As the owner of my favourite shoe brand Floris van Bommel kindly wrote on the sole of my shoes:
“I like to make nice shoes.”
I too like to make nice things, but, apparently like Floris van Bommel, I don’t like explaining why they are nice. This calls for design to speak a strong visual language to the observer. By showing a strongly connected form and function, design can captivate a user and entice them to explore and discover the value in a product themselves. Curiosity is a strong (if not the strongest) driver of interaction, so generating it is essential, especially when this can be done by showing the function in a product.
A designer can have many roles throughout the design process, but has to be able to bring the concepts, the research, the costs and benefits, together at the end, especially in an industrial context. The industrial designer is often called a “jack of all trades, master of none”, providing a super-wide skillset. Combining this skillset with the knowledge to dive deep into any one of the steps in the design process creates a unique capability of creating products, services and systems.
If you were to ask me what I would want to be when I would have exclaimed “inventor!”, after all these years I still would if it was a real job title. The inventor in me approaches design from a very practical, physical standpoint. It wants to create real objects that can be immediately used to test ideas out and get feedback. Creating is the fastest, most direct way for me to actively engage a design in the real world. All methods from simple sketches to detailed 3d-printed models have their own ways of developing and showing the value in a concept, making them essential in my way of working.
Next to a physical way of working there is a more digitally focussed identity. This part approaches problems in a more abstract way. How do function and aesthetics communicate with a user and what should be done to provoke more curiosity, more interest? Iterating is also key here, as for me; the best way to communicate an idea is by making it.
What I do and what you can see in most of my projects is bringing these digital and physical worlds together. There is this great, huge digital world that can be very intimidating out there. Similarly there is a physical world that has a lot of intuitiveness, but also limitations and standing still is simply not an option. By combining the best of both of these worlds my goal is to make objects that create curiosity and allow users to explore.
By knowing a little about a lot of things and continuously learning, I try to give myself the tools to be able to work on a wide variety of projects at all levels. As design is constantly changing, so must I.