Bas Bakx | A Little Black Book




Welcome to my Showcase. I am Bas Bakx, Student of Industrial Design at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. This website details my vision on design and how i have been developing myself as a designer during my time at the TU/e.

I use Alittleblackbook as the name for my Showcase because I write my thoughts in a little black book.
Like my book this site will give the reader an insight into my thoughts and mind.
This website is however presented in a more structured and coherent way to inform you, the reader, as best I can.

Take a look at the tabs at the top of this page to read more about the specific subjects, i recommend starting on the left and progressing to the right. Some pages also have tabs at the bottom that contain more specific information. You can also read about my experiences of last semester in my previous showcase

Bas Bakx, s123612




I'm Bas Bakx, born in 1994 in Ossendrecht, where I attended the local primary school.

If you were to ask me what i wanted to be when i grow up at the turn of the century, i would have said "inventor", becoming an inventor was put on hold for a few years in favor of learning to read and do maths.

In 2012 I got my Gymnasium degree studying at Het Juvenaat in Bergen op Zoom.

After that I could finally start to realise my dream, I started studying Industrial Design at the TU/e, where I am developing to become a competent designer.


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, what I don’t like is explain why they are nice. While it is valuable to discuss design and it’s interpretation, I consider a design failed if it doesn’t evoke immediate response from its users. This makes it vital for me to keep an open mind to interpretations of my and anyone else’s work. I try to look further than a user’s preferences; I design to make people realise what they want, not to make what people realise they want. As the late Steve Jobs said:

"You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them.
By the time you get it built, they'll want something new."

When I create I focus on details and context, any design choice should be justified, it should have a reason behind it, an opinion, a story. I design the same way I would write a book, piece by piece, justified and expressive. This makes it impossible for me to separate form and function, I like to lead a design back to its roots to make it nothing more and nothing less than it should be. This results in an inherent preference for minimalism and artistic properties.


I don’t believe in design fashion. While most certainly there are observable trends I disagree that they should be interpreted as a fundamental factor to design, they just highlight one facet of design that the zeitgeist seems to be most interested in. Design should change the world in every thinkable way, not follow it. When famous designer Dieter Rams was asked about consumer research at Braun he simply answered with:

"Never. We wanted to change the world."

Of course this expression calls the reader to implement some nuances, but at heart it is nothing short of the genius in its simplicity. At the surface it looks so simple, just a sentence, but it means so much more than a literal interpretation.

For me design is much more than an “in and out” thing, good design is timeless by being pure and minimalistic. In being timeless I consider context to be one of the most important factors; I believe an object communicates as much with its environment as with its user. Design has a purpose and should fulfil it, but should never be shaped without reason.


Industrial Design


This semester was probably the most inspiring period I have ever experienced, professionally it was also enlightning.

Two of the most important things I did this semester was firstly: embedding myself in the art en design, to find out where my passion is and formulate a vision.

Secondly: learn how to create a product that is attractive to specific users and attractive for a company to get involved in. How do companies make decisions and how do they act toward the outside world?

This semester I took a very inspirational assignment: Panamarenko and a concrete user focussed assignment: Discrete Interaction Design. I also attended two Bachelor College courses, one on Modeling certain types of data and one on Technology and Ethics. Another big contributor to my development was, of course, my project "Pablob" in Smart Sleep.



Read my feedback Read the report

Panamarenko was recommended to me and very rightly so. I came into the assignment not really knowing what direction to go, hoping to find some kind of guidance. It turned out though that what I needed was the space and encouragement to let myself go and just make something. Not worrying about who will look at or use the product of my assignment disliking or not understanding, got me thinking about what I think is important in art and, by extention, design. I got to create an object to be displayed on “The day of the arts” at the TU/e and lose myself in the world of art and design.

I found out how important I think it is to think well about every detail of a creation and how, because of this, I think it is important to keep

things simple and minimalistic. This avoids a creation becoming too convoluted and near impossible to appreciate by the beholder. Any detail in a design can have a world of messages behind it and, in my opinion, that is the hallmark of good art, design or any creation.

In the end, I created a ladder to be put against the Matrix building. From atop it people would have a different, great, view on the Day of the Arts. The only way though to get atop of matrix was a spiral staircase, the ladder would have to call the attention upon that, why is there a spiral staircase? Where does it go to? The art was in the context, not the object itself.


