I’m a designer who wants to design for a more humane and sustainable world, by creating practical design solutions for everyday life. How am I going to achieve this? What’s the potential of design within this context?
In the last few decades, the digital world has become potent in our everyday lives. (Bakker & Niemantsverdriet, 2016) With its rapid increase in presence, so has its influence, bringing exciting opportunities and solutions. Yet many digital devices lack a humane and sustainable factor, respectively.
I feel industrial design is at a point in time where it has the responsibility to put man and world first, using technology as an added value to design and to enrich everyday life instead of using technology as a mean.
To elaborate, good design to me is design that serves its purpose. It should reflect social inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness f.e. in the form of shared systems. It should use material as efficient as possible and only when absolutely necessary for its purpose.
So good design will: 1) be optimally usable by the user (user-friendly) and provide added value for the user, 2) be accessible for the broadest possible audience (affordable & democratic), 3) last as long as possible (durable) and 4) be built with sustainable materials (sustainability). To me, the role of designers is to search the optimum balance between these requirements to create humane and sustainable design to enrich everyday life.
With this trade-off of requirements, as a designer, I create a very personal response to each particular design problem. My response can be associated with a sort of organic Modernism and is much inspired by the democratic aesthetical Scandinavian design approach and the Bauhaus practicality in particular.
I am a thinker. At the beginning of a new project, I need some time to acclimatize to the context and formulate the design challenge. I observe my users, make a Value Framework to understand the stakeholder involvement and explore the context with research. During the conceptualization phase, my analytical approach helps me to keep an overview of the bigger picture so I can quickly ideate through concepts with sketching and brainstorming while finding the most practical design solution. Shifting between ideation and user validation in this phase helps me to make important design decisions that lead to new ideas. Because I want to create design that is user-friendly and provides added value for the user, I actively involve the user with f.e. co-creation sessions and user-testing during all phases of the design and research process.
Within team processes, I like the role of structurer as I’m good at keeping an overview. This helps me to see what needs to be done next to steadily work towards our goal. I am able to engage people in this process and motivate them to push their skills to the next level.
My curiosity to learn about new things is reflected in the diverse contexts that I design in: from a baby carrier for parents to a brainstorm tool for multidisciplinary teams.