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Course
Information

UCAS Code

W266

Level of Study

Undergraduate

Mode of Study

3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department

Northumbria School of Design

Location

City Campus, Northumbria University

City

Newcastle

Start

September 2025

Fees

Modules

Overview

Please note: our Design courses are currently being updated therefore this course is subject to validation. First entry to this course is September 2025, for September 2024 entry, please visit Furniture and Product Design.

 

Overview

The Furniture & Product Design course is based on the idea that knowing how to make something enables a designer to expertly explore functionality and the potential for beauty in material culture.

You will be taught to become a skilled designer, maker and to think carefully about the broader cultural, environmental and commercial context for your practice.

Formerly known as '3D Design', this course has created graduates ready to contribute thoughtful and relevant design work for over 25 years. Alumni of the programme have made an impact in a range of professional settings; designing lighting for companies like Anglepoise, developing complex furniture systems for airports, working alongside world-famous sculptors and in hundreds of other creatively rewarding settings.

You will learn within a vibrant studio and workshop-based community and be taught and assessed via a wide range of exciting design briefs.

See other courses you may be interested in: Product Design

 

Please note: our Design courses are currently being updated therefore this course is subject to validation. First entry to this course is September 2025, for September 2024 entry, please visit Furniture and Product Design.

 

Overview

The Furniture & Product Design course is based on the idea that knowing how to make something enables a designer to expertly explore functionality and the potential for beauty in material culture.

You will be taught to become a skilled designer, maker and to think carefully about the broader cultural, environmental and commercial context for your practice.

Formerly known as '3D Design', this course has created graduates ready to contribute thoughtful and relevant design work for over 25 years. Alumni of the programme have made an impact in a range of professional settings; designing lighting for companies like Anglepoise, developing complex furniture systems for airports, working alongside world-famous sculptors and in hundreds of other creatively rewarding settings.

You will learn within a vibrant studio and workshop-based community and be taught and assessed via a wide range of exciting design briefs.

See other courses you may be interested in: Product Design

 

Top Department: Northumbria is ranked 6th in the UK for Product Design studies (Guardian University League Table, 2024).

Super Satisfaction: Over 95% of Students studying Design at Northumbria believed their course positively challenged them to achieve their best work (NSS, 2024).

Excellent Careers Prospects: Product Design at Northumbria is ranked 6th in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Guardian University Guide, 2024). This is because 87% of our graduates are in highly skilled employment or further study 15 months after graduation.

Research Power: Art and Design at Northumbria is ranked 4th in the UK for research power (REF, 2021). This is a rise of 6 places compared to 2014.

Course
Information

UCAS Code

W266

Level of Study

Undergraduate

Mode of Study

3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department

Northumbria School of Design

Location

City Campus, Northumbria University

City

Newcastle

Start

September 2025

Fees

Modules

Entry Requirements 2025/26

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth by using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4/C, or an equivalent.

Additional Requirements:

A portfolio of creative design work is required. Get advice on preparing your portfolio here: www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/coming-to-northumbria/portfolios-and-auditions

International Qualifications:

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications which may not match those shown above.

If you have qualifications from outside the UK, find out what you need by visiting www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:

International applicants should have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or an approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades in our English Language section: www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

For further admissions guidance and requirements, please visit www.northumbria.ac.uk/admissionsguidance Please review this information before submitting your application.

Fees and Funding 2025/26 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1*: TBC

* Government has yet to announce 25/26 tuition fee levels. As a guide, 24/25 fees were £9,250 per year. 



EU Fee in Year 1: **TBC


International Fee in Year 1: TBC

ADDITIONAL COSTS

TBC

Modules

Year 1

You will develop your designing and making skills, knowledge and contextual awareness through studio and workshop-based learning. The teaching is centered upon a series of creative briefs and portfolio submissions. You will be encouraged to develop a personal approach towards the critical issues in contemporary design practice and develop your understanding of what material culture could and should be like. 

Year 2

As you create ever more sophisticated pieces of furniture and product design during longer projects, you will learn how best to use the workshop as a venue for the creation and consideration of alternatives. You will learn to design through making, by refining the qualities of artefacts with reference to prototypes and your understanding of how those prototypes were made. 

