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How would you define the role of designers nowadays?

Marc Fonteijn


Our role as designers has changed compared to 10 or 15 years ago, we are not the experts, the user is the expert. The people that went to a bakery store 100 years ago, they were the experts, they knew what they wanted and they could tell that to the local bakery. It is still the same, except for what has happened is that organizations are now unreachable and they can do whatever they want. So we are pulling the user back to the expert position. We are facilitating and giving them the tools to make them heard and get the important insights out of them.

Federico Casalegno

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Designers today and in the near future will just assume that an interaction with something tangible has also potential connectivity. Embedded electronics into objects is just a reality. Designers have to learn to use this new material: connectivity. Whether to use connectivity into objects or not is just a choice or a design direction to decide. But they should be very careful and very critical towards their decisions by understanding the human dimensions.

Frido Smulders

Delft University of Technology

The world is changing for the designer. Particularly industrial designers were commonly associated with products and giving shape to things, which is already for quite a while not the case. However our faculty is still pretty much aimed at form and tangible, even though we are already designing systems and intangibles, but we may not call it like that. We might call it β€œall the other things happening around a product.” We will still need to design chairs, tables and pencils, but for some designers Meta Products will be more relevant. For them, collaborative effort will be very important, because the user experience in that case will result from the whole system or network, and not from isolated products.

Harald Dunnink


Designers have to use their talent of empathy: placing yourself in the situation of the consumer; particularly within interactive design. There are ways to become better at it, and that's by talking to people and always trying to find their perspective. Within our team we try to do it, and talk a lot and we try to see things from the technical side or from the client's side. There are ways to open it up. You have to observe and be interested in what's happening around. To me every other perspective than my own is the best inspiration there is.

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