During my bachelor I wanted to learn how to design, communicate and prototype creative products that are functional, user friendly and pleasing to the senses. Furthermore, since I might want to start up my own business someday, I wanted to learn how to think more commercially and to know some things about entrepreneurship.
The following sections describe how I developed in the expertise areas that are specified by the TU/e, in relation to my development goals. For each expertise area, examples are given of projects that were especially relevant for achieving those development goals.
Given my master’s degree in Human Factors, I have quite an understanding of the competency area User and Society. Also, because of my enthusiasm for this competency area, I worked with it in nearly every project. Because I want to start working in the field where psychology and design meet each other (usability, nudging, etc) and because I think it suits me, I focused on User and Society once more during my Final Bachelor Project (FBP). In my FBP, I researched contemporary societal problems and methods of behavioral change (like nudging), implemented them, and tested the result by means of user tests.
Throughout my bachelor, my creative thinking skills grew a lot. During brainstorm sessions I can fire creative ideas, whereas my pragmatic tendency limited this ability earlier. This change required a lot of practice, but since wild ideas can trigger great ideas I think it is very important for a designer to have creative thinking skills. Also, to become able to communicate my ideas, I took the Exploratory Sketching course and enhanced my Adobe Illustrator skills by designing various logo’s. I also drew various story boards to practice communicating concepts. I frequently asked for feedback and started over many times to reach for the best outcome possible. For my FBP, I wanted to focus on Creativity and Aesthetics once more, to practice these skills in an area that is similar to where I hope to work after my FBP.
In my FBP, I was able to implement and improve my skills from other courses and my internship. Namely, the course Exploratory Sketching enabled me to explore various ideas fast enough to keep up with my thoughts, and to make an adequate graphic representation of the idea inside my head for a good evaluation. Also, the Adobe Photoshop and drawing tablet skills I acquired during my internship at MMID were used and expanded by editing the product pictures of my lamp. Finally, I designed the aesthetics of the lamp based on my own intuition of what looked good. The aesthetics turned out to be greatly appreciated by the participants of the user test, which gave me confidence in my intuition.
As for the business aspect, I followed the USE learning line “Technology Entrepreneurship”. During these courses, I learned how to identify and design opportunities for business developments. Also, I closely follow start-ups in my surroundings to get more insights into setting up a business. I now have a better understanding of business and entrepreneurship, as well as a network of entrepreneurs whom I could contact for any advice. Furthermore, I made and analyzed a business model of my FBP design. To gain even more insights, I interviewed friends who did business-related studies.
When it comes to competency area Technology and Realization, I gained a lot of knowledge during Creative Electronics and Projects 1 and 2. Moreover, since my focus in the first two years of my bachelor Industrial Design has been on developing abovementioned skills and knowledge, I saw a necessity to shift my focus to subsequent steps in the design process. That is, going from concept to product. I therefore did my internship at international product development agency MMID, where I had a great chance to build upon my skills and knowledge in the competency area of Technology and Realization. During my FBP, I learned how to hard-solder brass, and I implemented skills from the course Cardboard Modeling to efficiently help me gain information during the prototyping phase.
When it comes to competency area Math, Data and Computing, I gained a lot of knowledge during courses like Calculus, Physics, Data Analytics, and Project 3. Aside from those specific courses, quantitative user research in many other projects required and extended knowledge of this competency area. Also, I graduated cum laude from my master Psychology, where my thesis required me to work with large datasets and do quantitative data analyses.