Year 3

You will have the option to undertake an industrial placement year, or study abroad at a range of partner institutions all over the world. 

Year 4

A self-initiated Major Design Project will enable you to pursue your own interests in design. Informed by your research in the critical issues at stake in contemporary design practice, you will be encouraged to work with curiosity, imagination and ambition, to create a portfolio and collection of artefacts that demonstrate your knowledge and abilities upon graduation. 

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

DE4018 -

Design Cultures (Core,20 Credits)

Few forms of creative, intellectual and commercial activity reach into so many areas of public and private life as design. Exploring the history and theory of design, we will consider how design disciplines act and interact in the world and how design is shaped by the cultural contexts in which it is produced and consumed. This module will provide you with the tools to help situate your studio practice in its social, cultural and economic context. It will develop your knowledge of design history in order to expand your visual vocabulary and help you understand how design developed into the global phenomenon it is today. The lecture programme will examine the history of design through a chronological survey of key styles and movements from c.1800 to the present. Crucially, the module will also encourage you to reflect on the wider social, cultural and economic significance of design. Underpinning the historical survey, sessions will examine and make links to critical issues in contemporary life such as consumerism, globalisation, sustainability, post-colonialism and gender relations. What, for example, can historical figures such as William Morris contribute to debates about designers’ social and environmental responsibilities in the 21st century? Additionally, the module will help you develop your skills in research, visual and textual analysis, critical thinking, and written and verbal communication, all of which are crucial for academic and professional success.

More information

DE4019 -

Design Theory (Core,20 Credits)

Furniture and product designers must often consider the specifics of their design challenge or opportunity with reference to existing knowledge, principles or approaches. This module will introduce you to the knowledge and research methods—the ‘design theory’—that will come to support your design practice in this way.

The module is taught around 3 themes: Designers, Users, and Technologies.

Designers introduces you to the ideas, principles and responsibilities that underpin contemporary design practice. This component encourages you to develop critical judgement of your own work and the work of others. Notable figures and ideas from the history and contemporary practice of industrial design are introduced, and you are encouraged to explore and discover practitioners and artefacts that might be less well-known but could become a significant inspiration for you personally.

Users introduces the study of ergonomics and how design work can be informed by paying attention to people’s interactions with the world. You will learn how to analyse the ergonomic success or failure of existing artefacts and explore a range of methods for gathering rich and useful insights into how people live with artefacts.
Technologies teaches you how to research and better understand materials, manufacturing processes and the potential of technology to drive innovative and ecologically responsible design practice. You will develop a foundational knowledge of widely used materials and processes through presentations and case-studies, before being asked to practice and develop methods for quickly developing the type of functional knowledge and expertise required for a designer to work with new materials and processes.

More information

DE4020 -

Studio Skills (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to the professional studio skills required of furniture and product designers to conceive, develop and realise three-dimensional prototypes. The content of the module reflects the range of tools, techniques and materials designers use to effectively work out what artefacts could and should be like, before communicating these ideas to others. This module embraces the notion that developing your own personal, skilful and enjoyable approach to prototyping will enable you to develop sophisticated and thoughtful responses to design briefs.

The module is split into 2 components: Prototyping and Visual Communication.

Prototyping is a studio and workshop-based component that introduces a range of materials, processes and techniques useful during design development. It covers both two-dimensional (e.g. sketching) and three-dimensional (e.g. card modelling) methods of design development. Through experimentation with a wide range of media, you are encouraged to begin to adopt and develop techniques that you consider appropriate to your interests as a designer. You should begin to feel enabled and confident to create, evaluate and develop three-dimensional forms.

Visual Communication is taught through studio sessions and computer software tuition. It introduces industry-standard graphics software packages essential to the contemporary designer and enables you to present your work in an increasingly professional manner.

More information

DE4021 -

Design Projects (Core,40 Credits)

This module is designed to develop your ability to creatively answer a three-dimensional design brief, both as an individual and in team situations.

