Renee Scheepers

Design researcher

What is your passion?

I love to dive into the daily lives of people. To unwrap old stories and to create new ones. To observe people, talk to them and understand them. To collaborate with others and make crossovers between different disciplines. 

What is important for you?

To be able to use my work for relevant issues.

How do you Label yourself?

I would say as a design researcher, but just because I haven’t found a better ‘label’ yet. I also don’t really like to label myself, it might create false expectations.

Describe your work in one sentence without using the word ‘design’.

I dive into questions and subjects about the human being and his surrounding. Topics I worked on so far are for example, the lack of empathic communication methods between doctors and patients, the blind spot between customers and the food industry and social structures in working environments. By tilting issues and rethink existing structures I want to create awareness and improve the daily lives of people.

How do you relate to the field of well-being?

By having a humanistic approach towards design.

What is well-being for you? How does it reflect in your work?

Design is much more than creating beautiful objects. It’s an ongoing search for your value to society and how you, as a creative thinker, place yourself in that society. Designers have the quality of thinking outside of the box and picture every situation as a blank canvas, which you can fill in or ‘redesign’. Everything can be ‘designed’. From how the sheets feel till how the floor sounds. From how we structure our space till how we communicate with others. All tangible and intangible elements are key factors in creating environments in which we feel well. Adding feeling and character to emptiness is what well-being is about for me. 

Well-being is Human Centered. How to reach people and connect?

I always try to involve people from different disciplines. Philosophers, policy makers, scientists, writers, professionals and citizens can give new insights that make a project stronger. Involving knowledge institutes and organizations that are specialized in connecting designers with people in the field, like Waag Society and Baltan Laboratories for example, can be really valuable to increase your network.

What do you do for the world & what is your input?

I hope to bring people together and create situations and environments in which we feel well.

How would your work influence the future?

I like to map how we dealt with issues in the past, turn problems into opportunities and, in this way, give new perspectives for the future. This is how an ideal project develops of course. But even though it doesn’t always turns out the way I wish, the process is never a waste. Only addressing certain issues can already be valuable for the future.

How do you explain to your family what your doing?

The first thing I would say is probably that I don’t design clothes or furniture. I figured that this is the first thing people think I do. I usually say that I see myself more like a researcher and that I work on social issues. When this is still too vague I use some examples of previous projects.

To whom do you feel connected and target your work?

This is different within every project. To everybody related to the subject I would say..?

What is your way of working regarding the research you do & the strategy you have to reach your audience?

I always try budget as much time as possible for research. At first I need to understand the context and the people. I usually do this by talking to them or I literally placing myself in their situation. Next to the field research I always involve experts. I learned that I have to keep people involved during the whole process, also when I start designing. This forces me to keep on reflecting on my own decisions. All people at play have to feel the need for change themselves. When they do, they will understand the idea, use it and adapt it. It’s a labour-intensive way of working, and not every assignment allows me to, but I appreciate doing it like this. It requires empathy, from me as a person and as a designer and often leads to a more ‘successful design’. 

How do you structure your life?

Mostly I’m working from my studio at Nul Zes. But I often ‘go out in the field’ to talk to people. I need people around to discuss and talk, therefore I think working in a building together with other creatives works well for me. We lunch together everyday and use that moment to discuss our ideas.

When talking about design what do you want to be associated with.

I prefer to be associated with my way of working rather than the topics or issues I’m working on.

What kind of media are you working with? (skills & programs you use)

The regular programs I guess. Illustrator, Premiere, Photoshop. Indesign is my absolute favourite, I use it for so many things. But what I really can’t miss are my notebooks and pens, I bring them everywhere.

What type of assignment do you feel comfortable with?

Assignments that leave room for change during the process. Sometimes you discover more necessary issues along the way.


Contact info:


Leave a Reply