Welcome to Vectorious, my design Portfolio!
My name is Katrien van Riet. I’m a designer by day, language teacher by night.
Why the name Vectorious? It’s a portmanteau of vector and victorious, which reflects my vision that design should be bold.
When I was in my early teens, I discovered the vector graphics editor CorelDRAW. This software introduced me to the idea of vectors and it allowed me to design kite templates that I could then tile and print. This new way of working had a profound impact on how I designed, and without it, I wouldn’t be the designer I am today.
I’m an enthusiastically generative designer. It doesn’t matter if the prototypes are actual physical props, pieces of code, or lesson plans. What I enjoy is the process of designing from the ground up, seeing a design come to life in front of me. My passion for design springs from the desire to see if something that exists only in my mind can be made reality. However, I don’t just create purely for the sake of it; I often stop to think about the ethical ramifications of my design (should I versus could I) because I find it important to have a positive impact on the world around me. I try to make this positive impact in both my design and teaching practice.
My versatility and broad interest is my biggest asset during design projects.
My fundamental motivation and interest means I’m almost always enthusiastic about what I’m trying to do, but it also means I’m not the best at following a top-down approach where a more theoretical design approach is used. Nevertheless, because of this intrinsic motivation, I produce a lot of work, and I’ve noticed that when I encounter a new design problem, I can usually depend on my previous experience and build on solutions I’ve come up with in the past. This makes me a swift designer with hands-on problem-solving skills.
What I enjoy is the process of designing from the ground up, seeing a design come to life in front of me.
My versatility and broad interest is my biggest asset during design projects. As a designer, I’m fascinated by the inner workings of things. My first question when encountering something new is usually: “So how does it work?” This interest in the mechanical engineering side of things helps me create working prototypes rapidly and allows me to iterate on those designs successfully. One of the downsides of this focus is that I find it harder to effectively analyse a problem space and define the problem I’m designing for. One of my goals is to develop my skills in this initial design phase. Nevertheless, my extensive experience as a language teacher enables me to communicate my ideas effectively both in speaking and writing. I continuously strive to combine the best of these two worlds. This versatility allows me to perform well in different settings as I can adapt my role to suit the needs of the team.
What attracts me to both teaching and design is being able to focus on the needs of the individual and designing concepts that can make a significant impact on someone’s life. To maximise on this interest, I want to focus on making technology humane. I’m mainly interested in designing products and concepts that improve quality of life, or that enable people to do things that they previously couldn’t. My main drive is to help people live up to their full potential.
My main drive is to help people live up to their full potential.
I believe design is a mentality instead of a product that we develop. I want to apply design thinking to my educational practice, both in how I design education materials, but also what I actually teach my students. Too often, I see technology, such as online learning environments, simply turning students into mindless machines because the technology allows for optimisation and optimises student behaviour with it. A fun course turns into a series of graded assignments that remove the human from education. Instead, we should find ways in which learning can be better online, and create solutions that honour the student as a person with hopes and desires.
I believe design is a mentality instead of a product that we develop.
This human aspect of design is what also draws me to the health domain. I want to create designs that involve users as people and respect their interests and needs. An initiative like e-NABLE, volunteers who 3D-print open-source prosthetic hands, to me is a great example of all the values that I cherish and that I look for in humane design. Although the open-source approach has many detractors, I think we should develop and support it in this age of giant tech companies. Despite the numerous challenges ahead of us, I feel the way forward is to be positive and critically enthusiastic about what technology can bring us.