DE4008 - Design History, Theory & Context

What will I learn on this module?

This module comprises three fundamental elements that underpin the study of industrial design: Historical and Critical Design Studies; Materials and Processes; and Human Factors and Critical Analysis. Combined, these elements will equip you to develop as a designer who makes responsible, creative and critically aware decisions with an aesthetic and cultural sensitivity when designing for human need.

Through Historical and Critical Design Studies you will explore the history of design through a chronological survey of key styles, movements and practitioners. You will also explore the underlying historical and cultural factors that shape design history. Classes will examine themes such as Modernism, Art Deco, Streamlining and Postmodernism. These classes will develop your knowledge of design history, expanding your visual vocabulary as a designer and enabling you to take inspiration from the design of the past. We will also consider the wider social and cultural significance of design practice, reflecting on issues such as the meanings of design, the role of the designer and the position of design within society. Through lectures, seminars and workshops, you will develop study skills vital for academic success and for your future career as design professionals.

Materials and Processes will focus on developing your understanding of both traditional, contemporary and emerging manufacturing materials and the processes involved in manipulating them. Classes will focus on the properties of materials as they relate to the designer and will allow you to learn through the study of existing products and the design decisions involved in their creation. The environmental implications and consequences of material choices and production methods will be central to this element of the module.

The study of Human Factors and Critical Analysis will introduce you to the principles of ergonomics, anthropometrics and human-centred design in relation to physical and interactive digital products and services. You will learn how to critically evaluate such products and how to establish appropriate criteria to guide your design decision making.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered through the School of Design’s Extended Studio approach (X-Studio) that embraces our physical studios as well as our virtual spaces to create a flexible and rich environment that is responsive to our learners’ needs.

The module is taught through a combination of illustrated weekly lectures, supported by seminars and/or group and individual discursive and creative tasks. Your participation in seminars and creative tasks is strongly encouraged and will help you to develop and communicate your ideas. Each session will involve presentations by the tutor to establish key terms of reference, followed by group discussion of the issues raised.

Directed learning and reading will encourage independent research, visual analysis of design objects and critical reflection on design theory and practice.

Set assignments will provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate your learning in each of the module elements. They will, for example, require you to: form and articulate your own viewpoints, demonstrating your understanding of particular topics; develop and present a detailed explanation of how a product is manufactured; and demonstrate critical analysis of a product and re-design it using ergonomic principles.

You will be supported in the skills of academic essay writing through the use of formative and summative learning and through the use of Turnitin.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Academic support will be provided through seminars and individual tutorials. Seminars and tutorials will give you the opportunity to identify and discuss assessment criteria, both at the planning stage and as you engage with tasks. The seminars and tutorials will offer you support with any specific issues or concerns. Sample student work will be provided via the eLearning Portal to guide you in your preparation. Study skills sessions will ensure good practice for everyone following the module. Formative feedback will be ongoing in group learning sessions. Written feedback will be provided within 20 working days of assignment submission.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MK4.3 - Demonstrate an awareness of key historical and contemporary design issues, theory, debates and contexts and how these influence design practice.

MK4.4 Build an appreciation of the materials and processes through which products are fabricated.


Intellectual/Professional Skills & Abilities

MI4.3 - Source, review and reflect on industrial design-related issues and apply this knowledge to the creation of critical arguments and design concepts.

MI4.4 – Analyse human factors to improve the design of a product.


Personal Value Attributes
MP4.3 – Engage with your peers to explore historical and contemporary design issues and manage your own learning.

MP4.4 - Demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues and responsible design practice and how to apply these to your own practice.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment comprises four assignments that together test your knowledge and understanding of the module elements.

For Historical and Critical Design Studies you will be asked to write two separate short, illustrated essays. Each essay will be of 1000 words maximum. Essay #1 will contribute 15% of the module grade and will be submitted at the end of Semester 1. Essay #2 will contribute 15% of the module grade and will be submitted at the end of Semester 2.

Your understanding of Materials and Processes in design will be assessed through the creation of a Case Study Presentation. This assignment will contribute 35% of the module grade and will be submitted at the end of Semester 1.

Human Factors and Critical Analysis will be assessed through the completion of a human factors evaluation and ergonomic re-design of an existing product. This assignment will contribute 35% of the module grade and will be submitted at the end of Semester 2.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

DE4007 - Industrial Design Foundation
DE4009 – Communicating Design

Module abstract

This module comprises three fundamental elements that underpin the study of industrial design: Historical and Critical Design Studies; Materials and Processes; and Human Factors and Critical Analysis. Combined, these elements will equip you to develop as a designer who makes responsible, creative and critically aware decisions with an aesthetic and cultural sensitivity when designing for human need.

Employing the School of Design’s Extended Studio approach (X-Studio), you will learn through a combination of on-line lectures and face-to-face seminars and by engaging in real-world enquiry outside the university. A range of individual and group tasks characterise the module thus helping to build essential employability ‘soft-skills’ whilst embedding key theoretical and critical knowledge and understanding.

The module takes advantage of the latest research in all three elements of study and employs this knowledge in ways that brings it to life for students so that they can understand its importance to their development as budding design professionals.

Course info

UCAS Code W240

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2021 or September 2022

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Courses starting in 2021 are offered as a mix of online and face to face teaching due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Students will be required to attend campus as far as restrictions allow. Contact time will increase as restrictions ease, or decrease, potentially to a full online offer, should restrictions increase.

Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.

 

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