The Programme – What?

What kind of things would I do in Product Design?

Students work on a range of different projects and classes throughout their time in the programme, click here to see.

Students learn how to be a designer through acquiring and practising a range of skills. These skills are expected of students before they complete the product design programme to meet the graduate profile. This means

  •   Be Creative:

Think laterally, abstractly, and synthetically. Experiment, generate and produce innovative ideas, solve 
problems and explore opportunities. Take risks in their work and value failures along the way.

  • Be Critical:

Question, critically reflect, challenge, contextualise, and identify 
patterns. Test, analyse and effectively evaluate concepts.

  • Be Adaptive:

Adapt and respond to rapid change. Work individually and/or collaboratively in multidisciplinary 
situations, and across areas of art and design.

  • Be Self-Directed:

Independently drive and manage personal learning. Create and pursue opportunities.

  • Be Professionally Capable:

Have strong disciplinary knowledge and capability with selected discipline areas of art and design. Understand key discipline frameworks and theoretical models, professional standards and expectations.

  • Be Effective Communicators:

Effectively communicate across a range of verbal, written, and visual mediums.

  • Be Ethically Aware:

Critically understand the role of ethics and values in art and design including duty of care, empathy and diversity.

What companies do students collaborate with?

We understand that real life projects make a huge difference to learning. Consequently, we engage with a broad range of external partners throughout the programme, different in each project. Students are continually exposed to a wide range of real world contexts and learning how you as a designer can make a difference.

Collaboration takes places with a range of companies with through the programme. These include phd3, Methven, Jamie McClellan Design, Blender Design, Kathmandu, Douglas and Bec, Auckland Transport, Auckland District Health Board, Starship Children’s Hospital, Waitemata District Health Board, Weekend Trader, Auckland Council, Return to Sender, Freedom Camping and many more. This list continues to grow, check out the extended list in our industry people and designers.

What papers do I take?

This programme has set papers that make up the major of product design. These consist of studio (which makes up around half the degree) as well as theory and technical papers. In addition, you are able to enrol in a minor pathway of study to provide you with more choice in what you want to learn. Check out the programme information by clicking here.

What will I learn in product design?

Our students are taught a design process to identify opportunities and problem solve. This process can be applied to product design outputs or can be applied to any context to improve a situation.

Our students are also taught to develop their skills of drawing, model making, feeling comfortable working with a range of different materials and working with development technology (3D printing, manufacturing, laser cutting, CNC).

What kind of a designer could I be?

This program encourages students to find their strengths and work to them. We have identified three loose ‘categories’ or study themes that help students to narrow their design focus as they progress through the programme.  It is important to recognise that these themes are broad and often overlap within projects or personal interests. However, we find it a really useful way to help students identify where they may want to head in the future. Students are exposed to all themes throughout the programme, and in the final years students are able to choose projects that relate to their direction/interest.

  • Emotional

This focuses on industrial artisan style craft design

  • Technical

Emphasis on the manufacturing, material or technological aspects of design

  • Social

Looks at how design can contribute to resolving societal, organisational or ‘people’ centered problems,

Does this mean I can only be a Technical, Social or Emotional designer?

It is important to understand that these themes overlap and are arbitrary to help your learning. For example, an emotional designer will still need to know how things get made, the character of materials etc. as well as having an eye for good form and knowledge of what is happening in the marketplace.

Students are encouraged to discover their own strengths, to shape their own approach to defining what  product design is with the guidance of their lecturers.

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