Year 12 Transition: Product Design

As a designer you have the chance to influence and enhance every aspect of peoples’ lives.  This isn’t just a course about making stuff, its about shaping the way we live by designing products that make our lives easier or better in some way.  Read through the information below and continue to develop your creativity and technical knowledge until September when we can start to put your thoughts into practice!

Books to read

  • The course we are following is AQA A Level Product Design. Have a look at their website for further information on the specification and other links to relevant websites.  The course book we will use is below, having your own copy and reading through it during the summer is a good idea.

Tasks to have a go at

  • Observe, record, design:
    • People do not always realise they have a problem until a solution is handed to them. Start to observe what the people in your house are doing, is there a task that they carry out regularly that seems difficult in some way?  Can you design a product/solution that could help them?
  • Sharpen that pencil:
    • Draw something every day. It could be a doodle, an observational drawing of something in front of you or a product you design from the top of your head.  It doesn’t matter what the drawing is of, the important thing is to practice and develop your sketching skills and style.  Being able to communicate confidently and clearly through sketching is a key skill for a designer.  Sketch in different media to enhance your skills.
  • The who’s who of the design world:
    • The following people are designers you should know, research them, find out what they do, when and why!
    • Phillipe Starck, James Dyson, Margaret Calvert, Dieter Rams, Charles and Ray Eames, Marianne Brandt.
  • What material is that?
    • You must be familiar with key materials and their properties and uses. How can you design an effective product if you do not know what material to use?  The list below is from the Specification, these are the materials you are expected to know about.  Do some research into each category and find specific examples, their uses and properties.
    • metals (ferrous, non-ferrous, alloys), woods (hardwoods, softwoods, manufactured boards), polymers (thermoplastics, thermoset polymers, elastomers), papers and boards, composites, smart materials and modern materials.
  • A place to sit:
    • Look at the Design Museum website there is a whole range of chairs from different design styles and designers. Which do you like?  Why?  Design you own chair, sketch it, make a model, think about what inspires you and who you are designing your chair for.