Dianne van der Hoeven maps her inspirations to her work in Symbiotic Hues
How do you collect and archive your design inspirations? The Rotterdam-based designer wanted to create a tactile way to interact with her references as a way to reflect on her design process.
- Alif Ibrahim
- 5 December 2019
As design trends bleed into each other, you often don’t notice how what you see in passing affects you subconsciously. For Dianne van der Hoeven, she decided to collect her inspiration and her work so far into a publication that structures these relationships under the concepts of intuition and reflection. By organising both her work and her inspirations under these categories, she creates a chance to reflect on her work so far.
Currently attending Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, Dianne was born and raised in The Hague. Although her creative journey started out with drawing – mostly lifelike charcoal portraits – the possibility of integrating research and experimentation through graphic design inspired her to pursue the discipline. “I especially enjoyed how students used graphic design to convey a message and how they were not afraid to experiment,” Dianne tells It’s Nice That. “What helped me dive deeper the most was my rejection from the graphic design department the first time, which got me even more motivated to improve and learn more about the field. The second time I applied I knew what I wanted and luckily got in!”
Taking a step back from creating to understand her influences gave her the space to reflect on her design process. Being a self-proclaimed digital hoarder, the material was already there for her and the question was how to organise and map the relationship between what she’s created and what’s inspired her.
The result is Symbiotic Hues, a publication printed on black paper that’s divided into three colour categories – red representing intuition, heat and technique, blue representing reflection, distance and technology, and a red-blue gradient where this dichotomy is blurred. In the publication, her own work is presented in colour while the inspirations are coded in monochrome red or blue.
“I believe that everything you do, the people you meet and the books you read will influence you as a person and in turn as a designer,” Dianne says of seeing her inspirations being reflected in her work. “I became more aware and mindful of my own design process. The book presents a mix of visual and theoretical influences, including frequent references to Jean Baudrillard’s 1981 treatise Simulacra and Simulation.
“Baudrillard uses the idea of loss of heat within hyperreality as a metaphor for intensity, enjoyment and emotional investment, to be apathetic. On the other hand, he talked about ‘heat’ as a commitment to labour, which I interpreted in my case as craft and intuition,” Dianne says. “Through organising my work and designing the publication, I discovered that it’s nice to make your design process tangible. It’s very different to hold references in your hands rather than scrolling through endless Instagram posts.”
After completing this small project, Dianne is soon starting an internship with Milk & Cookies agency in Brussels. She says: “I’m really excited to move to another city for a while and see how a new working environment will influence me and my work.”