Interaction Design

Read my feedback Read the report

In the end learned a lot from Discrete Interaction Design. One of the most powerful things I learned was communicating the feel of a design without actually having to build and prototype the entire design first. In a relatively simple way I can create a representation of an interaction (Petri Net) and communicate it to others. I can also use the petri nets to discover problems and bugs in an interaction quickly and effectively.

Next to making Petri Nets I learned how to

interpret them, during a few lectures I learned about the symbols and structures of Petri Nets. When presented with a Petri Net and a simple description and minimal verbal communication I was able to create a prototype to specification. The specification I received was a type of smart room, users would control the temperature, humidity and light via an interface which I had to design. After creating the prototype for this I tested it on 4 users of which you can see the highlights in the video above.

Concluding, I think Discrete Interaction Design is a very important part of my user focussed process and valuable in my overall development as a designer. I delivered good deliverables, putting much effort into them paid off in the end as the feedback confirms.

Bachelor College

Bachelor College was the reason for my past PC verdict, my condition entailed that I have to pass Calculus. Sadly there were no retakes for calculus this semester, giving me no change to satisfy the condition. Because of this I aim to pass Calculus next semester.

This Semester my two courses were "Process Modeling" and "USE: Ethics and History of Technology".


Read my feedback

Modeling was a more unexpected course. While Calculus and Physics were really concrete from the start modelling was something I really had to explore. The general lectures introduced me, and showed me what the importance can be of modeling a system. In introduced me to in which instances a model can be useful (what questions to ask myself), what the properties of a model can be and what purposes a model can serve. Throughout the lectures that followed I learned that even the most complex of systems can be boiled down to bite-size models in order to communicate and test them.

Combined with the Specific Lectures I also attended Specific Lectures on Process modeling, in which the information was more focussed on how to check if a process can function and how it would work out, both quantitatively and functionally. The homework assignments forced me to use the knowledge from each weeks’ specific lecture. Which was useful, but the way peer reviews were set up didn’t give me any useful feedback on how my assignments were made only that other students rated it as good.

The biggest learning experience however came from the project i did about process modeling with Laure Peeters, Pedro Nemeth, Tim van Limpt and Tom Verbong. We got the case of a dysfunctioning online betting company called “Betting-Buddy”. An important thing we learned is keep it simple when making a model. We started far too broad, exploring multiple tools, which eventually just caused us to end up with a whole lot of loose ends. I learned that models are everywhere and even the simplest things (like storing data in a table) can be optimized and controlled using (data) models. The results were positive and I passed the course with an average grade of 8.


USE really spoke to me, especially the ethics part. While philosophy has always been a minor fascination of mine, I never considered it in the specific context of technology and enterprises. I found this particularly powerful and interesting to discuss with my fellow classmates. The business ethics that followed after learning some basic ethics theories in my opinion could be very valuable in a professional environment and is very useful. The way ethics offered a different perspective to technological changes is something that really surprised and I believe I have learned a lot from it.

While the history aspect couldn’t capture me as much as the ethics aspect I think that, professionally, it was very valuable. Besides being concretely about historical events I think the writing assignments really contributed to this part of the course. I was forced to look at a technological development from multiple perspectives and research them in a professional way. This contributed to my historical perspective greatly. I now know and know how to apply multiple theories about how users and society influence technology and how technology influences users and society.

Lastly I think the professional, business focussed, way USE was taught contributed to my own development as a professional. Anything I have written had to be correctly referenced and required research of a professional level trough exclusively using reputable sources.

By putting all the material into a comprehensive and actual context I think USE was valuable to understanding technological change throughout all of history and how ethics comes into play when decisions have to be made in a company. My interest in USE resulted in the assignments I co-wrote both getting a grade 10, the presentation I gave getting a 7. The two other written assignments were written by teammates and both got a 7. At the time of writing I have not recieved my final grade yet.


Read the report
Read my coach feedback

Pablob was a project in Smart sleep. We were tasked with creating a better way to sleep. After dividing sleep into three separate parts: going to sleep, sleeping and waking up. We decided to focus on how to wake up better.

A lot of students have trouble with getting up in the morning; some have no motivation or energy due to long hours, others might be stressed because of, for example, upcoming exams or deadlines. So we decided.


