I am Yasemin Arslan, first year (M1.2) master student Industrial Design at the University of Technology, Eindhoven.
Welcome to the place where I reflect upon my development during my second semester, which has been the most challenging yet rewarding couple of months of my education here. Through this semester I have been able to put everything I do within the frame of "why", "how" and "what", also known the Golden Circle. This helped me to become more specific about my vision, the contribution of my design identity and the three domains I want to become expert in.
A complete new experience this semester has been doing the research project (Es)Sense and becoming acquainted with qualitative and quantitative data analysis. I have furthermore obtained many insights that contribute to the development within my expertise domains and have inspired me to take a gap upcoming semester during which I will dive into the world of Cultural Anthropology and more.
I would suggest to read through this website by simply scrolling down as I have based the order is based on the my why, how& what.
social& cultural sensitivity
form, function& sense
process: research& design
my vision on design& society
"it is easier to dismantle an
atom then a prejudice"
- Albert Einstein
I see design as the means to transform our society that has become a very individualistic one. Instead of living together, we are leading our lives along each other: the Dutch word “samenleving” seems to no longer apply. We hide away behind our devices where we form opinions about others. While products we use are functional, the majority is meaningless and easily replaced over time. We are living in an era of ongoing technological developments with many possibilities to design for sociality. Unfortunately most products support individualistic behavior instead of initiating social interactions.
"I believe in bridge-creating design to support social interactions between people "
I believe that communication is the antidote to our prejudices and individualistic behavior, which I want to achieve through bridge-creating design. I see this as a tool to create mutual understanding while leaving room for personal ideas and interpretations. As designers, we are responsible for the way society is developing and how we respond to these changes through our designs.
By designing for social interactions in public spaces I can stimulate people for more social behavior and motivate to experience other perspectives. I see physical interactions a means to design for non-verbal and verbal communication and to support collaborations. I am fascinated by the relations between people and their behavior towards interactive artifacts that facilitate social exchanges.
I strive to design an engaging interactivity that creates meaning for its users and leaves room for open ended use. Within this I am interested in both direct interactions between an artifact and user, as the interactions between people themselves and the role such an object can have to act as a facilitator for social exchanges amongst two or more people.
Through translating personal and communal values, and understanding the perspectives of the different people involved, I obtain an in-depth insight which helps me to discover their underlying needs and design starting from their intrinsic motivation. Depending on the context my design can be a physical interactive artifact or a service through which social exchanges are facilitated and supported.
design identity: who I am I and how am I becoming the designer I describe in my vision?
"any intelligent fool can invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain or recapture, simplicity"
- E. F. Schumacher
I direct myself by the methodology of phenomenological design in which the human perspective and senses are put central. I believe in designing from first person perspective to understand, experience and embody a context before I explore and create. My approach is a combination of theoretical knowledge and insights gained through field work, which includes a combination of design tools and methods from ethnographic field research. To creates bridge with design I believe it is crucial to obtain a multi-perspective understanding of the specific context, in which the different users and stakeholders are actively involved in multiple phases of a project.
Through experiencing and embodying I find their diverse needs, derive intrinsic motivations and define a design direction. From this point I can create a foundation for meaningful design. Within my work I believe it is essential to start from the “why”, move towards the “how’ and eventually direct the process to the “what”. By understanding the core needs and values within a challenge or opportunity, I can design the function and eventually its meaning more truthfully. In my designs I am inspired and guided by the philosophy of Dieter Rams who states that “good design is as little design as possible”.
I have developed a flexible process in which I reflect in and on action. A fundamental aspect in is that I alter in my approach as it prevents from having a tunnel vision. This means switching between working intuitively and from my rationale, between scrutinizing in detail or from a bird’s eye perspective and from being in control to moving along with the flow and opportunities encountered in the process. In my process I actively involve other designers, experts, users and stakeholders and use their feedback to keep a fresh mind. I believe it takes trial and error, but also passion and a clear vision to transform society.
My design language can be described as delicate and organic with a close relation to geometry. I strive to balance between forms and experiences that triggers our senses while connecting them the function of a design. I am inspired by designers as Ross Lovegrove and Dieter Rams. Lovegrove’s designs are learning me to use technology and new available techniques as a support in creating different yet functional shapes. On the other hand, Rams’ work teaches me to never forget the importance of simplicity, the way form can communicate function and the balance there should be striven for within a design.
My attitude as a designer
If I want to create bridges with design, establish social interactions and translate values into meaningful experiences, my attitude as a designer has to support these beliefs. To create bridges, I also need to act as a bridge and talk the languages of the people I am working with and designing for.
