authenticity and societal relevance.
One of my strengths as a designer is my knowledge of human information processing (dis)abilities, that give me insight into the user experience of concepts, as well as into how to research the user experience. Another strength is my analytical research oriented approach that helps me to understand various different aspects of problems and ideas, to be critical about my own work, and to be realistic and efficient in effort and time spend on pursuing ideas. On the other hand, I am aware of my limited knowledge and skills in the digital field. However, my ability to find help in areas that are not my expertise, allow me to keep learning and continuing when I lack the knowledge myself.
I work best when I can work in a small team in which strengths are combined and thoughts can be exchanged. Creative input from other people can improve my own, if my critical analytical self is hindering my creative self. My critical self might reflect another trait: pragmatism. I find myself often in a project managing position, working with a planning, avoiding to waste time, and analyzing the aspects of the project to fit in the most promising way.
As my professional identity indicates, my vision upon design is that it should do something good for people, society, and/or the world, in a user friendly way.
First, one of the contemporary challenges seems to be about finding happiness. Especially millennials seem to struggle with this challenge, trying to find fulfillment in their jobs or relationships, but finding it difficult to reach ‘good enough’. I like to contribute in easing the lives of people by helping them to find joy and satisfaction in the smaller things. In this fast paced world, I see a need for products that help people to find their free, authentic selves.
Second, I see great societal value in social contact between people. Knowing one another allows for greater coherence and social security. However, social contact is sometimes threatened by the way in which people use technology. An example is phubbing, a term for neglecting friends by interacting with a smartphone. Instead, I believe that there is a great value for products that support or enhance social contact.
Third, design should do something good for the world, which is in serious need for sustainable and environmentally friendly changes. I see a large role for contemporary designers to try and restore these imbalances. Whether it is to design for sustainability, enhance awareness, or to use sustainable materials, the fact that the environment needs help cannot be ignored.
When design follows all of these aspects, it can come to intuitive, fulfilling, life enhancing and environmentally friendly products. In order to reach these qualities, a designer must be analytical and critical upon their own work, and aim for the best outcomes. Also, it is important to dare ask for help when an unknown field is encountered, to extent knowledge.
Starting from October 2020, I will be working as a look and feel designer at MMID. Within this function I will do user research and focus on user experience while designing products and systems. It is a perfect match with my professional identity and vision, and with the combination of my studies Industrial Design and Psychology.