Growth Throughout the years
During my Bachelor I had the possibilities to learn and grow into directions of my personal interest. I followed courses and projects as part of the set curriculum, which offered personalization. Next to what I have learnt from the courses I have also learnt a lot about myself personally and professionally as a designer.
Throughout the years I became a confident designer. All the courses and reflections made me the designer I am today. A designer who is able to create for multiple stakeholders, research target groups, build working prototypes, visualize ideas in multiple ways, use these visualizations and prototypes for research purposes, evaluate the results with different analysis techniques and using all the gathered information to reflect on the design and iterate into further versions. During my Final Bachelor Project (FBP) I realized that throughout my bachelor projects, most were designed with the user at heart. And for example, projects like IRIS and TiFi (FBP) were created for positive behavioral change. A concept on which I would like to focus more during my master Industrial Design.
By working in 5 different areas of expertise I discovered that my interest is in User & Society and Business & Entrepreneurship. I think continuing to develop myself in all the different areas during my bachelor enabled me to identify my interests while still being able to work in/with all the different areas.
For my personal growth I grew in my professional identity and vision. By reflecting on my work and on my development I learned to be critical in a personal and professional way. This way I know what I can offer employers and clients for example.
Integration of learnings in my Final Bachelor Project
Of course I used the things I have learned over the years in my FBP. My bachelor helped me finding what I like and what I want to design. I realized that I find the user important, but still with a business perspective. And the tools I have learned in the Past enable me to design in such a way. With the right strategy all the stakeholders can be taken into account get value from the design. I used my previous knowledge and my vision on transparency as a base for my FBP. I will explain my learning integrations shortly divided by the 5 expertise areas.
Expertise Development Integration
User & Society
TiFi is designed with the user in mind. With the use of several techniques (interviews, prototypes, UI/UX and validation) I was able to design a product which is easy to work with and gives value to the user. Next to that TiFi is designed to help users with their decision making processes (behavioral change). With TiFi the current fashion industry can change and the current shopping behavior of customers too. The interviews done with the users were ethically approved, since I took their privacy and rights into account. These interviews were used throughout the process, together with scientific evidence and theories, to get insights in the users and raise the design to the next level.
Business & Entrepreneurship
To be able to make TiFi a profitable design and to give it the possibility to grow after delivery of the project I used my learned business skills. I envision transparency with brands, but I saw that customers of stores are asking for transparency increasingly too. With the use of several business models, like the Business Model Canvas, and taking all the stakeholders into account I was able to create a full concept which can be valuable for multiple stakeholders. In the case of TiFi: Fashion buyers, Brands and TiFi itself. I tested this idea with all the stakeholders (users and brands) to validate the value of the system for both usage and economics.
Creativity & Aesthetics
By brainstorming about the problems in the current fashion industry the TiFi platform was created. I used experiential prototyping and sketching to find a fit for how I could integrate this platform in-store. To make sure everything fits together I used a style guide. This style also provided trust and easiness for the customer, a nice link to User & Society. The looks of the page also enhance the idea of informing customers in an objective way. I used the perspectives of all stakeholders to make sure the platform fitted their needs. This development went through a lot of iterations and reflections before the end design.
Technology & Realization
To enable people to experience my idea and design I created an online platform. This platform can be accessed via scanning physical labels. I experimented with techniques like QR and NFC and validated NFC as a nice fit for enabling labels to be scanned in-store, without the usage of an extra app. For the realization of the labels I tested with sublimation as a printing technique. When stepping over to NFC I got familiar with detailed weaving done by EE-Labels.
The platform was coded with the use of HTML and PHP for the best user experiences. The PHP code was used to communicate with a database containing the garment information. Both languages enabled me to build a page per product which is objectively transparent. To learn about these, for me, new coding languages I asked help from a computer scientist who taught me.
Math, Data & Computing
I was already familiar with analyzing data sheets and visualizing them. And I was aware of the power data has the current days. Therefore I wanted to use data as a business strategy. The information about garments is being stored in a database. This data can be accessed by the PHP code by using MySQL. I used my visualization knowledge to create examples of visuals that would fit the kind of data in the database. These visuals are designed to be easy understandable and usable for a business analysis.
On each garment page several icons are visible. These icons differ per garment. These changes, next to the rest of the information available on the pages, are based on the information in the database. To make sure the right icon is connected to the information I used simple calculations with the database information. The resulting score corresponds with the right visuals and text (icons and description).
Design Research Process
During my bachelor I got familiar with design and research processes and how these processes can be used to create and validate a design. I was not aware that you are also able to design for a research purpose instead of the other way around; using research to create a design. I find it quite interesting to use it in a loop. Doing research to make a design and using the design to validate thoughts, which can then be used again to elevate the design itself.
I find it interesting to base design decisions on scientific resources and results from tests and interviews. Combining both resources enable me to build strong designs with strong arguments for why it will work in a certain way. I used this way of working during my FBP, using all the skills learned during my bachelor.
During my internship I saw that this way of working is quite time consuming, but doing it in a quick way will enable me to build strong designs in a real-life context too.
My FBP was the first design project where I had to work alone. During my bachelor I mainly worked together in groups, which taught me a lot of different things. I learned about how working with different people could be beneficial for a design process. Everyone has different skills and using each one’s skill-set a design can become better than imagined. These differences can also make working together difficult, because there might be a difference in interest too. Sometimes I had a clash within a group. This resulted in uncomfortable ambiances until we talked to each other about the irritations and differences. By talking about each persons’ wishes on how to work together, we learned how to work together without bothering each other in their work.
Working in a team also has it’s positive sides, because you can learn from each other. I like it to teach others things I know, and in return I learn about their skills too. This way, working as a team gets more valuable than using each others’ skills.
Not only during projects I learned how to work in a team. I am also part of Team Media of the UNID magazine. Within a team we had to work towards several deadlines and we had to create a coherent article. Within some teams I took the lead in how to address articles for example. I have quite a good overview so, when working in teams I am able to guide everyone.
Even though I have worked in groups I also had to work and learn on my own. Due to my personal trait of working organized I was able to work independently and finish my tasks on the right moment. I can be carried away by certain subjects or tasks due to my willingness to continue learning, always. I want to grow and therefore I engaged actively in taking courses, even outside of the TU/e.
By being to actively involved in the choices I have made enabled me to grow throughout the years in the direction I prefer. With the result to be able to reach my personal goals for a project, course or semester.
Professional Identity and Vision development
To see my current Professional Identity and Vision (PI&V), please visit this page.
At the beginning of my bachelor I was asked to write down who I was and what I was standing for. It was quite hard to describe that at the beginning already, because I was not sure about the answer. Throughout the years I developed my PI&V with the use of exploring different courses and working on several extra curricular activities. I used all the activities to discover who I wanted to be and what I wanted to represent. As the years went by, my PI&V started to grow. More details came in place of a global description, till how it is right now. Sometimes my visions turned into my identity, because I integrated it into projects inherently. This means that both aspects will always change as the years go by. My professional identity grew more towards my vision and my learning activities and readings will always shape my vision. With a result that my vision of today can be different in a month.
Something that opened up my mind is that I unconsciously translated traits I have into my way of working as a designer. An example is that I am quite an organized person. This trait developed itself into my organizational skills and my ability to see the whole picture. Another trait of mine is that I like it to help people. This grew into the idea of me sharing my knowledge and helping others by means of a design.