Skip to Main Content
of desiGn

Fundamentals of Product Design

Fundamentals of Product Design

Explores the fundamental challenge of embodying a solution in a physical form.

One of the most important aspects of this course is learning how to think and create iteratively; and consequently, how to explain your design choices and research findings to both your team and outside audiences.
—Catherine Wieczorek, MDes 2021

Objective & Outcomes

This course provides students with key themes and principles underlying the design of products. Understanding the fundamentals of products is essential to work on interdisciplinary projects and tackle contemporary design problems. Students looking to understand how products are conceived and made will find this class valuable.

Beginning with an introduction to product design, themes and principles are examined each week, and students are tasked with demonstrating these themes in their weekly assignment. The intent is to generate a base of knowledge that will become a Field Guide to product fundamentals. The range of products discussed extends from everyday products e.g., a toothbrush, to commercial products e.g., medical CT scanners. The topics of sustainability, digital products, and design-for-dignity are examined.

Upon completing the course, students will be able to characterize several approaches to design practice and see how these have applications in many types of contemporary design projects.

Typical Schedule

  • Session 1: Introduction
  • Session 2: Sensorial
  • Session 3: Simple
  • Session 4: Enduring
  • Session 5: Playful
  • Session 6: Thoughtful
  • Session 7: Sustainable