Product Design is the study of the whole design lifecycle – from idea to production. On this course you’ll study the functional and market-led requirements of product and furniture design, looking at ergonomics, aesthetics, usability and the application of technology.
Specific areas include visual language, branding, user-centred design, computer-aided design (CAD), 3D design and modelling, and design cultures. You’ll learn about sustainability and examine the development of socially conscious products that, through their technical specification, reduce waste and conserve energy.
You’ll study with professionally-active academic staff who are involved in commercial projects with big names such as Google USA, BAA Furniture & Interiors, and Adidas.
- This course is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers – this enables graduates to work towards membership.
- Gain professional experience with placement opportunities that have seen students work at prestigious names such as BMW, Hodges & Drake, Lewis Design Associates and Artform International. This industry experience helps graduates boost their employability by helping them to hone the design process, develop good sketching and CAD abilities, and acquire a sensitivity/passion for user experience.
- Strengthen your portfolio by entering national and international competitions. Recently students have won prizes from Seymourpowell, Whitemeadow and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
- Our successful graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of world-leading companies such as Dyson, Cambridge Consultants and Aston Martin Lagonda.
- The award-winning Vijay Patel Building provides both the space and the facilities to foster creative thinking, where ideas can develop and flourish for all our art and design course students. We offer superb workshops in wood, metal and plastics including the latest in additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping equipment.
- We provide core workshop materials at no cost, and give cash awards – £150, £200 and £300 in years one, two and three respectively – to support personal materials/printing costs.*
Structure and assessment
- Technical Definition
- Principles of Design
- Visual Communication
- Manufacturing and Materials Technologies
- Design Cultures
- Workshop Practice
- 3D CAD For Product Definition
- Innovation and New Product Development
- 3D Modelling for Design
- Manufacturing and Materials Technologies
- Design Cultures
- Graphical and Digital Communications
- Product Design – Personal Project
- Product Design – Student Design Competitions
Teaching and assessments
The curriculum is focussed on vocational skills and intellectual development – encompassing a broad range of content from manufacturing to aesthetics. Coursework is the main method of learning and assessment which is monitored on a regular basis via a formal tutorial system.
You are taught by design academics, designers in residence and visiting design consultants with specialist knowledge and skills in product design. All our staff have worked in industry and carry out commercial activity and leading research. Visiting lecturers support week-long projects or run weekly seminars, tutorials or lecture series. Previous visiting lecturers include Steve Mosley (Mosley&), Ryan Helps (Empathic), and designers and model makers from Redline Studios.
Our students have won many major awards in recent years including the prestigious D&AD Award for Product Design and the RSA Student Design Awards.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, group work and self-directed study. Assessment is through coursework (presentations, essays and reports) Your precise timetable will depend on the optional modules you choose to take, however, in your first year you will normally attend around 13 hours of timetabled taught sessions (lectures and tutorials) each week, and we expect you to undertake at least 26 further hours of independent study to complete project work and research.
Facilities and features
Art and design facilities
We offer superb workshops in wood, metal and plastics latest in additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping equipment. You will be supported by specialist technicians who will help you in the use of both traditional and advanced materials and manufacturing processes. You will also learn prototyping techniques to test your ideas during the development process and learn modelling skills to express the detail and finesse of your finalised designs.
Lively studio facilities allow you to collaborate with a cross-section of students and continue the discourse about your work and the design discipline more broadly.
We continuously develop your computer literacy and you will work on various PC-based 3D modelling and graphic presentation packages using specialist facilities.
The main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (other than in exceptional circumstances) and offers a huge range of online resources, all of which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.
The library is run by dedicated staff who offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching and reference management and assistive technology, and mathematical skills for non-maths students. There is also a Just Ask service for help and advice, available via email or telephone.
Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.
Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse provide flexible spaces, whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.
They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities. Wi-Fi is available across all campus locations.
Opportunities and careers
Placements represent an important way of gaining real-world experience that support you to achieve better grades – as well as better jobs with higher salaries upon graduation. They are paid, usually lasting for 12 months and are normally undertaken in the third year. Previous placements include Jaguar Land Rover, Cambridge Consultants, Made in Mind, Lewis Associates, BlueFrog and BMW.
DMU has dedicated resources to help you find placements and provide support if you want to arrange your own. Teaching staff support this further with an extensive network of employers and alumni.
As an alternative to a work placement you can undertake a year-long exchange with a European design school through the Erasmus scheme. Previous students have spent a year in Orleans, France and Stuttgart, Germany.
This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world. Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.
Graduates go on to work as specialist professionals in a range of industries in roles from designers through to managers. Recent graduates have embarked on careers in consultancies such as Cambridge Consultants and in design teams at companies such as Aston Martin, Hozelock and Magmatic. The skills you learn will also prepare you for a career in design marketing, design management, teaching or postgraduate research.
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