The module is formed around a series of furniture and product design projects that act as vehicles for you to apply and develop your design skills and knowledge. The projects encourage you to put the theoretical and practical skills taught in other modules into practice and begin to consider your learning in a wider professional context. The project briefs will enable you to explore a variety of different contexts and motivations for design practice. Some briefs might ask you to explore the potentials of a particular material or process, others might ask you design with a particular manufacturer in mind. You might be prompted to creatively repurpose existing objects into a novel form, or re-design an artefact to make people think differently about an important subject or issue. You will learn how diverse projects require various blends of theoretical and practical skills as you research, develop and communicate thoughtful and sophisticated responses. By presenting your work, both at interim stages and upon completion, you will gain experience of how to effectively and professionally communicate both your project development and resolution.

This module also introduces specialist CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, which is taught alongside and implemented in the design projects throughout.

Alongside the completion of the design projects, you will be introduced to the use and value of reflective practice in this module. You will be encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning and begin to articulate your own developing approach to design practice. This will provide an opportunity for you to consider and forecast your personal trajectory and interests throughout the degree and beyond.

More information

DE4022 -

Interchange 1 – Experimental Processes (Core,20 Credits)

In this module, you will delve into experimental design processes that are directly applicable to your future role in the ever-changing field of design. The boundaries between established design disciplines are continually shifting due to the ongoing collaborative nature of design projects calling on multiple skill sets, technological advancements, evolving design trends and societal needs.

The main objective is to provide you with the opportunity to explore making practice through different media, by acquire new skills or gaining experience in areas that are unfamiliar to you. For example, different briefs might explore 3D printing, upcycling, narrative storytelling and illustration or coding for designers. You will be encouraged to experiment and will be rewarded for taking creative risks. Throughout this process, you will develop into a more competent and self-assured designer, essential for a professional design career.

More information

DE5017 -

3D Design: Making (Core,20 Credits)

Successful furniture and product design relies on an ability to prototype and evaluate ideas in three-dimensions. The making of prototypes enables designers to test and refine the qualities of a nascent artefact, perhaps by improving its functionality, proposing an alternative manufacturing method, tweaking the proportions, or reworking the subtlest of aesthetic details. Designers think through making. And the clarity and precision with which they can think has its parallel in clarity and precision with which they can make. In this module, you will develop your knowledge and skills in workshop-based prototyping practice, such that you will be enabled to effectively prototype in three-dimensions.

The module is based around a bespoke workshop induction and competency building programme that underpins the requirements of study on level 5 of the Furniture and Product Design degree. These sessions introduce you to materials, processes and safe working practices. This is more than a basic induction into the use of workshop tools and machinery—the module asks you to precisely make several complex furniture and product artefacts according to dimensioned drawings over an 8-week period, using a wide-variety of industry-standard equipment. You will use this experience to build a critical, hands-on knowledge of materials and processes, and the understanding necessary to design and prototype your own sophisticated three-dimensional designs in subsequent modules. Upon completion of the module, Furniture and Product Design students will be uniquely enabled to work in a safe, confident and highly competent manner in the workshop environment, so that they can successfully use this space as a means of prototyping their designs.

In addition to this time in the workshop, you will contextualise the workshop-based learning during studio sessions with academic staff.

More information

DE5018 -

3D Design: CAD and Communication (Core,20 Credits)

This module develops your skills in CAD and graphics software, and your knowledge of how to communicate both the technical specification and aesthetic qualities of your three-dimensional design work. You will learn how to create technical drawings appropriate for the manufacture of furniture and products, and how to present development work, product photography and computer generated imagery to the highest professional standards.

Taught by specialist tutors in the context of furniture and product design practice, your knowledge of CAD software will be appropriate to the specific requirements of this industry. You will learn how to deliver well-resolved, accurate and dimensioned technical drawings according to industry standards, such that manufacturers would be able to easily interpret and realise your designs.

Understanding how best to present your 3D design work via print and online, using an engaging and appropriate aesthetic is a valuable skill for design professionals. Through learning industry-standard graphics software, having access to photography studio space, equipment and technical support, and developing your understanding of graphic design practice you will learn how to deliver high-quality presentations.

More information

DE5019 -

3D Design: Projects (Core,40 Credits)

This module consists of a series of furniture and product design briefs that enable you to extend your design and critical thinking skills. The project briefs challenge you to sensitively address the requirements of defined markets and end users in the context of responsible, professional design practice. You will also have the opportunity within these briefs to further explore and articulate your own design philosophies and preoccupations. As the module progresses you are encouraged to take more ownership of project direction and become more confident in justifying your actions.

