Design Research

Mass customization through additive manufacturing

My doctoral research investigates the changing role of the consumer and designer in a post-industrial society. The aim of my research is to gain understanding how layman-design might take shape and to propose methods and tools for industrial designers that enable them to design adaptable products. Involving the consumer in the design of everyday products will challenge the role of the professional designer. Mass customization allows consumers to have individual products that meet their needs and desires which are produced with mass production efficiency. Toolkits have a central role in customization by connecting the professional designer and consumer. In this way, the value of products is created by both designer as well as consumer who plays an active role in the design process. 3D printing opens up new opportunities for creating one-off products in an industrial way whereas computational design enable designers to create adaptability. I am investigating how these technologies can be used by industrial designers to design and develop everyday consumer products.

The main research areas that come together in my work: layman in design, morphosis and 3D printing.




Investigating the Unexplored Possibilities of Digital-Physical Toolkits in Lay Design, International Journal of Design, Vol.8 No.2, pp.15-28, 30 August 2014

Investigating the Changing Relation Between Consumer and Designer in Post-Industrial Design, co-author Anna Valtonen, Design Research Society 2014, 16-19 June 2014, Umeå, Sweden

WordPress of Objects: Addressing Layman Participation in a Post-Industrial Society, PerFab: Workshop on Personal and Pervasive Fabrication, UbiComp '13, 9 September 2013, Zurich, Switzerland

Identifying User-as-Designer Behaviors When Designing Through Toolkits, Crafting the Future 10th European Academy of Design Conference, 17-19 April 2013, Gothenburg, Sweden

A Model for Evaluating the Solution Space of Mass Customization Toolkits, International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2012, pp. 205-214

A Model for Evaluating Mass Customization Toolkits, 5th International Conference on Mass Customization & Personalization in Central Europe, 19-21 September 2012, Novi Sad, Serbia

Exploring Parametric Design: Consumer Customization of an Everyday Object, co-author Erik Stolterman, Design Research Society 2012, 1-4 July 2012, Bangkok, Thailand

A Comparison of Mass Customization Toolkits for Consumer Products Produced by Rapid Manufacturing, MCPC2011, 18-19 November 2011, San Francisco, USA


Presentations & Workshops

Interview for faculty web How 3D printing changes the role of the designer and consumer, TekNat Faculty, Umea University, January 2014

Presentation at 3D Printing Event, Dutch Design Week, 23 October 2013, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Workshop 'Alligators and Algorithms: How Nature and Computation Come Together', Exploring the future of product design by combining biomimicry, computational design and 3D printing, co-host Ernst-Jan Mul, Philips Design, 29 August 2013, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Presentation 'Layman-design through additive manufacturing', Philips Design, 22 August 2013, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Exhibition What if... 'Products As Creative Experiences', 19 May - 6 June 2012, Bildmuseet, Umea, Sweden

Presentation 'Is the future plastic?', 3D Printing Event, Dutch Design Week, 25 October 2011, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Presentation 'Mass Customization through Additive Manufacturing', Open and User Innovation Workshop, 4-6 July 2011, WU Vienna University of - Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

Poster presentation PhD project, 18 May 2011, CUMULUS / DRS Symposium, Paris, France

Presentation 'Smart Safety Device', CHI Nederland The Web & Beyond 2010, 1 June 2010, Amsterdam, The Netherlands



Hej! I am an industrial designer and design researcher, currently pursuing a PhD in industrial design focusing on mass customization through additive manufacturing in the Design Research Group at Umea Institute of Design in Sweden. My research is supported by the Swedish doctoral school Designfakulteten. I also teach design students in the design process and in creative methods for both product and service design projects. This website gives a brief overview of my research interest and work; I also have a blog where I collect traits of post-industrial product design. Furthermore, I'm setting up FabLab Umeå, an open space where anyone can learn how to use digital fabrication technologies.

You can get in touch with me by mail guido.hermans [@] gmail [dot] com, skype or connect with me on LinkedIn.