Portfolio Sarah de Graaf 2020

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Sarah de Graaf

Hello! I have a passion for ideation resulting in products, services and corporate innovation. In this portfolio I will take you through the years that shaped me to who I am in 2020. I’ll run you through my years studying industrial design at the University of Antwerp and the professional direction I grew in.


In my free time.. I love cooking and trying new recipes because it makes me feel mindful. On the days I feel productive, I learn about entrepreneurship through books and the internet. I’m lucky enough to have entrepreneurial people around me that ask me to design social media posts every now and then so I can keep on upping my graphic skills. I play tennis 2 times a week and try to fill the rest of my week with bouldering and fitness. When I feel like winding down, I tend to listen to music, play games and have some drinks with friends or family.

I’m trained to.. RESEARCH



In the research phase, I thoroughly analyze the stakeholders, market and technology. In this phase, I aim to sketch the most complete picture of the ecosystem through interviews, online research, ecosystem mapping, etc.

After sketching the framework, it’s time to get creative. In the ideation phase, workshops and brainstorms lead to a first creative exploration of new opportunities. These opportunities can be products, services and businesses.

In the concept-phase, the scope gets narrowed down to an interesting playing field. The first batch of concepts rises out of creative excercises. These concepts are a great discussion starter between stakeholders.




A concept means nothing if it doens’t get validated in some sort of way. By making prototypes like 3D prints, landing pages, application mockups, etc., we can present a first piece of reality to our stakeholders to validate.

Once the preferred concept(s) is/are chosen, we can move on to the system-phase. In this stage, we create the whole picture and not just the first impression. For products this can mean screws, materials, production techniques. For services we’re talking setting up partnerships, hiring a team, etc.

As stated in the prototype phase, validation is essential for a design process, whether it’s a product, a service or a new venture. Stakeholders will be included in the design process in every step, this can win us a lot of time and unnessesary effort.


The OXO camera and projector are designed for real bon vivants. Because of the compact form, the user can easily capture those precious moments that often have a volatile nature. The projector is based on a cryptex system that makes rewatching photographs an adventure on itself. These products are designed to explore the world of user centered design and the different aspects of psychology that come with the use of a product.

Learned Skills User centered design Rendering (Solidworks) Branding

SPEED CAMERA Everyday portable speed cameras are very labor-intensive to install. During the installation, a worker has to adjust the cameras and flash so that they work together. This job has to be done quickly because these cameras are meant for direct use. Since they are portable, they also need to be as vandalism-proof as possible. Together with Merlin Bauwens and Arwen Raes, I have designed an ergonomic speed camera which can be placed by a pallet crane. The worker who utilizes the computer to adjust everything is protected from bad weather and has every component in reach. The computer, keyboard, fuel cells and other components are mounted to a frame so they stay in place during transport. The battery replacement can easily be done by a forklift.

Learned Skills Technology Ergonomics Mechanics

There’s a wide variety of doughs that can’t be rolled with a rolling pin so bakers have to push them down in the baking mold by hand. This way of filling baking molds takes up a lot of time. With the ‘doughtool’, bakers are able to work more efficiently without losing the craftmanship and mindfulness of baking. The simplicity makes that the tool is a perfect fit for small artisanal bakeries and the hobby baker at home. The tool is designed in a way that when the user wants to put it away, the dough-area of the tool won’t touch the dirty table surface. To get the dough baking-ready, the user slightly swings the dough flat. This movement doesn’t require any pressure, making the product accessible for people with poor motoric skills. One the dough is flattened, the user uses the ribbed surface to lift the dough from thje bottom on the edges of the baking mold.

Learned Skills Concept to system design Ergonomics Branding



Geleerde capaciteiten

Existing trash cans do their job but lack some sympathy. How do you keep people with physical issues motivated to throw their trash away? The ‘STEP’ trash can is designed to include everyone. People high to the ground can easily put their foot on the lower part to lift the entrance without having to hurt their back. The trash can is designed so that people lower to the ground like children or elderly remain above the product so the entrance is easily accessible.

The ‘RELAX’ bench is designed to combine generations by controverse. By placing a modern object in an evironment that carries a lot of historical bagage, we engage people to combine both wolds. Whilst most older generations are attracted to things that remind them of their childhood, newer generations explore a world of modernity. The mixture of a modern bench in a historical area raises interest and stimulates generations to interact. The supporting structures can be changed into trash cans if preferred, making it a modular product.