By acting as a mirror people can understand whether I have interpret their insights correctly. This also implies that I shouldn’t always put myself as the expert but place myself in the position of a novice, especially in the context of designing for and from cultural traditions. Designing for social interactions means that having a social attitude and process in which people play a central role.
Through my approach and attitude it has become easier to tackle but also create meaningful challenges, and prevent myself from thinking in problems. Having a “bottom-up”, constructive and realistic attitude is essential in obtaining a successful and meaningful outcome.
M1.2 research artifact: granular wood & light
B2.2: artificial light reflections that were influenced by people on the street, as a poetic way to connect them
B2 assignment: an interactive light object designed by traditions around making Turkish Coffee
B2.1 project: circular shapes (part of a prototype)
B1.2 project: a light that guides women through and supports them in the painful procedure of mammography (inspired by the golden ratio form)
Some sketches from my tea glass project that has been lying on the shelf for almost one year (see future plans).
"the best designers and architects are the ones who are curious and never stop asking questions"
- Massimiliano Fuksas
about me (as a person)
As you know by now, I am Yasemin Arslan, born in Haarlem (January 1992) and Turkish from origin. People describe me as motivated, extrovert and energetic, but I can also be stubborn and critical. I am disciplined and have little problems with switching between activities.
I know what I want and I am not afraid to take risks and go outside my comfort zone to explore and achieve my goals. I am very social and I love being around different people and cultures to become inspired.
As a natural team leader I am capable of working with responsibility, collaborating and communicating, but I am also perfectly able to work individually. I am intuitive, exploring and direct, which has the result that I can be overwhelming and temperamental. Through my activities I am learn to remain this directness, but understand better how I to communicate the same without overruling someone. I always try to reflect upon my actions, ask for feedback and challenge myself to keep on improving myself.
In my daily life I like variety and I try to make each different than the previous one. I am someone who appreciates the little things that remain unnoticed by many people. My personality and exploring nature stimulates me to learn as much as I can, to never stop asking questions and to learn something new every day.
"consider that being at the Masters at ID means that you have a wish to develop your expertise in a specific area"
- m1.1 assessor
Throughout my bachelor I have found out that I want to design for social interactions in public spaces through physical interactions. Last semester I have participated in many activities that were indirectly related to this vision through contributing to my competence of design.
During my previous (design) semester I increased my experience in working from the phenomenological design approach as this is a core element within my design processes. I achieved new insights through multiple modules and created frameworks to use when translating values to meaningful outcomes. I learned about open ended use and acquired tools for designing from and for multiple users and thus perspectives. Through my design project “Designing Social Interactions In Public Spaces” I experienced to work with a self found context and client, Seats to Meet. I experienced that through service design it is also possible to stimulate for social behavior through intrinsic motivations.
Although the semester itself was extremely informative, I had difficulties specifying how these insights contributed to my development in certain design domains and moreover how they were linked to my design identity and vision.
I was advised to increase this awareness and find out in which design domains I want to direct my further development. I had to give more in depth motivations for the choice of my activities and become more explicit. The feedback I received during this semester has influenced the choice of activities for this semester and has guided me in the process to find my place in society. In the upcoming section “development” you can find more information about the learning objectives set for my current semester and the insights I have gained.
why, how& what.
a big specific picture
The main objective of my first Master year is finding my place in society and understand how to contribute as a designer. Key in this is to develop my vision more specifically, direct my expertise into certain domains while continuing to work from my passion, as was advised during my previous assessment.
My activities of this semester were linked to designing social interactions, translating values and obtaining more specific insights in certain competences that supported my design identity. Since my personal development plan could have been more explicit, I continuously reflected in and on action and involved others for feedback and perspective on my work. This helped me to create a frame in which I approach everything from the golden circle of the why, how and what.
Through this frame I have become conscious about the design domains I need and want to become expert in, and how they support me in designing from my vision.
Looking back on my semester I believe that the congregation of this structure has been the most rewarding insight as it has great influences on directing my future development and placing my past experiences in more concrete divisions.
I found that I need in-depth development in three different design domains which are “engagement and interaction”, “social & cultural sensitivity” and “form, function & sense”. In this section you can read about these domains and the obtained insights during this semester. Next to these directions I reflect upon my design & research processes and professional skills, as these five elements form the foundation for my design approach. If you are interested in reflections specifically about an activity you can find these within in the links (of deliverables) in the section of activities.
To design for social interactions it is important to understand and observe how typical interactions between people are initiated, how people form values and how they relate themselves towards others in their (cultural) environment. To create mutual understanding and stimulate social behavior I need to master tools and methods to observe, understand and embody. I believe that most design opportunities are right in front of us, if we are able to process the insights we gain and combine them with our ability to connect and create.