Studio and workshop-based teaching develops your ability to conceieve, refine and produce complex and sophisticated working prototypes. You will use the workshop skills, knowledge and competency developed in previous modules, and become increasingly aware of the importance of technical materials and process knowledge to design practice. You will learn how to use the workshop not just for the mechanical realisation of existing concepts, but as a venue for the discussion and consideration of alternatives, with direct reference to works-in-progress. You will learn to become a designer capable of thinking through making—able to refine the qualities of nascent artefacts with reference to prototypes and your understanding of how those prototypes were made.
The module also provides an opportunity to utilise and further develop the CAD and communication skills you have developed in other modules, as you present your work to the highest professional standards and begin to develop a portfolio that demonstrates your design knowledge, abilities and interests.

More information

DE5020 -

3D Design: Context (Core,20 Credits)

This module will enable you to better understand and evaluate your own practice with reference to the cultural context of contemporary furniture and product design. Unlike other level 5 Furniture and Product Design modules, which direct your focus towards the technical, functional and aesthetic details of artefacts, this is an opportunity to think more broadly about the nature of contemporary design, the future direction of your own practice, and how those two things can intersect. Through studying the issues surrounding current practice—environmental, societal, ethical, aesthetic, commercial and technological challenges or opportunities—you will begin to identify and appreciate approaches that resonate with your own understanding of what material culture should be like.
Your teaching and learning will be framed by studying different types of design practice, and their associated motivations and outcomes. You will, for example, learn more about the context of commercially driven projects; study how new technologies can inspire designers to explore innovative forms or user-interactions; and discover how diverse ideas and aesthetics from old or overlooked sources can define new territories in contemporary practice. You will consider the range of approaches through which furniture and product design confronts global sustainability challenges. And you will investigate speculative or critical approaches to design practice, which create artefacts to provoke questions, explore fictions of how the world could be and articulate (rather than solve) problems. You will, therefore, develop a broad awareness of what a design brief can ask of you as a practitioner, and the range of valid and significant contributions your own practice could make.

More information

DE5021 -

Interchange 2 – Emerging Issues and Practices (Core,20 Credits)

In this module, you will explore some of the most important emerging design issues and practices that are shaping contemporary design and design research. As designers, we are in a perpetual state of evolution, responding to a world that is constantly in flux, where new challenges and opportunities arise on an almost daily basis.



This module occurs at a critical and timely stage in your design education, where you will delve into the heart of design's developing practice opportunities or most compelling dilemmas. You will learn to identify, analyse, and propose innovative opportunities to these dynamic and often complex situations. You will also learn to react to these challenges by working with others, leveraging your collective skills and knowledge to develop more nuanced design outcomes.



Emerging issues and practices may include a diverse range of topics, from sustainability, responsibility, inclusivity and diversity to technology and innovation, which may in turn have implications for cross-cultural design and global design trends.

More information

DE5022 -

Creative Studio 1 (Optional,60 Credits)

Creative Studio 1 is a blended learning module where you will have the opportunity to collaborate and work on one or more live or simulated industry related briefs, international competitions or speculative design scenarios. The module is characterised by an intensive period of collaboration followed by a shorter period of independent reflection and portfolio building.

The different project briefs will be managed by academic staff and will run either independently or collaboratively through teamwork. The projects will be varied and will provide you with the opportunity to hone your specialist skills, professional, enterprise and entrepreneurial capabilities through real-life scenarios – providing an authentic learning experience. You will be encouraged to develop a flexible and imaginative enquiry-based approach to the design projects. You will become an active participant, integrating your design practice with distinguishable practical and intellectual skills whilst recording your process for summative assessment. At the end of the module, you will be given time to reflect, complete and relate this work to your own professional portfolio allowing an opportunity for independent and autonomous study.

This module supports the development of industry specific skills and techniques. It enables you to understand what it means to be a design practitioner build professional ambition, how to work autonomously and how to prepare for future employment.

It is anticipated that all projects will run successfully in a blended delivery mode to allow you to work on campus or at distance as and when required. Note, international students will be expected to meet in person with their tutors at least once per month to order to fulfil their visa requirements.

