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Boost your skills with a short course in 3D Design and Product Design

A photo of a desk with paint swatches and sketchbooks
  • Written byYusuf Tamanna
  • Published date 16 June 2021
A photo of a desk with paint swatches and sketchbooks

Chana Custermans has always had an interest in product design. In June 2015, she graduated as a Master of Science in Product Development from the University of Antwerp and quickly started on building her career within a focus on the transportation industry.

“My first job in the automotive industry was at Toyota Motors Europe for a six-month interim at the body design division. I had my own project that focused on how we store and use items during our commute. My interest for autonomous vehicles gave me a chance to work for XenomatiX as an automotive Product Developer.”

This led her to DAF trucks in Eindhoven as a colour and trim specialist. The role required her to work closely with the styling department on developing the interior. However, this was more from a manufacturing perspective with a greater focus on cost, use of smart materials and so on.

A black and white photo of Chana Custermans

It was only during 2020 when the pandemic started that Chana had the opportunity to think about her career up until that point. “The pandemic gave me time to reflect on what I was doing and that I wanted to go back to my roots as a designer and dive deeper into the Colour Material Finish design world,” Chana explains.

“The Introduction to Colour, Material and Finish Design Online Short Course you offered was exactly what I needed. It was perfect for me! I have already worked within the Colour Material Finish design realm, but I really wanted to get understand and participate in the fuzzy front-end.”

Having just finished his A-Levels, 19 year old Harry Colbert says he’d been planning to do the Introduction to Product Design Online Short Course delivered by Alexander Hinnerskov for a while before he eventually booked his place on the course.

“This was a course I had interest in for a number of years because of the reputation that UAL has. Not only would it be exposure to new ideas, but it would be a great way to receive industry feedback on my work.”

A photo of Harry Colbert

During her time on the course, Chana appreciated having the freedom to be creative again without any hard or fast rules to follow. “I loved letting the engineer in me get loose and creative. I enjoyed going back to my designer/creative roots.” She also liked not having to think too much when she was creating and allowing her creativity to lead the way.

For Harry, he valued his short course tutor always finding ways to suggest improvements for his work. "The course helped me develop a more refined design process, something I struggled with beforehand. I feel more confident going into projects, being able to lay out a clear design strategy in research and product development and eventually producing a sustainable product which adheres to the brief and design intention.”

In addition to his refined skills and improved confidence, Harry tells me that his short course experience also helped inform what he plans to do next.

A mood board of different magazine images stuck together on a black board

A moodboard of different hues of pink and blue colours pinned to a white board

“Doing the course made me realise that I wanted to take a gap year before going to university. My original plan was to go to university in September 2020, I wanted to go to London but couldn’t afford it. While on the course it made me realise that studying in London was the best decision if I wanted to maximise my creative potential,” Harry explains. “Seeing how things panned out for a lot of students in 2020 due to the pandemic, I think I made the right call!”

Since the course, Chana says she’s successfully changed jobs and is now working at the new Giga Factory for Tesla in Berlin as a Quality Design Engineer, focusing on Colour Material Finish.

“I believe that having a good idea of what it takes to develop a certain colour or material direction truly helps me translate the colour material finish styling wishes to the hardcore engineers. The course helped me refocus on that artistic part.”

An open sketch book with a handmade colour wheel and a moodboard of different colour combinations

An open sketchbook of different colour swatches

Both Chana and Harry would be more than happy to recommend doing a short course, especially after their own experiences on their respective courses.

“Don’t hesitate! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback because that will go a long way,” Chana advises.

Harry adds: “I really can’t recommend doing a short course enough. My course was 6 weeks long and I learned things which were not even covered in 2 years of studying the subject at A-Level! Plus, the quality of teaching was the highest standard I’ve ever seen.”

“If it wasn't for the course, I’d be at university right now receiving little to no face-to-face learning and no access to workshops or studios. The course helped change my mind on a key decision in my life and during my gap year I’ll be able to produce a higher standard of work in the future.”


Beyond 3D and product design, we offer short courses that touch on a wide range of topics, including fashion design, illustration, architecture and graphic design to name a few. Visit our upcoming short courses information page to find out more about how a short course can support your next creative endeavour.

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