The main goal of this domain explained in the scheme you see on this page. This frame guides me in the process of obtaining an in-depth and multi-perspective understanding of the context I am interested in. I have been able to create this frame by analyzing previous work about understanding, translating and designing from values through the phenomenological design approach and through my RSDL activities “Urban Rituals” and “Design to Impact”.
An important aspect in which I need to gain more insight is how to loop my work back towards society, in the sense that my design actually makes it to the market. In my future activities I want to actively search for collaborations with foundations and companies. Through “Urban Rituals” I learned that within designing in a societal context this can be a crucial factor, as they not only can offer funding but also share their expertise in the subject.
My most insightful experience of this semester was that I now understand that this domain is highly connected to Cultural Anthropology, and that my experiences in doing field work are a combination of design tools and methods from ethnographic field research.
During the module “Urban Rituals” I was introduced to this subject and it has inspired me to study the basics of Cultural Anthropology in my upcoming gap semester. I will explain this in the section future.
During “Urban Rituals” and “Design to Impact” I was introduced to new tools to observe users, while altering between an outsider and insider approach. I have become more experienced with my interview techniques and learned that designing for social interactions means that my process and approach, especially in this phase of framing should also be social and interactive. I grew conscious in adjusting existing tools to make them fit for the specific context and practiced my ability to design from people’s intrinsic motivation within two completely different scenarios. I now understand that the key factor in this lies in my personal approach, which I have thus translated into the previously mentioned frame.
Making an overview of the insights during the Design for User Experience module about the automotive campus case
Obtaining user insights during the Design to Impact workshop about people's market experiences with a self made tool
This domain is about understanding the intrinsic motivation of the users and stakeholders involved in a project, explore possible design solutions and the eventual outcome. I have found an important link between designing for user experience, engagement and interaction which are elements that strengthen the realization of social interactions and the support for more social behavior. In my work I do not limit myself to the design of solely interactive artifacts, but also services that are partly contribute to building communities.
Through designing for the user experience and using the tools that are advised within this approach, it becomes possible to create outcomes that answer their intrinsic motivations. Tools as needfinding by interviewing, creating value propositions and making journey maps help me to obtain better understanding of my users and their underlying motives. This is a crucial foundation for building a proper interaction. To be able to build interactions I need to understand what interactivity means in the specific context and how this can be done on a more engaging way in which the human senses are given a central position. I believe that a proper combination between engaging interactions that are based on the ultimate user experience (and thus values) is key in meaningful design.
During my research project “(Es)Sense” I created a frame about perceptual crossing (which is a type of interactivity), engagement and sociality and found how these should be designed.
I learned that artifacts can play act as a facilitator for interaction, and I am curious to explore other roles for interactive objects.
I found that interaction itself can be validated through models as the Flow model for engagement or by conducting an experiment and doing qualitative and quantitative analysis. By growing more experienced with designing behaviors for artifacts I have obtained better understanding in thinking from the perspective of the object as well as of the users.
With the module “Design for the User Experience” I have acquired more theoretical insights in what design for the user experience includes. I experienced that having a proper understanding of the different types of motivations is essential and decisive for the direction of the design outcome. By learning to work with tools as “storyply” and “co-constructing stories” I know have better control in obtaining in-depth feedback on concepts.
Designing something engaging is easier said than done. I found that I love to design engaging social interactions, but this does mean that I need to become more experienced in this. In my future work I want to use the paper I have written as a foundation for further development.
We experience our environment through our body, and are triggered through our senses, past experiences and curiosity for new encounters. A design should trigger, or moreover seduce its users through their senses and change their implicit behavior to an explicit one. I believe that form and function should be given equal value within a design, while putting the human senses as the foundation to build on.
I found that if designed properly form and function can strengthen each other, and in combination with our senses this can contribute greatly to the overall experience of an (interactive) design.
To achieve this it is important that I have a proper understanding of what form is, how it can influence and is influenced by the function and how these relate to our senses.
Through the module “From Sketch to 3D and Back” I obtained valuable insights in the interconnected relation between form and function. I learned that these aspects need to be created simultaneously during the process, throughout multiple iterations and user validations. I have better understanding of how a form is build up and learned to critically assess my work for its identity and style, ergonomics and balance with the function of a design.
With the RSDL “law office logo” work I had my first experience in designing for a client. I learned to combine my personal style with the identity of the customer. Through this activity I found that in the function can have multiple dimensions, as within this project the function of the logo was to convey the feeling of both power as well as trust.