More information

DE5023 -

Creative Studio 2 (Optional,60 Credits)

Creative Studio 2 is a blended learning module where you will have the opportunity to collaborate and work on one or more live or simulated industry related briefs, international competitions or speculative design scenarios. The module is characterised by an intensive period of collaboration and a shorter period of independent reflection and portfolio building.

The different project briefs will be managed by academic staff and will run either independently or collaboratively through teamwork. The projects will be varied and will provide you with the opportunity to hone your specialist skills, professional, enterprise and entrepreneurial capabilities through real-life scenarios – providing an authentic learning experience. You will be encouraged to develop a flexible and imaginative enquiry-based approach to the design projects. You will become an active participant, integrating your design practice with distinguishable practical and intellectual skills whilst recording your process for summative assessment.

Dependent on the start date of your live or simulated design briefs, you will be given independent time at the beginning or end of the module develop your professional portfolio and complete your assessment tasks.

This module supports the development of industry specific skills and techniques. It enables you to understand what it means to be a design practitioner build professional ambition, how to work autonomously and how to prepare for future employment.

It is anticipated that all projects will run successfully in a blended delivery mode to allow you to work on campus or at distance as and when required. Note, international students will be expected to meet in person with their tutors at least once per month to order to fulfil their visa requirements.

More information

DE5024 -

Design Placement 1 (Optional,60 Credits)

In this module you will have the opportunity to complete either one or several placements working in the creative industries, which will enable you to explore possibilities for your future career within the sector. With the support of your Academic Tutors and the placement support staff you will be encouraged to source, apply and confirm your chosen placement(s). This will help you to develop a network and become confident in applying for opportunities within creative industries.



A single placement or series of placements can run continuously or sporadically throughout the placement period as long as a minimum of 15 weeks or 600 hours of design-related placement work and study is achieved. A placement can also seamlessly transfer into the Placement 2 module. This flexible opportunity offers you a potentially broad insight into how the design industry operates in differing market and innovation sectors. Being part of a design agency or in-house team means a greater understanding of design processes, market and product development cycles.



Through this work experience, you potentially gain exposure to design related professions such as brand strategy, marketing, social media content creation, manufacturing processes, as well as developing your own visual and general communication skills. Furthermore, the experience of applying your academic studies in a real work environment gives context and will help you to develop a confident and professional attitude and it will encourage you to become career ready, actively making informed decisions about your future. To consolidate this aim, you will be encouraged to maintain a digital diary of your learning, and professional experience, documenting the new skills and knowledge you acquire during your placement semester encouraging deep thinking, questioning and you will be asked to critically reflect and contextualise this learning in relation to your own professional practice.



Note, if you intend to continue with ‘Design Placement 2’ in semester 2 but are unable to complete or secure an industrial work placement in advance of the module starting you will be encouraged to switch to the 'Creative Studio' elective which connects to industry live design briefs, competitions and speculative design scenarios that thrive on mirroring real-world design.

More information

DE5025 -

Design Placement 2 (Optional,60 Credits)

In this module you will have the opportunity to complete either one or several placements working in the creative industries, which will enable you to explore possibilities for your future career within the sector. With the support of your Academic Tutors and the placement support staff you will be encouraged to source, apply and confirm your chosen placement(s). This will help you to develop a network and become confident in applying for opportunities within creative industries.



A single placement or series of placements can run continuously or sporadically throughout the placement period as long as a minimum of 15 weeks or 600 hours of design-related placement work and study is achieved. A placement can also seamlessly transfer into the Placement 2 module. This flexible opportunity offers you a potentially broad insight into how the design industry operates in differing market and innovation sectors. Being part of a design agency or in-house team means a greater understanding of design processes, market and product development cycles.



Through this work experience, you potentially gain exposure to design related professions such as brand strategy, marketing, social media content creation, manufacturing processes, as well as developing your own visual and general communication skills. Furthermore, the experience of applying your academic studies in a real work environment gives context and will help you to develop a confident and professional attitude and it will encourage you to become career ready, actively making informed decisions about your future. To consolidate this aim, you will be encouraged to maintain a digital diary of your learning, and professional experience, documenting the new skills and knowledge you acquire during your placement semester encouraging deep thinking, questioning and you will be asked to critically reflect and contextualise this learning in relation to your own professional practice.



