Before starting my study Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology, I attended ‘Juvenaat’ grammar school in Bergen op Zoom. My choice fell on this school because they taught Latin and Ancient Greek. From a young age, I had a strong interest in solving problems, so deciphering two completely new languages was the perfect challenge for me.
Despite the fact that I spend my childhood making clothes out of old curtains, making skate- and snowboards, and realizing our neighbourhood-famous mechanic soda tap system (also known as 'Fanta Fontein'), I never really thought about being a designer.
At age 14 I created a youtube channel. Which turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. This significantly improved my verbal skills and video editing. Moreover, through youtube, I made connections all over the world and this nourished my interest in different countries and their cultures.
Throughout my high school career, it became clear that I strongly preferred exact sciences above my other courses. Naturally, I started looking at studies in that area. Since I have a very wide span of interests, many of them appealed to me but were missing creativity. When I came across the study Industrial Design, I learned that my childhood dream to become an inventor could actually come true.
As an Industrial design student, I want to develop myself as a student and as a person by creating things that can really add something to this world, make you stop and think or that bring a smile to your face.
"Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want." - Anna Lappé
Too often, I get weird looks from people passing by, because I waved and said good-day *shocker*. In these moments we get pulled out of our bubble back into reality. Suddenly confronted with real contact. With today's technology, there is almost no more need for this kind of contact. What will this eventually do to society as a whole, as we slowly become unfamiliar with having face-to-face conversations? We are getting more isolated offline, by becoming more connected online.
With my design, I want to get people back in touch with each other, and back in touch with the world we live in. For example, we have little understanding of where our food comes from, or the products we use every day. Also where it ends up after you throw it away is not something we consider.
However, I believe that we as individuals should take on more responsibility. We are actually in a position to make a difference. I want to make people aware of this, and invite them to behave differently. Not by pushing them in a particular direction, but by giving them the tools to be able to come to their own conclusions.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” - John Lennon
I am convinced that for every problem there is a perfect solution. And I am determined to find that solution. I like to take on a lot of projects at once, which fits my personality since I have a lot of different interests and can find something I like about almost any project. Being honest with myself about the amount of time I have, the amount of sleep I need and the amount of work that has to be done, I have to be careful to avoid deadline stress or work piling up.
I am a very active and energetic person, with a chaotic brain, there are no limits to my ideas. I am easily distracted (ADHD) and I like my room messy. However, I do need some structure and control to work towards my full potential. Because of my perfectionism, I pay great attention to detail. I see this as a good quality to have as a designer, though I have to be careful not to lose track of time.
I possess good social skills and I am verbally strong. I am especially passionate about sustainability, veganism and ethical fashion. Working in a team, I used to always take on a leading role, since I have high expectations of myself but also of my group members. Over the past few years though, I have learned to take a step back and listen to the others first. This has resulted in more balanced, enjoyable and effective teamwork.
One of my goals this year was to completely master Adobe Illustrator. I had some previous experience but was not confident and it took a lot of time. By incorporating at least one graphic design in each course and project, I learned how to communicate my ideas better and in a more aesthetically pleasing way. Another one of my goals for this semester was to focus on prototyping and spend more time in the workshop. This is why, in the later stages of our design project, I decided to create a wooden storage box, for our image cards, from scratch. Lastly, visiting the Milan Design week last year has inspired me greatly to be more daring in my work.
It is always exciting to see your ideas turned into working prototypes. In the courses Creative Programming and Creative Electronics and in my Design Projects I improved my ability to realize this. I became familiar with Arduino and HTML and CSS-based web design. Together with my developed skills in hardware, I will be able to build interactive prototypes in future projects.
Working together and co-designing with my users is something I highly enjoy, working with children in particular. Children often have a very open and imaginative mind and a unique view on the world around them. Following the course User Centred Design, I learned the importance of ‘knowing’ your user and the value of user research. Having conducted many user tests in past projects, I have gained knowledge on how to approach your user in order to get the most valuable information. Furthermore, the USE Base course taught me about the ethical impact of my designs. Altogether, these experiences have made me a more user-focused designer.
By managing my youtube channel I already came in touch with business and entrepreneurship. In communicating with sponsors and my partnership management I have seen the importance of clear communication. As Well as being proactive and not being afraid of going after opportunities that initially seem out of reach. As a part of my USE Learning Line, I followed a business module. During this module I learned to create and work with business model canvas, the board of innovation, revenue models and different types of ecosystems, all things I had barely heard of before.
Pure math is not something I have much affinity with, however, I do realize that it is important to have the mathematical and physical tools for taking a scientific approach to design. In the fourth quartile of this year, I did a research project, measuring the luminous exposure of employees in an office landscape. We made use of both location-bound and person-bound measurements in order to compare these. In addition to working with new sensors, I was introduced to the concept of (wireless) data loggers. To find a correlation between these two different measurements, we had to analyze the gathered data and visualize the results. I am now able to create and interpret different models and graphs.
In order to work efficiently and effectively, a basic understanding of design and research processes is required. Doing my first Design Project within the course From Idea to Design, I learned several techniques to generate and select ideas. Adding structure to my Design Processes is very important to me. Especially for someone with ADHD like me. I will continue to grow in this area of expertise by doing more Design and Research Projects.
Since studying Industrial Design, I have developed my teamwork and communication significantly. Working with a team has always been a challenge for me. I am naturally very stubborn but have now learned to be patient, accept the fact that I do not have all the answers, listen well to my team members and be open to the ideas of others. Now that I have found a balance between being stubborn and compliant, I am able to see value in and enjoy teamwork. Last semester was challenging for me due to personal and medical circumstances, which resulted in me being absent at some of my meetings. Learning from previous experience, I tried to make sure this was well communicated.
I believe that to become truly successful as a designer, one must develop self-directed learning. By setting my own goals and planning how to achieve them, I am able to learn precisely what I need for my projects, as well as what I want and have to learn. This year I mainly wanted to work on overcoming my perfectionism. One aspect of this is asking for feedback before my work is done or before I find it good enough to be handed in. Another aspect is avoiding procrastination, in fear of making mistakes. Last semester, I made a conscious effort to ask for help and ‘just’ started working on tasks without knowing how to, or with the intention to, do them perfectly.
Next semester I hope to be working on crafting everyday soft things, the project I applied for. Within this project I will be able to develop myself in the following way:
Additionally, I want to further develop my Vision and Identity as a designer. to work towards this, I will be visiting Studium Generale and other (lunch) lectures. As well as talking with people I find inspiring regarding their vision. Moreover, I am going to invest time in reading on and researching sustainability. Since I want to make sure my actions align with my values, I will be thinking of new ways in which my designs can be sustainable and promote sustainability.
Lastly, I am going to pick up some of my personal hobbies I have neglected, such as writing, playing the guitar and getting back on the Judo tatami (mat).I find it hard to take time for myself, but in order to be more productive in the end, I will be structurally doing so in the upcoming year.