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of desiGn

Fundamentals of Product Design





Credit Hours


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

While many technical requirements for creating products define the materials to use and drive product form, designers are also actively defining a company’s brand expression through form and materials. This course looks to examine the influences of advanced technology, environmental concerns, and competitive positioning on material and form choices. Topics discussed include products and performance, craft and maker movement, emotion and brand, and form and material futures.

Learning Objectives

Students will gain a strong understanding of the role materials play in the design of products, the influences on those choices, and how the interplay of form and materials create significant user experiences and beautiful products. Students will gain knowledge of material use as it affects form, brand identity, technology expression, ergonomics, manufacturing methods, and cultural preferences.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand how desired performance drives materials and form
  • Articulate fundamentals of 20th-century product form and materials
  • Evaluate the cultural and social implications of product form and material choices
  • Effectively conduct form trends and materials research

Format & Grading

Topics are discussed in a round-robin style on a weekly basis with students. Depending on class size teams may be formed. A small weekly report will likely be the preferred format of homework.

Enrollment Restrictions

No prerequisites. This course is open to all Institute of Design students