Where I'm @
Graphic Design

Researcher / Designer

Sharon Vos
Tue 4 Jul
Function Graphic designer, researcher
Year 2016
Major Graphic Design
Practice Commercial Practices

What is your occupation now?

After graduating, I participated in a five-months practical training programme for social entrepreneurship and bottom-up urban development: Starters4Communities. When I have started, I've had no idea what this was going to bring me. I learned a lot about social initiatives and crowdfunding, but most importantly, I expanded my network. One of the fellow starters worked at a design studio at the time, the one I was very enthusiastic about. She decided to go study abroad, which opened a door for me: since March 2017 I have joined Het Proces team, the studio for research and design with a focus on experience design and socially engaged methods.


What expertise did you gain at WdKA?

During the third year, I developed a particular interest in human behaviour. Thanks to a minor in the Social Practices, and my internship at M.V., I have developed the mindset and skills that put me in the right direction for my graduation. I felt motivated to integrate a social issue into the commercial practice (Service Design). I graduated with a project De Mantelkar, focusing on informal health care. What WdKA has taught me is to find my vision and drive through all the different approaches and perspectives on projects, and that the best work comes from staying true to this.

What is the future of your profession in your opinion?

During my final assessments, I was asked what was the difference between me as a designer and a ‘social worker’. In my opinion, this question had an obvious answer. As designers, we develop a certain attitude; a way of (re-)framing things. So, instead of working by a set of rules, we try to work our way around them. And, instead of seeing obstacles on the way, we tend to challenge them because we rather think in possibilities than problems. Our eye is trained to recognise complex issues, research them and come up with solutions. I believe that in future our role as social/service designers will be to lead other people into creative thinking and to support and guide them in doing this. We can provide them with the information and tools to become more self-reliant. Not only organisations, people in general as well. Personally, I find it important to work on meaningful projects that trigger a social change or stimulate specific behaviour. In future, it will become less about the designer and more about the people.

You never leave your house without…?

…having had a good breakfast, coffee and a couple of minutes for myself. I need to start every day calm and slow. I need to process my thoughts in order to feel less distracted during the day. It helps me to focus more on work.

Any words of advice to future students?

A friend and I wanted to make a book. To collect content we organised a workshop and developed a toolkit. In doing so I learned that while it is great to have an idea of what something should be in advance, it is even better and way more fun to trust the process. If you are open to new things, you’ll end up surprising yourself. Don’t just sit around and wait for inspiration to come, but dive in, research, talk to people, collect, prototype, until you feel satisfied and proud. If you feel it, you’re probably (almost) there.

Don’t just sit around and wait for inspiration to come

Name your favourite recent project.

That would be Walls of Connection, which I’m working on at Het Proces. Together with students from the Albeda College in Rotterdam, we worked on a graphic design for Walls of Connection. The project was initiated by peace organisation Masterpeace. Their goal is to connect young people in over more than 40 countries by painting walls together. During the design process, students told us how they often feel trapped in the strictly-defined societal expectation patterns. By visualising this negative association in a colourful dynamic graphic design, the wall became a conversation piece. The design is abstract and invites people to discuss their personal vision on the wall. They get to know each other better, which leads to mutual understanding. The design serves as inspiration for designers and young people who will be painting walls all over the world.

Curious about the projects Sharon is working on right now? Visit her website and Het Proces studio site.