”I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.” -Miles Davis
As a designer self-identification is crucial for a strong and convincing design language. Throughout the years, I have consciously and unconsciously formed and defined who I am as a person. Yet the relevance of this process and definition only became clear to me once defining my professional identity, which is a part of my identity as a whole. The pillars of my professional identity have mostly come from personal (international) experiences and reflections. While my values and beliefs have come from conscious contemplation and reflection upon these experiences, I have always tried to gain more knowledge and reflect upon scientific, social theories and principles as well.
Aesthetics and Interaction
„Uniformity admits variety“ – Francis Hutcheston.
Hutcheston refers to the fact that in chaos there is an underlying beauty of order that can be traced back to, for example, mathematical algorithms or other scientific theories. By deepening my knowledge regarding different scientific domains (biology, chemistry, etc) I have found that I am able to approach design from a broader perspective when designing different details, behaviours or material qualities. I get inspired by different aesthetical philosophical theories such as the one by Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, which I believe to be one of the firsts who would link beauty with functionality and purpose, and who together with, Plato, who vouched to distinguish between replication (or interpretation) and innovation, which is perhaps what defined what we call design today. Another source of inspiration are psychological theories such as the one from Hutcheston mentioned previously. The reason why these inspire me as a designer is that it allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the science, the motivation and the interpretation of aesthetics by users. Besides this theoretical knowledge, its application within the discipline of art also has a big influence on me as a designer. Having knowledge regarding art history and continuously deepening and broadening my art knowledge allow me to identify timeless social dilemmas that the works reflect, as well as traditional and innovative sense of beauty. When all these different influences come together and are materialized within my own work, it could be defined as my aesthetical identity. This can be seen back in the aesthetics of my final deliverables but also in my design process, in which I always try to create purposeful aesthetics in my prototypes through my design process.
Digital and traditional craftsmanship
I like to work taking into account my passion for history and tradition while thriving to innovate. My interest in art and design started from an early age. From participating in coloring contests to exhibiting some of my sculptures in a museum, I always have been actively developing artistic skills as well as acquiring knowledge regarding contextual and historical theory. Due to living among different cultures throughout my life, I have been able to see and understand different approaches, techniques and contexts in which different artists worked. Besides the latter, I have also experienced the impact of globalization of societies and with it, cultures. Globalization, in my eyes, has two main impacts on the creative discipline. Firstly, it allows the unification of skills and strengths that result in innovative and highly creative art, design and engineered solutions. Secondly, the traditional craftsmanship, which to some degree is the preservation of the tangible manifestation of cultural heritage, seems to have difficulty to survive this modern age. Seeing and appreciating both sides, I see the value of reaching out and using tradition to create, as well as to develop and create new techniques and applications. The strength lies in combining both in its appropriate proportions. This part of my identity can be identified in projects such as my internship at Mercedes-Benz, where I created a 3D printed leather touch interface. Once printed the sample was treated with actual leather post-treatments. Combining 3d printing with actual traditional post-treatments allowed for a realistic look and feel of the leather interface.
My interest for materials started from an aesthetical perspective, soon after I came to realize the many different dimensions that were involved. The fascination continued into the realm of fashion and with it; admiration for textiles. Soft, flexible surfaces that aimed to not only make someone look stylish but also to keep someone warm, cool or somewhere in between. Combining my passion of textile with digital/traditional craftsmanship I started to work on creating soft, flexible surfaces with different techniques. An indispensable additional feature that I could not neglect was the potential of technology and how this could enhance and program the textiles purpose and behaviour. In combination with the two previously mentioned pillars of my identity I have been able to develop skills to design and prototype these types of textiles. As can be seen throughout the entire master program in which I have completed electives, assignments and projects creating and developing smart textiles.
Connection to personal development and project goals
Throughout my academic trajectory I continuously seeked to develop myself in the three previously mentioned themes. The activities and goals linked to those themes were as important as the other areas of expertise that I developed in. An example of this is the bachelor elective Taking Care of your Client, which allowed me to design for an existing client, to ask the adequate questions to identify the core of their demand to then use my expertise to provide a focused and effective solution. After developing a solid foundation within the bachelor, I was able to set focused goals and work on projects mostly relevant to my professional identity. An example of this is the group project Mo, which aimed to redesign the traditional retail purchasing experience, involving touch and digital craftsmanship as two core elements of the new purchasing experience.
As Jonathan Lockwood Huie said, “The inherent nature of life is constant change”. Embracing my everlasting professional development, I will say that I will continue to, ambitiously creatively create for people and this world. With positivity, hard work and dedication I aim my work to be relevant to those who I design for.