BA (Hons) Product Design is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme. Product and Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins is concerned not only with the skills and professional practice of the subject, but also places an emphasis on the role of creative experimentation and critical evaluation.
These help to challenge the assumptions and ideas around design and design practice and its relevance in the wider social, cultural, economic and environmental contexts.
Since 1938, our lecturers and alumni have been associated with groundbreaking products. These include the first laptop computer (Bill Moggeridge), the original London Routemaster bus (Douglas Scott), and the Apple iPhone (Daniele De Iuliis/Apple Industrial Design Group) among many others. We look to BA Product Design graduates to carry forward this tradition, to be innovators, to be questioning practitioners who understand the potential and the responsibilities implied by their contributions to the material world.
Since its first introduction as a discrete subject area, the professional practice of the Product/Industrial Designer has evolved to reflect other changes in manufacture, consumption and the wider concerns of society.
Most recently, this has informed a shift in the focus of BA Product Design students’ activities away from a purely market-orientated and problem-solving approach to a more analytical and critical approach. This accommodates an increasingly complex series of reference points including those provided by related and emerging disciplines such as sociology, politics, ethics, interaction design, service design, and experience design.
Design is about people
Designers have to understand people and their behaviours before formulating a response to their wants and needs. BA Product Design students’ understanding of people and their behaviour is informed through a consideration of ergonomics and usability as well as the ability to read and interpret market drivers and the softer, less tangible emotional responses to the material world. This approach is incorporated into increasingly complex projects that emphasise and develop appropriate research methods. In some cases, this is also enhanced through collaborative working methods. The programme reinforces deep learning through collective as well as individual activity.
Design is a process – not a thing
Whilst the output of the Product/Industrial designer is predominantly concerned with manufacture and production, the subject is predicated on the notion that design is a process-driven activity: the practice of applying a relevant process to a particular context. Out of such a process a very broad range of design outcomes might emerge: consumer durables, personal accessories, packaging and branding, furniture and lighting as well as other outcomes which might be categorised as service or system design, or even design strategy. The subject is therefore unconstrained by the conventions of specific typologies or pathways, and it is an approach that we believe enables you to be flexible, confident, creative and open to a broad range of unfamiliar and new high level design opportunities in strategic innovation and the design and creative sectors.
Design is about the future
Product and Industrial Designers are frequently called upon to conceptualise new products and systems of which consumers and users will have had no or little previous experience. You are encouraged to consider the impact of technology, consumer attitudes, environmental issues, cultural shifts and many other factors in the development of work directed at a future scenario. You are invited and encouraged to embrace change and to challenge accepted cultural and commercial norms. This flexibility makes you highly valuable in the more strategic and management roles that lie beyond mainstream design practice.
BA Product Design runs for 90 weeks full time over three years, and is divided into three Levels (or Stages), each lasting 30 weeks. The whole degree course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each Level (Stage).
The Diploma in Professional Studies provides you the optional opportunity to secure an industrial placement (or series of placements) related to product design to be carried out over 20 weeks in an additional year between stage 2 and 3. The DPS is an additional award credited at 120 credits.
Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: Level 4 (which is stage 1 of the course), Level 5 (Stage 2) and Level 6 (Stage 3).
There’s a progression point at the end of each Level and, in order to progress, all units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.
If you’re unable to continue on the course a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of Level 5.
To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from Level 6 units only, weighted according to their credits.