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Values in Design

Lenny van Onselen

Income or going for your values?

Today, I met a junior designer with a freelance business. One of the frustrations he had experienced, was about what is a fair price? He was asked by a friend of a friend to do a job. She thought his rate was high and had expected to give some discount for work he did. Sadly, it is a typical confrontation freelance designers experience. Long time ago, I have myself also been struggling with balancing free or low priced jobs and getting enough income to support myself.

It is unfair choice to ask junior designers to deliver things for free or under market value. Yes they are passionate about their job, and yes they need experience. But how on earth is it fair to expect from them to put a lot of time for free into something you cannot do yourself? They will create something with high talent and quality of deliverables, so you will get in more clients. It is not a direct one-on-one pay back for you, but I am sure it has effect! You want it right?

Ok, so far my preaching, as many of you who read this are probably designers. You know all this? You have probably experienced it, right? What was your strategy? How did you deal with it? Please share your story 🙂

For future projects, you could use this chart to find your answer. A tip from the designer I talked with today.

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The ‘afterlife’

Yesterday, my prof asked me what my ambitions are. I have been thinking about what to do after my PhD, but it seemed still so far away. I realized however, I might be finished in 1,5 years. You never know what happens along the way, but ideally, I should be finished somewhere beginning 2019.

It had been such a journey to obtain a PhD position. Continue reading “The ‘afterlife’”

Designer Identity

Today, I participated in an (semi-)international seminar for Industrial Design Engineering programs of University of Applied Sciences. I joined a session on Identity Education. We shared how identity education played a role in our programs and what questions we had that we wanted to tackle in this session. As an answer to these questions, we created a vision on how identity support could be for 2025. We envisioned a student who steered in a cabriolet through an ever-changing landscape full of challenges.

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Remarkable for me, was Continue reading “Designer Identity”

Vacation time

One of the treats of academia are the long vacations.

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Especially in the summer. In the Netherlands, we generally have 5 weeks without any teaching obligations or related tasks. I usually make some resolutions for these vacations:

visit friends & family, travel, relax at the beach, read good books, write blogposts, spend extra time on my PhD, do more workouts, make some delicious healthy meals, prep barbecue parties, do some house renovations, etc. This year another thing was added to the list. Spend time with my little boy. While I am writing it down here, I notice the large to-do-list I have created for myself to do in the summer vacation.

Usually reality hits me.

Continue reading “Vacation time”

Learning loop

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I have these little epiphanies. Last week, I had a major one. I could say, I completed a learning loop. Kolb (an educational theorist) developed the experiential learning model composed of four elements: concrete experience, observation & reflection, formation of abstract concepts, and testing new concepts. According to his theory you have a preferred learning style, but you generally go through all four stages. So, what happend with me?

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Continue reading “Learning loop”

Should I continue my PhD?

I believe almost any PhD student at least once asks her/himself this question. I did to. Two times actually. It always came down to a yes in my case. I remember reading  blogposts and had conversations with my friend. I asked this question and two questions followed:

  • Why did you start your PhD?
  • Why would you want to quit?

If the answer to the first is “for myself”. The answer to the main question is Continue reading “Should I continue my PhD?”

Being creative versus earning a living

Making a living from your craft is a challenge. You are no longer focussing on your craft solely. Being creative and contributing to a better world are opposing values to earning a living and building a public image, values you need to pursue as (senior) employee or entrepreneur. Jacob Waites recommends to shut down the computer and keep making stuff by hand. Underlining this story is a typical value conflict experienced by many designers. Read the full blog here.

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The little epiphanies

Why do I research? Why go through so much effort and long, long days of pondering, going through my data, writing small bits of a paper? It is these little epiphanies you experience after a day of hard work. The insight you gained. The proof you found. The piece you were able to write.

Epiphanies, may be small, are the things that make you tick. I find them in my research. I make sure to have at least one per day. How? Continue reading “The little epiphanies”

The Anecdote

This how it all started a long time a go, when my PhD was just a seed.

As junior I worked as freelance consultant. One value I hold dear, is sustainability. Working on free projects, I could pursue this value. However, to get food on the table, I had to accept projects that had nothing to do with sustainability. After a discussion with a client about considering sustainability in the project or not, I became frustrated. I realized later, I was dealing with two opposing values. I lacked tools to effectively deal with this value difference and as a result I quit my freelance business.

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