Within my research project I have explored how form and function can trigger our senses to explore. I experienced that if this is done properly, even the look of a design can motivate a user for tactile explorations. I found that it is important for myself to experience from my senses in order to understand the perspective of the user. Combining natural materials with light showed me how a poetic experiences can be designed.
In order to integrate “form, function and sense” further into my designs it is crucial for me to increase my experience in this domain. I would like to continue developing my personal form identity and learn more about the human senses and the design of interactive artifacts. In the section “future” I discuss activities I have planned to improve my experience in this domain.
(Es)Sense project: material and technology combination to trigger tactile user explorations
Form exploration during "Sketch to 3D and back": creating forms that guide the eye of the user
The Curve designed during as the final deliverable during from "Sketch to 3D and Back": multi functionality within a form
The Curve in blender mode
Logo design: an eagle that embodies power as well as trust
"I really appreciated and enjoyed the development that you showed of getting into doing research and show the attitude and terminology that comes with it"
- m1.2 coach
In the personal development plan of my previous semester I had stated that I wanted to learn more about validating my work more scientifically. Unfortunately the validations I conducted were more ad-hoc and based on intuition. My M1.1 coach advised me to pay more attention to well-structured and rigid-research methodologies during my research project. This semester I have worked according to the “research through design” method and learned to perform both qualitative as quantitative data analysis.
Through learning by trial and error I started enjoy doing research and being a researcher. Although I prefer doing hardcore design over research, I will put more attention to research (theoretical and field) within my upcoming projects to have a strong foundation to explore design solutions. Doing a research project also thought me that validating concepts is not only necessary to improve an idea, but also to prove that your concept, hypothesis or ideas are correct, which is of key importance especially in the professional field.
Throughout this semester I have become acquainted with different types of design methods, such as participatory design, expert-minded, research- and design-led. I found that my preference lies in a combination of design-led and participatory design, inspired by the methodology of the phenomenological design approach. I have obtained a more broad set of tools to find needs, design for social and engaging interactions and validate these ideas.
Most importantly I again encountered that within a process it is of importance to understand what actions lead to what results. I learned to mold the knowledge I gain and place them within different frames to understand and process. I believe it is essential to master these tools, and then adjust them in the way is necessary, creating a more personal set of skills.
Besides becoming an expert within my design domains, and having a balanced process I believe there are several skills that are fundamental in supporting my (design related) work. In this subsection I reflect upon my growth within these different skills.
Throughout the module “Design for the User Experience” I experienced the challenge of having to communicate the advice of a completely different approach and vision to our client. I learned that understanding the other’s perspective using this to create a bridge towards my findings and the necessities helps to convey such messages. Having validated data that supports these beliefs, accompanied with a clear pitch and engaging story are also mandatory elements within this communication.
Another insightful experience was using my sketching skills to communicate process and concepts without having to rely on stock images. I want to improve this skill and continue developing my personal style.
My responsibility as the chief editor of the UNiD Magazine has been an extremely challenging, yet rewarding experience through which I have developed to my professional skills. By having to communicate with different people involved as companies, our printing office and my committee I learned to be clear in my communication, be empathic and realistic. I learned to communicate a shared vision and to inspire and motivate other people and create solutions when necessary.
Through my work as a student mentor I had a first experience in guiding other students in a half formal and informal context. I learned that giving the information when it was applicable, while keeping the big overview is best within explaining an ongoing process with different phases.
This semester I developed new ways of presenting ideas or information which are all very different from each other. For my research project I have written my first paper ever, which teached me important insights in using the proper terminology and having a good structure.
While the words papers could send chills down my spine a few months ago, I need to confess that I enjoyed writing this one as it was about my own research that was furthermore highly connected core aspects of my design vision.
As an Editor in Chief I experienced how I need to position myself as the head of this big committee, while having a very personal and close relation with my chief team and other freelancers. I learned that creating a common ground through mutual understanding, respect and open communication streams is fundamental within fruitful collaborations.
As a Chief Editor I have learned to conduct interviews for both professional as more informal situations which contributes to my general interviewing and talking techniques in my work. Writing the editorials for the magazine has contributed to my ability obtain insightful information by asking indirect questions.
During the Design to Impact workshop we experienced (as a group) with interactive ways to present during which we involved the audience to participate. We gave them an active role through which they understood our concept and were more engaged in the discussion we triggered after the presentation. In my future presentations I want to continue “presenting outside the box” and explore effective and engaging ways to convey my message.
* extra curricular
During this research project I studied how perceptual crossing can influence the sociality between two people and a light object, through engaging interactions.
