What is design for me?

Defining design is a hard task because I think design is everywhere; it's all creation, change, nature, culture and technology. In my eyes design is a necessity for life, looking at Darwin's 'Survival of the fittest', only the species that grow and keep adapting to changing circumstances survive, everything else dies.

Why are we still designing?

Nowadays most necessary needs for survival are fulfilled by our human capabilities, so why are we still designing? It's in our blood to never be satisfied, we keep wanting more. Abraham Maslow illustrates this perfectly in his 'hierarchy of needs', shown below. He states that human needs have to be met from the bottom to the top, so when you're hungry that will be your only need, making 'self-actualization' not important at that moment. Only when the physical needs are met, humans look up higher in the hierarchy. I think this is the driving force that makes design still relevant, it takes humanity to a next level of complexity.

How do I contribute to this?

In today's society developments in technology enables us to take huge steps up in the hierarchy. This development goes so fast that we can't foresee the impact yet; social networks arise, making us less social every day. Privacy is being forced open by big corporates that use your information for their sakes. Instead of technology serving as a tool to fulfil human needs, we become slaves to it. At this point I want to contribute as a designer; developing technology in products or services that fulfills needs, while keeping it social and human.

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Generalist on all levels of the pyramid

My strength lies in being a generalist; I am able to connect different elements in a design, work together with other disciplines and keep an overview of the process. Being a generalist also has its downside as I don't continue developing a lot of things further, having a broad but less specialized development. For me every level of the pyramid is interesting; from the bottom this means designing for people who don't have clean drinking water, to the top for people who want the best possible experiences.

Interaction leading to ideas

Within a team I function best. In a book called 'Vision in Product Design' I found a quote that explains this well: "Designing is a conversation; a construction through a certain kind of dialogue; and a working out of meaning by watching, talking and communicating". My potential lies in the group where my ideas emerge and the best result is achieved by combining everybody's own competencies. This group does not have to be large, as I did a project with the two of us this semester which worked out great.

Human centered design

Within the Industrial Design faculty I experienced some difficulties because a lot of projects are about product design and I don't want to stimulate a society focused on consumption. This semester I found a direction in design that appealed to me, Service Design; puzzling a way through different needs of stakeholders and come up with a human centered design is something that gives me energy; starting with finding the needs of the user instead of manipulating them by selling them a need that can be fulfilled by you.

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