What you will study
The module is presented in five blocks. Each block focuses on a different phase in the development of a designed product. The first three blocks will give you the skills and tools that are necessary for the research, planning and development of a design project by looking at various products such as chairs, bicycles, mobile phones, kitchen gadgets, buildings and many others. The last two blocks will give you the skills and tools to translate your design ideas into well-specified products by focusing on the configuration, form, material and manufacturing processes.
Block 1 – Exploring designs and designing
The first block sets the scene of the whole module. It looks at the relation between people and products and discusses the human, cultural and engineering factors that influence the creation of designs. Block 1 will help you develop critical and inquisitive thinking skills when you observe designs around you.
Block 2 – Designing for people
In this block you’ll focus on designing for people and the research carried out in the early stages of the design process. You will learn how to find out about people’s needs, preferences and behaviours in order to specify new products. Block 2 will help you develop user research and planning skills.
Block 3 – Creative designing
The third block focuses on the creative strategies that designers employ in order to address design problems – particularly strategies for idea generation in the early concept design phases. It also teaches some of the core theories of creativity. Block 3 will help you develop your creative thinking skills.
Block 4 – Embodying designs
This looks at the configuration and form of designs aiming to teach you how to turn design concepts into a well-defined design description (layout design). Block 4 will help you develop your visual and spatial thinking skills.
Block 5 – Design for making
The final block looks at material and manufacturing processes and how design ideas are developed into detailed designs for manufacturing. It will help you to bring together the skills you have developed throughout the module.
All five blocks will contribute in the development of your ability to think and communicate ideas through modelling and drawings.
You will spend time working both online and offline. The core materials for the module are printed books supported by online multimedia resources and practical design activities (offline and online). You will use SketchUp to develop your computer-aided design skills. Central to the module is an online virtual design studio, where you will upload images of your practical work to discuss online with other students and your tutor.
You will learn
At the end of this module you will be able to:
- understand why designs take the forms that they do
- create and develop design ideas through drawing and modelling
- carry out user research and apply creative strategies for generating design ideas
- turn ideas into detailed designs for manufacturing by specifying the form and materials of designs.
The knowledge and skills developed in this module are applicable in various roles within creative industries, product design, engineering and architecture.
The module will help you gain knowledge and skills that are applicable across many design fields, including product design, engineering, architecture and other creative industries. It can help you creatively engage with any situation that requires the identification and exploration of problems, the research and development of ideas as well as the translation of ideas and concepts into designs. The module also develops a broad understanding and appreciation of design and design processes applicable in education, business and other domains related to arts and technology as well as to design.
The knowledge and skills learned in this module can be used in various roles in these different fields. They can be used to lead or facilitate research and creative thinking within teams, businesses and organisations and they may also be used as part of your development as a designer.
The module can also help you when you are considering studying design elsewhere by providing a good background on and experience of the essential skills and knowledge of designers.