We started out by condensing the project into one week, forcing ourselves to intensively think about sleep. In the end we came up with a cabinet that had 6 drawers, each containing a small task to perform. The idea was that users would be woken up by an alarm and one of the drawers would open, the time in which the task was performed would be shared among their friends. The idea made waking up a social game instead of an individual chore.

before shaping the concept we pitched the idea in order to get feedback, which gave us ideas for the shape and function. After creating the prototype we assesed the product of our weeks work and discussed it with our coach. We decided to leave our "Pressure Cooker" for what it was and continue in creating a more elaborate project.


After the pressure cooker we went back to researching the phenomenon of sleep. Divided into two teams we researched a temperature aspect of sleeping and a conditioning aspect of sleeping. However we stumbled into trouble with the motivation of one of our team members, this was a major setback and eventually caused the team member to leave. Even though this caused us to lose our time and temper we fought on, eventually siding with the concept of conditioning.


A big part of shaping the concept we formulated was Usertesting, with two main questions being answered. Firstly “how much can we influence users in their sleep” and secondly “how should this object look”. Planning and executing the usertests educated us about how to evoke and process useful data from a usertest. Our concept wasn’t shaped upon intuition or assumptions but on research and tests.


I can look back at this project with a big smile on my face. Together with three other starting students I got to experience ID in a great way. Even though a lot of time that could have been spent on the project was lost on bachelor college I think I learned a lot from working on the project. With the help of experts, our coach, fellow students, masters and each other we managed to apply a lot of knowledge.

After a rusty start we managed to get so much work done. We analyzed the identity of the Efteling, we went through a design process with this in mind and applied all our knowledge to deliver, what I consider to be, a great project.

Extra curricular


This semester I was lucky enough to be able to go to Milano during its design week. I got to visit all the big attractions. Brera Design district: an intimate and genuine way of experiencing design through lot of small expositions hidden throughout the district. Triennale: the big design museum of Milano, from a Peugeot by Ross Lovegrove to an Alessi kitchen utensils collection. Superstudio PIU: a large, prestigious place for young designers and companies to show their innovations and inspirations. MOST salone: a creative hub for companies and students alike. Finally de iSaloni del Mobile: an immense multiple kilometre long collection of exhibitions, showing the latest developments and trends in furniture design, but also while offering young, innovative designers to exhibit their creations.

Milano was an enlightening, valuable and overall incredible experience. If you are interested in what most captured me during this week please read the photo report and journal I made about my experience.
My experience


This semester I changed the way I graphically design. I am very drawn toward working in vectors and always did this using Adobe Photoshop, which is very impractical and cumbersome compared to some other programs. I decided to attend a workshop on the topic of Adobe Illustrator which is far superior in working with vectors. I not only did most of the graphic design for my project this semester using Illustrator, all my personal graphical work, like the my Milano report, was also made using Illustrator. I feel that learning to use this program was massively valuable.

Designing Business Processes

To help me with achieving my goal of making a business analysis of product I arranged a meeting with Hans d' Achard van Enschut, an expert on business process design, together with another student, Cas Zeegers. Our goal was clear, we were going to take the product of our Iteration at the beginnning of the semester, and make a business analysis. Would it be attractive for, for example, Philips to sell this?

Hans told us about how we should value a product, about important factors of a product, about profits and how the market roughly sticks everything together. It soon became apparent to make a meaningful analysis of a product every detail of it should be exhausted and no stone can be left unturned. The meeting realy taught us what is important to know about your product if you ever want to turn it into money.




My B1.2 PDP Read my coach feedback My draft PDP

During my time studying industrial design i have been writing everything down, tracking my development and reflecting. In my PDP i set the goals for what i had to do, what my aims were, to be on the right track to becoming a designer.

I have illustrated how far my competencies are developed so far in the diagram below, and clicking the tabs at the bottom will give you more information on the specific competency and how i worked to achieve my PDP goals.


Self directed and continuous learning

I consider this one of the most important competencies in this entire study. We are being educated to develop ourselves for future development, making a self directed mindset vital.

Most ID related activities relate to this competency strongly, as reflected by the feedback I got on my activities. I feel like I have performed well in directing myself and this is reflected in very positive feedback on my assignments, good grades in my courses and a content coach.


Descriptive and mathematical modeling

This semester my goal was to pass modeling and calculus. What I did not know was that there wouldn’t be a change to retake calculus the entire semester, however modelling was passed with flying colours.