Nowadays, bike racks across the city contain only one function: storing bikes. With the ‘TRAVELLER’ bike rack, we try to look further than the main goal by combining bike storage with a social environment. Along with the added bench function, we tried to support social behaviour by placing the bike recesses across eachother. In this way, people have to look at each other whilst storing their bikes. Same as the bench, the supporting structures can be changed into trash cans if preferred.

The ‘SUPPORT’ base is designed to serve as a supporting structure for both the bench and bike rack. The products are designed to be used in public environments. Since we’ve added the option to change the standard base into trash cans, different modular systems can be chosen. This modularity of the product line makes it personalizable, which is a very powerful concept in modern marketing. The products will be made out of Sheet Moulding Compound.

The sparrow bird is seen less and less throughout Belgium. This is because humans lose connection with the birds and don’t provide as much nesting and food supplies as they used to. Sparrow (the product), designed by Merlin Bauwens, Sarah Goossens and myself, brings the life of the house sparrow inside the home of the user, making the bird part of the family. The product changes with the steps that the actual birds around the house go through during different seasons. Next to the actual product, an application is included to strengthen the connection between the birds and household even more. The app can notify the users that an egg is hatching so they can watch the hatching in real time through their phone.

Learned Skills UX/UI design User interaction Prototyping

Throughout the years of education, students often have innovative ideas with growth potential. However, only a little amount of students actually do something with these ideas and most of them end up in a box in an attic after handing them in. District is an integrated product system designed by Alexandra Vermeir, Merlin Bauwens and myself that guides students with an entrepreneurial mindset in a gamified way through the aspects necessary to launch a startup. During this process, District offers the hand of existing instances like Take Off Antwerp to help students create an actual business based on their idea. This happens in a riskfree and low threshold way with the use of a personal interactive pawn and a corresponding application.

Learned Skills UX/UI design Prototyping Stakeholder interviews

For my master’s thesis at the University of Antwerp (2019-2020), I designed Geon, an altitude adaptation mask for endurance athletes and people at heights like mountaineers, tourists and pilots. Current altitude simulation products have a high threshold because of their size, poor user interaction and high price point. Next to this, they are mainly designed to be worn during training, which has an impact on the workout quality. Geon lowers the threshold for altitude training and is completely designed for the live high train low method. This method is optimal to increase the red bloodcel production, resulting in an increased sportperformance of 3-8%. Live high train low means that the user wears the mask during rest and sleep and not during training. To guide the user through his altitude training sessions for about 3-4 weeks, the Geon application was designed.



During my internship at Bundl, I was able to apply my years of experience as a strategic product developer in practice. Bundl is convinced that companies are able to disrupt the corporate industry, so they help them to conquer the market in the most tactful way. During my internship I learned a lot about internal marketing. This meant that I was involved with the CRM activities as well as copy, visuals, and so on. In addition to marketing, I assisted Venture Builders in a few tracks. Among other things, we did intensive market research, value propositions were submitted and a business model was drawn up. As a product developer with a focus on strategic and interaction design, this internship taught me a lot about the building blocks that are necessary to launch and accelerate a company in the best way possible.


After finishing my internship at Bundl, we made an agreement that I would start working with them under a student contract as an innovation analyst. During this time I was plugged in on different tracks with different clients. The switch between different projects made me adapt very quickly to Bundl’s way of working.

Some of the clients Bundl works with


Together with my partner, Nathalie Hoefnagels, I saw a need in the market for Korean albums and merch in the Benelux. If you individually order a few albums from Korea, the custom fee is very large. Because of this, we decided to create Kokoshop, a group for group orders so the custom fees can be split. Since may 2019, our Facebook group members, who order with us, rose from 0 to 346. We now have approximately 4 group orders each month, with around 50 albums for each order. We do not make any money out of this but enjoy unboxing the albums and seeing our members and social media grow. Kokoshop was a great market validation for a possible real business, so we might actually create one out of it.

Other work experience


Interested to work with me?

JUL 13’ - AUG 16’

www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-de-graaf34b717139 sarahdegraaf_@hotmail.com


+32 498746680 Based in Antwerp but don’t mind a drive


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