Note, if you intend to continue with ‘Design Placement 2’ in semester 2 but are unable to complete or secure an industrial work placement in advance of the module starting you will be encouraged to switch to the 'Creative Studio' elective which connects to industry live design briefs, competitions and speculative design scenarios that thrive on mirroring real-world design.

More information

DE5026 -

Design Study Abroad 1 (Optional,60 Credits)

This module will give you the opportunity to undertake a semester abroad studying at a partner university completing the equivalent to 60 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. With the support of the Study Abroad team you will be encouraged to source, apply and confirm the course of study abroad. This opportunity will allow you to network and become confident in applying for opportunities within partner institutions. Your module credits, performance and attendance will be recorded by the host University via your learning agreement. The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on any year-long modules on which you are unable to attend via the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.



You will be encouraged to maintain a digital diary of your learning, documenting the new skills and knowledge you acquire during your study abroad period encouraging deep thinking, questioning and you will be asked to critically reflect and contextualise this learning in relation to your own professional practice.

More information

DE5027 -

Design Study Abroad 2 (Optional,60 Credits)

This module will give you the opportunity to undertake a semester abroad studying at a partner university completing the equivalent to 60 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. With the support of the Study Abroad team you will be encouraged to source, apply and confirm the course of study abroad. This opportunity will allow you to network and become confident in applying for opportunities within partner institutions. Your module credits, performance and attendance will be recorded by the host University via your learning agreement. The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on any year-long modules on which you are unable to attend via the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.



You will be encouraged to maintain a digital diary of your learning, documenting the new skills and knowledge you acquire during your study abroad period encouraging deep thinking, questioning and you will be asked to critically reflect and contextualise this learning in relation to your own professional practice.

More information

DE6018 -

Professional Design Practice (Core,20 Credits)

This module gives you the opportunity to respond to a brief from a real-world context, so that you can further hone your abilities, apply an increasingly professional level of ambition and self-criticism, and develop confidence in your potential as a designer post-graduation.

The module is composed of an advanced project brief selected from an appropriate national/international design competition or suitable live briefs. The studio-based teaching engages you with the criteria and requirements of the external body/client and supports you to refine your professional communication and presentation skills. The ‘live’ nature of the brief sets the tone for the studio teaching—an emphasis is placed upon your autonomous management of the project. You will be encouraged to work with independence as you research and understand the project’s context, and set your own goals and aspirations with regards the nature, quality and quantity of design work created. You will, therefore, learn how to respond to a creative challenge in an increasingly organised and self-assured manner.

Complementary workshop time and technical support will be provided by specialist cabinet-making, metal-smithing, machining and fabrication technicians to enable you to make any prototypes necessary for pitching your ideas. Here you will discover how carefully targeted prototyping practice can be used to efficiently and convincingly communicate the qualities of design work to a client.

More information

DE6019 -

Major Design Project (Core,60 Credits)

This module can be understood as the culmination of your undergraduate design studies. You are asked to research, write and respond to a self-directed design brief. The completed project should be a testament to your learning and a valuable demonstration of your interests and abilities as you graduate into professional practice or further study. Previous assignments throughout the degree have enabled and urged you to take a position on what contemporary material culture should be like. This is an opportunity to manifest these ideas through your practice and make artefacts that truly embody your values as a designer.


Whilst the precise nature of the project’s content is defined by you, this module will require you to engage with the same cultural issues that have surrounded the furniture and product design of previous modules. You will be encouraged to thoroughly research, analyse and articulate the context for your project, ensuring you learn how to frame your creative practice in a manner that is relevant and valuable to contemporary design. Following the thoughtful definition of your project, you will utilise studio and workshop time to prototype, develop and refine highly sophisticated answers to your design brief. You will be encouraged to work with ambition and to develop insightful contributions to your chosen area of practice. You will further your understanding of how to effectively manage a design project and be enabled to push your design knowledge, skills and creativity as far as possible.

More information

DE6020 -

Critical Design Evaluation (Core,20 Credits)

As you reach the end of your undergraduate studies and complete your Major Design Project, this complementary module will enable you to enhance your understanding of how your project work responds, and contributes, to the wider world of design practice. Upon graduation, the self-reflection and evaluation prompted by this module will allow you to confidently articulate the value of your Major Design Project outcomes, and the personal knowledge, skills and interests that underpin them.

