Meet The Team: Mandy van der Heijden
Mandy van der Heijden might be new here, but we’ve worked together before. Coming to us by way of our clients at Dorel Juvenile, our newest CMF designer brings us stellar mobility design experience backed by a Man & Mobility degree from the Design Academy of Eindhoven.
“What I’ve always liked so much about mobility design was how broad it was. It’s much more dynamic than people think,” Mandy explained. “And because these are such user-focused products, you really have to think about all the aspects of how consumers will use and interact with your design. Taking these ideas and testing them, then adjusting for the customer, is one of my favorite parts of the job.”
With the better part of a decade of experience under her belt, Mandy is joining MODYN with a lot of excitement for the work ahead — from the opportunity to work on bikes and automobiles to flexing her expertise in car seats and strollers. We sat down with her to talk about her career in mobility design, why MODYN felt like the right fit and what she predicts for the future of mobility.
We know you’re still settling in. But, tell us what it’s like day-to-day here.
“Well, I’m already doing market research and trend research for one client. From there, we’re going to do some sketching and discuss with the client. Later on, we’ll jump into CMF and that’s where the colors and materials come into play, too.”
What is your favorite part of the design process?
“Besides the testing phases, I really love working with soft goods — so researching and discovering what materials would be best for a product. But more than that, it’s also about how can we make sure that the looks of this product and material will stand out from the crowd. I love the challenge of making sure this product will be the one that everyone wants to buy. I actually didn’t expect to work on a project and jump into the process this soon, so in a sense, I feel very welcome here at MODYN already. It feels great to already be contributing.”
How do you feel about the team and working at MODYN so far?
“It’s a really close team and everyone is working together as a team, too. They are all open to each other’s suggestions and I really feel like everyone brings their own expertise to the table. There’s this nice sense that everyone has their own part in a project, and it feels great to come in and bring my own expertise and join this team.”
What was it about MODYN that made you want to work here?
“Back when they were Vanderveer Designers and I was an intern at Dorel, a colleague and I had visited the offices for meetings about some of the projects they were working on. So, I had a sense of how they worked. But this time around when I visited, I immediately had this feeling of home. I know that’s a big word. But, it’s really how I felt. I not only had a connection with Gert-Jan and Rik, but MODYN felt like a place where everyone could be themselves and do what they’re meant to do.”
What are you obsessed with in mobility design right now?
“The bigger trend of how the world and cities are evolving. I think it’s really interesting to see how cities are transforming — I see a future where you can hop from a train to an electric, driverless bus or taxi then home on a bike. I think people’s day-to-day lives are going to have more mobility touchpoints, and these products are all going to speak for themselves.”
Does that future seem far off, or closer than we think?
“I feel like it’s closer, because I think things are evolving really fast right now. Something we thought would be really futuristic ten years ago is already happening. So, it’s definitely going faster than we think. Design-wise, companies are already thinking about how we’ll live a decade from now.”
So is there a dream mobility product you’d love to work on?
“That’s a hard question! I’d love to work on a concept car. CMF and soft goods are actually a really big part of the car, but years ago, didn’t really get as much consideration in the design. But today cars are going driverless, and instead of focusing on getting from A to B, you’re going to be interacting with the interior of a car in a new way. It’s a different way of using the space, and I think that the CMF part of the design will be a much bigger part of the design than it is now.”
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
“I have two small children — one is a year and a half, the other is three. So I love going on walks with them and my partner. We really love to go into nature and see how they explore the world. We also like to go camping every year. And of course, seeing friends and having endless evenings with them!
Yes, especially this time of year.
Be sure to connect with Mandy on LinkedIn.