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Industrial Design
Areas of Expertise

The Eindhoven University of Technology has identified seven Areas of Expertise for an Industrial Design engineer. To graduate, you need to be competent at all seven. The three areas I am particularly interested in are: Technology and Realization, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Self-Directed and Continuous Learning.

Self-Directed and Continuous Learning ensures independence and continuing development, which is very important because of the nature of engineering. Additionally, I want my design to have an impact. Technology and Realization makes that happen by using the latest design and manufacturing techniques. Finally, my designs should make economic sense and create added value. Business and Entrepreneurship is key.

Creativity and Aesthetics was and still is my most developed area of expertise. For instance, I started building websites when I was nine years old. This year, I’ve become a lot more familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite, e.g. Illustrator, After Effects, and InDesign, which are very useful for creating professional-looking reports, videos, logos, and posters. In the field of computer-aided design, I’ve obtained valuable knowledge, but I am not yet satisfied with where I am now. It still takes me too much time to make something from scratch.

As far as my ‘SMART’ goals, I’ve reached my goal in this area, which was making three CADs. I will continue working on my CAD skills, because I think it is important to be able to express and present your ideas accurately. CAD also helps to figure out how shapes are built up and what might cause problems when manufacturing. 

With Project 1, coming up with creative solutions for the many design problems, is an important skill I’ve developed as well. A strategy that I have learned, involves spending a lot of time realizing an idea, since you can then actually find out whether an idea is good (feasible, desirable and viable) and if not, why not. A quicker way to find out, is by performing a so-called ‘pressure cooker’. A pressure cooker involves running over the whole process of designing a product very quickly (e.g. the course of a week) and find out what the pitfalls may be.

Contributing courses and activities:

– From Idea to Design (course)
Project 1 (course)
Creative Programming (course)
Creative Electronics (course)
Designing websites
Making portfolios
Producing videos
Designing logos
– Working with Adobe Software
Using CAD and CGI

Suggested page: Logos

Technology and Realization is an area that I am particularly interested in. I have followed the courses ‘Creative Programming‘ and ‘Creative Electronics‘ and I am currently following the course ‘Creative Mechanical Engineering’ in order to improve my skills in this domain. Additionally, I am going to experiment with at least three different ways of prototyping in my Project 1 (this is one of my so-called Smart Goals). Furthermore, I want to obtain some experience with SolidWorks or a comparable program and make at least two 3D-models for Project 1 (this is my second Smart Goal).

Over the course of my first year, I have made the most progress in this area, especially regarding electronics, programming (I’ve worked with three Java-based coding languages), Arduino, and mechanics. This is the area that I am investing in the most, because I consider Technology and Realization, along with Creativity and Aesthetics and Business and Entrepreneurship, the most important domains to develop. The last two were more developed when starting with Industrial Design, so I am putting a lot of effort into Technology and Realisation right now. This area relates to valuable skills for the type of designer I want to become, e.g. science-based design, prototyping, and CAD. That’s why I’ve followed the elective ‘Creative Mechanical Engineering’.

The two ‘SMART’ goals set for this area (getting familiar with three more prototyping techniques and bringing a product to its final stage), have not been fully reached yet. I have carried out rapid prototyping (e.g. 3D-printing) and foam prototyping however and I will continue working on these goals. Prototyping is important for testing, but also for presenting, and coming up with new design solutions. That’s why I am expanding my prototyping skills. I will complete the goal of using three kinds of prototyping before the end of this academic year, but I am going to postpone bringing a product to its final stage to another project, because Project 1 is not suitable for this goal (further development is suggested in the report, but not carried out).

I’ve decided to program my own portfolio (this website is the result) in order to develop skills in this area.

I am happy with the progress I’ve made this year, especially in his domain. I’ve been graded well for courses in this field, for example Creative Electronics (9 out of 10).

Contributing courses and activities:

Creative Electronics (course)
Project 1 (course)
Creative Mechanical Engineering (course)
– From Idea to Design (course)
Creative Programming (course)
– Introduction to Business Design (course)
Designing websites
– Working with Adobe Software
Using CAD and CGI

Suggested page: Project 1

“I want to create technology that has the potential of elevating people to higher levels of independence” is stated in my vision. In order to do so, you need an understanding of the user and society. Why do the problems exist in the first place? What is causing them? Are these problems you could address as an Industrial Design Engineer or are they political for example? Or both?

Thinking of creative solutions for problems that don’t concern myself, but address others, was quite a challenge for me. I’ve learned a lot in the area of user testing. For example, you’ll have to deepen yourself into a design case, even though it is not of your interest, in order to make a good design, and find out what the users’ needs actually are. For example, for Project 1, we are designing a product for people that don’t actually exist in The Netherlands: people living underground. In this case, it was hard to relate to the projected user, but we did it anyway by setting up the right user tests that related to the projected user.

Something I’ve learned regarding user testing, is that it is really important to have a good prototype to show to your projected users. This way, feedback will be more accurate.

Contributing courses:

  •  User-centered Design
  •  USE Base
  •  Project 1
  •  From Idea to Design
  •  Introduction to Business Design

Suggested page: Vision

This area of expertise is my second most developed one. I’ve followed the course ‘Introduction to Business Design and I’ve read plenty of books regarding this topic.