The table: surface
Social interaction during the Final Demo Day
Visitors exploring the interaction possibilities
Participants during one of the tests
Some inspiration for the table (Johanna Hyrkas - light carpet)
Granular Wood fresh from the sawing machines (pinewood)
Testing the effect
Details of the inner side of the table: cap sensors & light
module: Design for the
In this module the theory and practical framework behind user experience was explained through a case for the Automotive Campus in Helmond. During the week we collaborated with students from automotive engineering.
Mission impossible: finding the automotive campus in Helmond
Case to improve the user experience of the Automotive Campus
Keeping track of the process during the module
Storyply tool to understand the context and find opportunities
Processing the obtained information
Using the Sheldon Needs to design from the intrinsic motivation of the users
A scenario sketch I made for the final presentation
Another sketch to explain the current situation and the ideal scenario
project: From Sketch to 3D
In this module there was thought how a form can be analyzed and built up through an iterative process of sketching, modeling and using computer tools for analyzing etc.
Final render for the Curve kitchen tool (mixer and blender in one
Exploring and experiencing existing blenders and mixers
Some benchmarking for mixers
Sketches for the Curve kitchen tool
Form exploration for the curve
Making the final shape for the Curve
Final result: a multi-functional base shape for a blender and mixer
Working with Photoshop to create renderings for material explorations
Form development for the saw handle study
RSDL: Urban Rituals
This workshop was done in collaboration with students from social and media design of the LUCA academy in Brussels. During one week we observed and defined an opportunity to design a free bread service in the multi-cultural district the "Brabantswijk". There are plans to realize this concept with me as one of the designers.
The bread deposit experiment: a mock-up prototype
A restaurant owner giving free bread.
Determining places for the bread deposit based on the locations of small restaurants and grocery stores
Explaining our ideas to an owner of a restaurant: another interested participant in our idea!
RSDL: Design to Impact
During workshop organized by "het theehuis" we researched ongoing frictions at the Saturday Woenselse market through field work methods and designed a service for a better collaboration between merchants and stores around the market
Running into the market master during: useful insider observations!
Outsider observations: understanding the market experience of visitors
Post it's, overview and many discussions!
Our self defined challenge through observations & interviews
The final presentation
An interactive presentation where our audience got to experience the concept
RSDL: logo design
The design of a logo for the law firm of a friend of mine has been my first experience with professional graphic design. My client wanted an eagle that embodied trust as well as power.
Business card: front and back
Printing paper detail
Inspiration for the logo
Since the beginning of this academic year I have the cool but responsible task of being the Chief Editor of the UNiD Magazine. Next to writing editorials, keeping track of our work I also interview people for the biweekly "Whats in your bag" issue.
The UNiD: inspiring and spicy articles, combined with a good amount of fun!
Photo by chief Media (Stef Arends) for the popular "WIYB"
A collaboration with van Moll (beer brewery) for the release
An interview I did with country manager of RS (The company Lucid has a collaboration with for our electronic components)
Since the beginning of this semester I am the student mentor of the B2-exchange, pre-master and new master students at our faculty. Through 5 periodic meetings I guided them and offered important insights about our educational model.
future plans: taking a gap semester!
After non stop studying for four years I feel that I need some time off this faculty to find out in which specific direction I want to graduate. This semester I have been able to put my vision, identity and design domains in perspective and I am positive these insights will help me in this. Depending on the opportunities I will face upcoming semester I will decide whether this gap will be extended to one year.
The workshop Urban Rituals introduced me the domain of Cultural Anthropology. I became aware of the fact that my design skills will benefit from a more theoretical understanding of cultures and human values. I have subscribed for two courses at the University of Utrecht about the basics of cultural anthropology. Through these I want to learn more about values in cultures and learn how they cultures are connected and influenced by each other. I want to gain insight in the influence of cultures in societies and how this can create problems but also opportunities.
Besides this I want to work on some personal projects that have been lying on the shelf for quite some time now, of which one is about tea glasses. The idea for this was triggered during my internship in Istanbul as I was inspired by the tradition around making and giving tea. I plan on restarting the process as my approach has changed greatly. Through this project I want to become more skilled at designing, challenge myself to design the best function and form relations and learn ways to migrate rituals into another culture.
Other plans include making a new portfolio, visiting many network/design events and find an company with whom I want to graduate. Another cool possibility is the realization of the concept designed during the Urban Rituals module, which will be clarified in December.
Whatever the case, I want to continue doing things I love and set the goal of finding a challenging graduation direction I am passionate about.
"make sure to decide on doing the things that are good for your future. Challenges that you would love to do. Not because they are challenging, but because you love to do them"
- m1.2 coach