An Atlas of Eyes

Eyes are important to most makers. One big miss is that I didn’t get the chance to portray somebody who is blind. They would have been a very interesting addition to this chapter. But even without blind people some conclusions can be drawn.

Seeing your work

Of course, all the people I spoke to use their eyes to look at the things they make. Irene loves the sight of mixing paint. Diek constantly judges his work on proportion, colour, texture. Joost looks not just at how his code looks, but also at the resulting interfaces. To him the end result is equally, if not more important. And Maarten has to make sure that the things he creates are stunning.


Of course people who make things also use their eyes to get inspired. Harold, a musician finds his inspiration in literature and works art. Kiki looks at how others make things to get better at making stuff. And Titus likes to surround himself with beautiful things.


Eyes are necessary for communication. You can only notice that Arnold smiles by looking at his eyes: his mouth is hidden behind his beard. But for others seeing is much more important than just smiles. Marie’s eyesight is much more sensitive: it needs to take over the role of her ears. Where we hear what’s going on around us, she sees it. She also needs her eyes to see what others are saying, either by reading their lips, or by looking at their sign language. Robert Jan is learning sign language as well.


For people who design things for people it’s important to not just listen to what they say, but to always observe what they’re actually doing. Willemijn doesn’t trust what people say, she’s a close observer. Just like Marrije who found out that being hard of hearing helps her at observing the tiniest details. Joke doesn’t use her eyes to observe behaviour but to find patterns. She has all these collections of similar things she finds.

Conclusions and questions


Eyes are important for people who make things. Not a very shocking conclusion. Even for people who do not make visual things they are still important for inspiration. They are extremely important for communication, and really useful when observing people or patterns.