A good understanding of Business and Entrepreneurship is necessary in order to be able to make a product that is both appealing (desirable) and that makes sense business-wise. This also involves getting proper funding for (the development of) a concept or product.

“Many problems, such as climate change, can be addressed by making new technology available for the mass” is stated in my vision. In order to do so, a product should make economic sense. Otherwise, it won’t work without government support. 

There are three conditions that a product should meet in order to succeed as a mass product: it should be desirable, viable, and feasible. The last is to be addressed in the domain of Technology and Realisation. The first two could be addressed by for example doing user research (User and Society), and cost optimisation, respectively. 

Contributing courses and activities:

– Introduction to Business Design (course)
– USE Base (course)
Project 1 (course)
Designing websites
Making portfolios
Producing videos
Designing logos

Suggested page: Videos

Math, data and computing is an area that I’ve mostly developed during the basic courses of this year. I am able to apply knowledge obtained in this field to projects, but some mathematical problems or software challenges have occurred for which I don’t have sufficient knowledge yet. That’s why I am going to follow more courses on this field next year.

Contributing courses and activities:

– Creative Programming (course)
– Calculus (course)
Designing websites
Using CAD and CGI

I’ve learned the most about the design process during the course ‘From Idea to Design. The so-called ideation process is hard to master, but it can be a really powerful tool to systematically find solutions for design problems.

Designing involves lots of user testing, prototyping, trial and error, and reflecting upon your work. This process is iterative, so some steps need to be taken multiple times.

We were able to create a low-fi prototype for the Project 1 midterm demo day, do user tests, and make another prototype. Next time during a project, I want to bring the product to a more final stage.

In the first quartile of year one, my team came up with a rain drainage system that generates energy. This system is designed to be more affordable than existing solutions. Nothing like it was developed before. So everything needed to be built from the ground up. This posed problems. We had to address existing and new knowledge while taking cultural and societal context into account. 

Contributing courses:

  •  From Idea to Design
  •  Project 1
  •  User-centered Design

Professional skills are important for being effective and successful as a professional. 

Over the course of this year, I have shaped a good part of my identity as a designer and know what I would like to become. By reflecting on my work, I’ve analysed what skills are important for my development. These are pitching, presenting and rejecting.

It was mandatory to plan ahead for the entire semester, which I didn’t always like. It has pros and cons. Planning ahead makes sure that you’re going towards your goals, but some of your goals might change. That’s why I try to only plan things that are necessary, which doesn’t mean that I am postponing. Actually, I manage to meet deadline easily.

During courses such as ‘From Idea to Design’, the importance of meeting efficiently was emphasised, since meetings were too long and inefficient. I now know how to organize efficient meeting. One way to make meetings more effective, is by deciding what to discuss beforehand.

I had good experiences with group work this year. I have experienced team members who were and who weren’t motivated. I try to manage with unmotivated people, but I still find it hard. It is important to be able to rely on others, but you should always be aware that some people don’t deliver, although this rarely happens. 

Contributing courses and activities:

– Meeting Skills (course)
– Planning and Organizing (course)
– Pitching your Project (course)
Designing websites
Making portfolios
Producing videos
Designing logos
– Working with Adobe Software

Suggested page: Files

Please click/tab on a link in the text to open the relating documentation.

Fields of expertise

 I have been making websites, videos and logos since I was nine years old. 
During my first year of Industrial Design, I’ve significantly improved these fields.

Editorial Work

Language is a cornerstone of design interaction and can make or break an idea or product.

Finance

Without the proper tools, an idea will stay one. Understanding the financial aspect of an operation makes it easier to be successful.

Smart goals completed
Desired Identity

I am content with where I stand now, since I am able to fulfil the requirements of the study (e.g. study points, grades etc.) and develop skills in different areas of expertise. I would like to dive deeper into the domain of Technology and Realization, refine my design process and be able to present my ideas more accurately however. I think that these three goals will help my designs to become more effective.

In order to improve my skills and attitude in the domain of Technology and
Realization, I am going to experiment with at least three different ways of
prototyping in my Project 1. I hope to improve my woodworking sills, Teensy
(micro-controller) skills and hope to experiment with 3D-printing. The reason I
want to improve these skills is because I think that good prototyping can help
you to understand the problem and create a team to find the best solutions.

Evidence: Documentation

Refining my design process will help me to make it to the last few steps of the design process. So far, I haven’t been able to refine a design to such an extent that it is ready for market introduction. It is important to get the hang of all steps within the design process, in order for your design to be useful in everyday situations. I am going to make at least one product that makes in to the last stage of the design process before the end of this academic year. A design process takes a lot of time, so I think one product is the most realistic.

Evidence: Project 1

Another way of presenting and refining your ideas, is by making a digital 3D-model of your design. I want to obtain some experience with SolidWorks or a comparable program and I am going to make at least two 3D-models for Project 1. I will watch YouTube tutorials to learn the basics. I think that this skill will help me to identify solutions and separate a problem into smaller design challenges.

Evidence: My Work

Academic Results

Courses followed

Both Major courses and electives help me to expand my knowledge and dive deeper into a particular subject.

Average Grade

Although good grades don’t assure success, they are an indication of progress. 

Areas of expertise

Progress

Before ID
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During the course ‘Creative Electronics’, I learned how to design electronic circuits. 

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