This module’s learning is structured via the creation of a Critical Design Evaluation document which reflects upon, contextualises and expands the work you have completed through your Major Design Project. This module represents the culmination and consolidation of the contextual and theoretical studies aspects of your degree. The intention is to finesse and demonstrate your comprehension of how design knowledge and principles can be applied in practice. You will learn how to consider, position and discuss your creative practice with respect to relevant precedents and come to better understand its potential value and audience.

The module includes a series of professional practice studio sessions, which provide an outward-looking context as the backdrop to your activities. You will be encouraged to engage with external partners in the evaluation of your Major Design Project, so that you can develop insights into the real-world significance of your design practice, and where it may lead you upon graduation. You will learn to explore and reflect upon your own values and be encouraged to act with boldness and professional confidence when discussing your work.

More information

DE6021 -

Interchange 3 – Contemporary Challenges and Design Futures (Core,20 Credits)

On this module, you will undertake a brief that will either tackle current challenges to designers or explore design’s role in near-future visions of society. The module will challenge, inspire, and propel you into the future as a visionary designer or ‘change maker’ equipped to address some of the pressing issues of our time.



Design challenges and our responses are increasingly complex. Technology has automated many of the simplest design tasks, leaving designers to focus on solving more complex problems. To help tackle them, most designers work in multi-disciplinary teams. Even more individual design specialists such as designer-makers work co-operatively with other craft specialists, manufacturers and business professionals to bring their work to market.



Therefore, this module led by design tutors and other subject specialists enables you to work with peers and collaborators to address contemporary challenges or future opportunities. The choice of briefs may be developed in partnership with professional design teams, set by design competitions or written by your tutors in response to important design research or practice challenges.

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Careers & Employability

The Furniture & Product Design course has educated a significant number of successful designers over its 25-year plus history. Our graduates go on to pursue careers as designers and makers across the creative industries sector, including in furniture and product design studios, designing for manufacture, interaction design, in communications and branding and within the art world. As a student, you will develop the theoretical and practical skills required by professional practice within these fields and beyond. 

A post-graduation Designers in Residence scheme supported by the course staff has also enabled entrepreneurial graduates to set up businesses, including the Deadgood furniture brand and David Irwin Studios. 

 

Student Work

As a student, you will be encouraged to consider the positive contribution you could make to the world as a designer. You will synthesise aesthetics, function, technical knowledge, making skills, social responsibility and cultural awareness through a wide range of briefs.

Commercially driven projects might see you creatively utilise a manufacturer’s technical capacities and market position. New technologies could enable you to explore innovative forms, user-interactions or new approaches to sustainability issues. Diverse ideas and aesthetics from old or overlooked sources might inspire you to define new territories in contemporary practice. You will be empowered to develop and realise your vision of what material culture could and should be like.

 

close up photo of brass metal with indents in a honeycomb like pattern

REVEAL Design

Graduate Degree Showcase

Staff

Staff are supportive and enthusiastic teachers as well as being active design practitioners.

We regularly contribute work to national and international design exhibitions, ensuring our knowledge remains up-to-date and can inform your education. We have recently exhibited at New York Design Week, the Venice Biennale, and at shows around the UK.

 

Facilities

As a Furniture & Product Design student, you will benefit from generous access to studios, workshops and photography and computer facilities.

Studio spaces are set up for lectures/presentations as well as being suitable for creating sketch work and paper and card models. They will provide a base for you throughout your timetabled activities and beyond, as somewhere to share your learning experience with other students and staff.

Dedicated cabinet making, metal smithing, engineering, fabrication, 3D printing and CNC workshops are used to create prototypes. You will be inducted and supported in these spaces by specialist technicians, and work with increasing independence as your competence grows. You will make your own prototypes as part of a hands-on learning process.

 

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.

 

Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at 
www.northumbria.ac.uk/exp

Admissions Terms and Conditions
northumbria.ac.uk/terms

Fees and Funding
northumbria.ac.uk/fees

Admissions Policy
northumbria.ac.uk/adpolicy

Admissions Complaints Policy
northumbria.ac.uk/complaints



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