This course is for students with a product, furniture or a directly-related 3D design degree who wish to build on their expertise, specialist knowledge and employability. You will develop an advanced understanding of design practice, learn about research methodologies, explore service design and the ways that emerging digital technologies can enhance your work. The flexibility of the curriculum allows you to create a distinct programme of learning that is focused on your individual interests and ambitions, and equip you with the practical commercial skills for a successful career in the creative industries.
Within the course, you can choose from two specialisms. On the Design Practice specialism, you will explore design innovation and the creation of innovative products that fulfil the users’ wants and needs. Alternatively, our Design and Business specialism focuses on commercial practice, research methods and product design – all valuable skills that you would need to forge a career as a creative entrepreneur.
Your studies will culminate in a self-directed design project, during which you will explore real world product design processes such as external validation, prototyping, testing, technical definition and specification.
In all your designs and processes we will empower you to experiment boldly and encourage you to take risks. We aim to develop independent learners who can take their own personal and critical approach to tackling complex design challenges. Access to our sophisticated facilities, including industry-standard vector-based and three-dimensional modelling packages, will enable you to push design boundaries and realise your creative visions.
- Our flexible learning environment allows you to choose from an impressive range of specialist modules to develop your own personal and professional interests.
- Learn from an expert teaching team who are active in their own field and maintain their professional skillset, ensuring you develop the most relevant skills for a career in the industry.
- Join a community that is working together to co-design new ways of thinking to redefine the future of creative practice.
- With an optional year-long work placement you can gain valuable experience to further enhance your practical and professional skills.
- The award-winning Vijay Patel Building provides both the space to foster creative thinking as well as top-class facilities, giving you access to a range of dedicated workshops and a host of specialist equipment.
Structure and assessment
Research Methods (Compulsory)
Teaches you a range of conceptual and practical research skills, such as questionnaire design and interview techniques. As part of this module, you will formulate your major project proposal, specifying your aims, objectives, research methods and expected outcomes. You will also learn how to undertake the literature review for your major project.
Creative Design Studio
Introduces you to the overarching design process. You will study design method theories, advances in technology, concept development, prototyping techniques, design testing and user-centred (or inclusive) design. The module will see you developing project management skills and investigating ethical and environmental design issues. As part of a multidisciplinary team, you will also work on live design projects
Action Research Laboratory
Enables you to develop your major project design work while exploring creative and innovative design and research methods. You will produce a specification report (based on primary research) and a portfolio of investigative design development work that shows an individual creative response
Following on from research undertaken in term two, and with expert tutor guidance, you will develop a major design project in term three. With the support of design tutors and technical staff, the module requires prototyping, testing, technical specification and design presentation as its final submission.
Business Planning for the Creative Entrepreneur
Develops your business knowledge and planning skills enabling you to identify the potential for a new product or service. You will study the key issues in starting a business and covers topics such as business plans, leadership, investment and risk management.
Design for Retail
Covers all aspects of in-store retail design, including product, environment, technology, communication and service. You will also examine brand perception, buyer behaviour and engagement with the retail experience.
Design as a Strategic Business Tool
Looks at how design itself can be the driving force behind the strategic management and development of digital design and creative businesses. You will audit the use of design, design management and design thinking in the creative industries and business.
Introduces you to new design practises and links them to the emerging digital technologies that have been developed to aid, consolidate and improve the entire design process. These include data capturing techniques, reverse engineering, and additive manufacturing
Global Markets: Designing businesses for international growth
Examines the key issues involved in developing new international markets and the role of the design manager and entrepreneur in enabling design and creative businesses to compete effectively in the global economy.
Design, Innovation and Sustainability
This module takes an integrated approach to the complex issues surrounding sustainability and the role of design and innovation as a driver for change
Examines the role of design in the service industries. You will pay particular attention to ethical, political, social and ecological concerns, all of which require approaches that focus on design and the designers’ role in maintaining sustainability.
Technology for Design
Provides a platform for designers from various fields to explore a range technology and potentially help to advance their knowledge and practice in this area. This module recognises that digital technology and the development of new equipment, materials, artefacts and devices are all growing exponentially.
Facilities and features
Supported by specialist technicians, the excellent CAD and workshop facilities include: soft modelling, wood, plastics, metal fabrication, metal machining and finishing. The workshops are also home to four computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling machines, a CNC lathe, two laser cutters, a vinyl cutter and three rapid prototyping machines as well as a 3D paper printer and a CNC water jet cutter.
There are also 29 Wacom drawing tablets, which allow you to sketch directly into the screens, linked to high specification Intel Core2 Duo computer workstations. These facilities make it possible for you to access the best industry-standard, vector-based and 3D modelling packages available. This equipment allows you to experiment with techniques and finishes to a high level, adding unique skillset to your portfolio.
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 Learning Zones and the The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.
There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.
You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.
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