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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Product Design 1B: Touch and Don't Touch (DESI08082)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the importance of form, semantics and visual language in our understanding of the material world and how this applies to the practice of product design. The course will combine theory with practice to allow students to better understand how the look and feel of a product is transformed through the manipulation of the language form, surface and colour.
Course description Through a combination of lectures, reflective sessions and design workshops, students will be introduced to semiotics and the role of meaning within advertising, brand and product design development. Focus will be placed upon how meanings are conveyed through physical forms in order to communicate brand values and key messages to specific audiences. Case studies of products will explore how products promote associations with aspirational lifestyles, and how designed products using a combination of form, detailing, material and colour, support these messages. Students will respond to the lectures and reflective sessions through a series of sketching and modelling exercises that become more complex as the concepts are further explored through theory, reflection and practice.

This course will:

1. Introduce students to the importance of form, semantics and visual and physical language in product design.
2. Introduce students to a range of qualitative and quantitative methods that provide insights and create understanding from users of design products and services.
3. Develop student skills in iterative sketching and modelling through a variety of materials.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If this course is Core to your programme, you will automatically be enrolled. For all other students, including Design students, the course is open on a first come, first served basis until the course is full. This course may have limited availability for non-Design students. Please contact the Course Organiser if you wish to enrol.
Additional Costs Specific materials and equipment costs will vary depending on the students' individual method of production.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  19
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 6, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 6, Formative Assessment Hours 0.5, Summative Assessment Hours 0.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 150 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students are expected to produce a portfolio of work, including a concept informed through an iterative design process that is supported by a combination of talks, reflective discussions and workshops. The semester long combination of review, reflect and make will result in a PDF portfolio submission, with 3 elements:

a. An exploration of form, semantics, visual and physical language in product design through visual research, sketching, and modelling.

b. Use of multiple research methods including the design of devices and elements (i.e. probe packs, questionnaires) and their outputs.

c. A concept design that translates insights gained in the research and demonstrates an understanding of the theoretical aspects of the course through the control of form, materials, colour and visual materials.

The PDF portfolio will be approx. 40 pages

Relationship between Assessment and Learning Outcomes:

LO1 will account for 40%

LO2 will account for 20%

LO3 will account for 40%
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided verbally at the mid-semester point following a digital presentation of work to date.

Summative feedback will be provided following the portfolio submission in the form of written feedback following assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding through inquisitive exploration of form and semantics in Product Design.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of design research methods within the design process.
  3. Communicate skill in idea development through an iterative approach.
Reading List
Bramston, D. (2010) Visual Conversations (Basics Product Design series), AVA Publishing.
Norman, Donald A, (2013) The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded, Basic Books; Revised Edition
Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies: Roland Barthes. New York: Hill and Wang.
Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and simulation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Baudrillard, J. (2005) The system of objects. London: Verso.
Eagleton, T. (1983) Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P.
Klein, N., Jhally, S., Alper, L., Garner, K., Monhan, T., & Klein, N. (2003). No logo brands, globalization, resistance. [Northampton, Mass.], Media Education Foundation.
Krippendorff, K. (2006) The semantic turn: a new foundation for design, Boca Raton : CRC/Taylor & Francis
Leborg, C. (2004) Visual Grammar, Princeton Architectural Press
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking.
Be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts.
Be able to use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others
Be able to use effective communication to articulate their skills as identified through self-reflection.
KeywordsSemiotics,User-centred Design,Iterative Sketching,Iterative Modelling
Course organiserMiss Isla Munro
Course secretaryMiss Barbara Bianchi
Tel: (0131 6)51 5736
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