I’m a digital designer with about 15 years of experience crafting web products for organizations and professionals in the Netherlands and abroad. Approaching design as a strategic effort, my responsibilities are usually quite broad, and often include exploratory and evaluative user and product research, holistic design, setting up design systems, and setting up DesignOps and ResearchOps.
Where I’ve been
- Leeruniek (2020 - now): scale-up in education technology
- Airtrade (2015 - 2020): industry leader in travel technology
- Studio Zinzy (2008 - 2015): a wee one-person place of business
I grew up a teenager of the Internet, getting my first computer at 10, and teaching myself how to make webpages at 11. Expressing myself in rectangular digital format, and making friends while doing so, has been a natural activity for me since then.
Studio Zinzy was born out of convenience: it existed already in the photography and design gigs I had been doing late in high school, just without the name and paper work. It also proved a solid way to support myself through college, where I first dabbled in psychology, and then focused on literature and theology.
People sometimes jokingly ask me how my fields of study apply to my work as a designer, assuming they aren’t connected at all. To me, and I see this in my peers often, attending university was much more about amplifying my (visual) literacy, conducting good research, and thinking critically than anything else.
I actually believe that literature and theology have been great contributors to how I do my work today. UX is as much about text as it isn’t. Having a critical eye for detail in writing UX copy has had a proven positive impact on the users of products I’ve made. Furthermore, my focus on design as a vehicle for inclusivity could not exist without the things I’ve learnt about narratology, epistemology, intersectionality, and decolonizing Christianity.
After 15 years, I feel comfortable calling myself a designer, getting paid as one, and mentoring others who want to be (better at being) one. As with most people, this wasn’t always the case. I’ve certainly been one to underestimate my capabilities, to let other people define what I can call myself, and to be made feel small by people with a specialisation in the field in which I now work.
Today, I see there’s value in having diversity in design, and as a true generalist, I know what I am good at, what I want to learn, and what I like to leave to others. I got to this mindset by finding an environment that is kind, supportive, and curious.