Course Overview

IID20202 Product Design Fundamentals | Undergraduate

Product designers require understanding of form and its relation to both technical functionality and product use. This course aims to introduce the fundamentals of developing three dimensional designs, with a focus on form, its application in product design and its role as driver for developing form language and design aesthetic. To achieve this, the course introduces a framework for critically engaging 3D form. This is then applied to form design works through student projects. The course culminates in a short product design project where students are encouraged to apply knowledge gained during the course to the design of a simple product.


Course objectives

Through key note lectures, studio and project-based works Product Design Fundamentals aims to develop a critical understand of and appreciation for form aesthetic as related to the design of products. The course will also help foster techniques and skills in the expression of form design through various materials and media (i.e. sketches & illustrations, clay, foam, hard materials).

  • More critically engage and evaluate form as related to contemporary design.

  • Apply a more critical understanding of form in the development of aesthetically sensitive and appropriate form studies and design solutions.

  • Employ an appropriate vocabulary in discussing form as related to the design of products.

  • Develop and communicate design ideas through the effective use of various tools, methods and materials commiserate with contemporary design practices.


Teaching apporach

Knowledge and skills gained during the course will be applied over four short but intensive studio projects.

In Project 01 students will explore pattern and structure as means to derive form aesthetic. Project 02 will build upon Project 01 in continuing to develop a framework for the critical analysis of form through the design and expression of form compositions derived from curvilinear forms. Project 03 will challenge students to explore form aesthetic through an organic form study. The Project 04 will see students apply their enhanced appreciation of form in the design of a form-driven product concept as terminal course project. As with all product design, students will be required to consider technical and use functionality, alongside form to propose an elegant and appropriate product design solution.

Student outcomes

  • Form Studies: “Not enough time and attention is given to the designer’s first responsibility; to find and develop the visual solutions for living in our environment. Of course, a product is no good to anyone unless its function is fit for purpose, easy to use and intuitive. . The object should express what it is very directly, but it is possible for a design to express what it is and also be a beautiful object in its own right.” – Rowena Reed

  • Creative problem-solving: each course project is centred around a process of creative problem-solving within the constraints of the theory on form provided. Discussions will be held to explore design problem definition, ideation, form judgments and conceptualization through 2D & 3D sketches and prototypes.

  • Formative Feedback: At all stages, formative critic and feedback will be provided to assess and evaluate student project works (students are expected to participate actively in these important sessions).

  • Workbooks: Students are required to keep an A4 workbook for the duration of the class. This workbook is to be used exclusively for this course. It will act as an aid to improve sketching skills, a record of ideas towards form studies, a note book to record details of lectures and key-note speeches. All students are required to bring their workbooks to each and every class.

  • Communication of one’s own ideas: Students are required to write project reports (minimum 1 page) as part of each project submission. These report will be a critical reflection on your learning and educational experience, rather than a description of process (further details will be provided in class).