Key people: Caroline Verhoeven-Poelhekke

Often I first need to show them that not everything in this sector has to be portrayed in brown, blue and green.
Photo: Guy Ackermans

They are indispensable on campus: the cleaners, caretakers, caterers, gardeners, marketing assistants – the list is long. Resource seeks out these key people. This time, meet Caroline Verhoeven-Poelhekke (55), a designer with the Field Crops business unit at WUR Lelystad.

‘In my last job, as a designer for the Wehkamp catalogue, I flew around the world with models, photographers and stylists. A big contrast with design work for the agricultural sector. When I lost my job at Wehkamp, I worked for a while as a designer for a lingerie brand. Then, 11 years ago already, I saw a temporary vacancy for a designer at WUR Lelystad, and I am still here.

I work with researchers a lot now, and that is more relaxed than the fast-moving competitiveness of the fashion world. My product is usually the final stage or promotion material of a research project. So for me as an image creator, the challenge is to present the researchers’ ideas visually. My clients often have a lot to say, but I show then that images can be more powerful than long chunks of text. Once they see that for themselves, things start moving and they help come up with creative ideas.

That is so nice. Often I first need to show them that not everything in this sector has to be portrayed in brown, blue and green. I have a lot of freedom in my work because my clients usually see me as the expert. If we succeed in producing a nice result, it showcases the researcher’s work and the public will remember their research. It is a thankful task. I find inspiration everywhere: from shops to nature. I can use my talents best when producing designs at short notice for posters, labels, logos and infographics.

I show them that images are more powerful than long chunks of text

In future I want to make more time for finding inspiration and take new courses to stay up to date. I’m usually too busy for that at the moment. Although I’m always inclined to keep on working, I have had to learn to take breaks because sitting in one position for a long time is not good for your back. That remains a challenge because once I’m caught up in the design process, staying in the flow works best for me. We intend to carry on working with Teams in future, because it makes it so easy to share designs and exchange ideas. I get very enthusiastic, working that way!’

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