Besides me reaching my goal as much as possible I also heavily developed this competency both in the communicating of concepts in Discrete Interaction Design and the data processing of the Modeling course.


Integrating Technology

I wanted to create this semester, create a lot and so I did. I far surpassed my fairly modest goal of creating two functioning prototypes this semester.

Besides making two functioning prototypes I also went through a substantial growth in this competency in discrete interaction design. The bachelor college course USE also helped me to write and research in a scientifically funded way.


Ideas and Concepts

I sadly did not reach the goal I set for this competency though I really looked forward to writing a report on ideation techniques with focus on ID students.

The competency luckily did not remain untouched, anything but in fact. Panamarenko substantially contributed to it and Discrete Interaction Design did to some extent.


Form and Senses

This competency was focussed on creating in my project. I wanted to give shape to my concept with reason. I wanted to do form explorations and so I did. Using clay, foam, sketches and usertests the concept gained a shape, a meaningful and justified shape.

Besides this both my assignments also substantially contributed to my form and senses capabilities. Overall a very succesfull competency development.


User Focus and Perspective

My goal this semester was to perform a serious usertest on at least 5 users. In the end we prepared one for 12 people. Considering the few that did not report their usertest back I still surpassed my goal.

The other way I wanted to develop UF&P was through Discrete Interaction Design, in which again, I developed this competency a lot.


Social and Cultural Awareness

At the start of this semester I feel like this competency was lacking. I could not formulate a serious identity or vision, I had trouble naming names of inspirations and overall could not orient or place myself within the design world.

Trough visiting Milano during one of the most inspiring weeks imaginable and completely losing myself in Panamarenko I managed to find a direction and concretise my position in design. Several inspiring conversations with my coach really made me question what design, industrial design and art means to me and how I think they relate to each other, for which I am very grateful.


Designing Business Processes

I think my goal for this competency was a little far-fetched, making a full business analysis of our product an Phillips asked for a very elaborated and developed product, which we did not have to a high enough degree.

Instead I discovered what I need to make a business analysis trough an expert meeting with Hans d’Achard van Enschut. This, combined with learning about professional vision on technology in both historical and ethical context in USE made me develop this competency a lot this semester.


Design and Research Processes

This will always remain an important aspect of ID, being “thrown” into a project with relatively little knowledge always calls for an interesting research phase in which orienting is very important. I also think my overall design process improved, this semester’s design process was structured and effective.

USE also introduced me to an effective, very scientific, way of researching. By effectively using databases like JSTOR and Google Scholar I know now far better how to correctly research in a professional way.


Teamwork and Communication

My main goal considering teamwork and communication was to move quickly past the researching phase and start creating. Though I would have welcomed even more creating, I feel that I successfully achieved this focus.

Contrasting with last semester, when teamwork went smooth and there was little to no conflict, I had to deal with a team member leaving the study halfway the project and much more conflict and clashing visions. In these situations I like to discuss and talk about what is happening,

Professional Skills

The skill mainly developed this semester was writing. While the assignment reports required a certain professional approach, USE was the main driving factor. I had to do research in a way I never did before, by using databases, books and magazines instead of simple Google searching. I couldn’t simply make assumption or state things, every word was funded and referenced in a consequent and professional way, as resulted in the feedback from the course. These writing skills were reflected again in the project report, in which I tried to justify each image and in which we referenced all the material that was important for our final prototype in a good way.

Presenting was more or less put on a backburner for me this semester. I felt my group members needed the practice a little more than me in presenting the project. Obviously though, my assignments needed me to present, so did the basic courses. In the final USE presentation I even ended up among the best 4 presentations of my group (of roughly 16 presentations). I am starting to enjoy presenting more and more, I enjoy sharing ideas and telling stories even though I sometimes feel it isn’t entirely appreciated and interest is lost quickly. The only way to avoid this in my opinion is to always directing the presentation toward the specific audience it is meant for.

Planning within the project was much more successful this semester than it was last semester. At the beginning of the semester we roughly mapped the stages we wanted to be in at specific points throughout the semester. Each week we also wrote down what had to be done on what points on a shorter time scale. Even though we tended to deviate a lot from our planning it always gave us a direction of who should be doing what. Every team member always knew what had to be done instead of sitting still.




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