Demmy Onink, Product Designer. Living and working in Amsterdam. Married to Hester Van De Belt and father of Zora, Max and Otis.

Accidental hipster

I live and work in Amsterdam Oud-West. In the same square mile, where I was born and raised. I’ve seen this area change from an outworn neighbourhood everyone tried to flee, to a popular place everyone wants to live. A place where vegan beards with yoga mats, replaced the anarchists and small-time crooks. I don’t resist it anymore. I wear a flat cap, drink oat milk latte and work in tech. I am an accidental hipster with the appearance of a retired hooligan, so is this neighbourhood.

Product design

I have worked as a Web Designer, UX designer, UI designer, and Behaviour Designer. Each title expresses a different view on the role of design within the development of a product. Today I combine all of these roles to improve products in each stage of development, taking into account both customer’s goals and business goals. I interview customers to learn about their goals and barriers. I come up with possible solutions by hosting workshops and brainstorms. And then I return to the customer with a realistic prototype to learn if these solutions actually work.

Behaviour design

Focusing on customers’ behaviour not only helps me design products that actually make people’s life easier. It also makes my work as a designer way more interesting. No matter the product, exploring what drives human behaviour, always fascinates. The first time I came across this approach was while working as a digital designer at SUE Behavioural Design. SUE is a behavioural design agency that has developed a brilliant yet straightforward model to influence people’s choices and behaviour. After taking their Behavioural Design course, I helped SUE facilitate several design sprints for clients like T-Mobile, Humanitas, KBC bank, and ABN-AMRO.

Advertising

Having a great product doesn’t always mean people will actually use it. You have to get someone to try your new solution and leave the one he or she is comfortable with. And that’s not easy. When I started my career as a designer, I mainly worked in advertising agencies. I helped create award-winning digital campaigns for brands like Philips, Nike, Heinz, Sony, and BMW. During this time, I learned to turn complex ideas into attractive designs that are easy to understand and make people want to engage.

Wonderbread

This was a side project I did together with my wife and photographer, Hester Van De Belt. The desire to create something physical and get to meet interesting people led us to open a small art shop and gallery in the centre of Amsterdam. A place where we could still do our design and photography work but would also serve as a creative outlet to sell our favourite books, magazines, and run art-shows. Although we had a great time curating, and sharing the stuff we love, I wasn’t really prepared for life as a shop owner. A good example of something I should have prototyped first. By working for a week in a shop, for instance.

Old school

The advantage of being a child from the 80s is that I got to develop my design skills in a time where nobody had a clue about what we were doing. In a time where we assumed everything and measured nothing, we came up with pretty fun but useless features like hit counters, under construction pages, screen savers, and splash pages. I admit I have contributed quite a bit to stuff nobody needed, and nobody remembers. But I had a great time doing so.

One Hit Wonder

Seems like the accurate description of the game I created together with Marc Selhorst for our design agency 10mg. We decided not to focus on past work and experience but instead give people a glimpse into our original, somewhat disturbed minds and excellent skills. This resulted in a game where you get to kill an adorable bunny, cut open its belly, remove its guts and bring it back to life. The game became a huge hit, played by over four million people from all over the world, and gave us enough assignments to keep us busy for years after. If you have a flash player installed, you can still play it here.

Download my portfolio


Some of the products in my portfolio haven’t launched yet. That’s why I need to keep an eye on where they end up.
Please leave me your name and e-mail, and I will be glad to share with you, how I gain customer insights, how I help teams come up with ideas, how I design and build prototypes and how I validate assumptions.