This is the transcript for the video Bachelor of Design in Product Design

Roderick Walden:

Okay. All right. So to beginning with, I’d like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands our City campus now stands. And coincidentally it’s the same place from which I’m delivering this presentation, which is Merrickville. But I’d also like to pay respect to elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land. The session is going to be recorded and will only record audio and screen-share. We’ll not be recording any video input from you. By taking part in the session you understand and acknowledge that information will be used for the purposes detailed above, which is for teaching and learning purposes, et cetera, et cetera. And further this, the recording may be published online for additional answering of questions and so forth.

If you would like to ask a question, you can type a question into the Q&A box, which you’ll see at the bottom of your screen and someone from our team will then answer your question. So the University of Technology is located in Sydney, the UTS campus, it’s close to Central Station Town Hall, and there’s a nice wall through the city to the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. So that gives you an idea of where we are. And this session is going to be about the Bachelor of Design in Product Design. My name is Rod Walden, I’m the program director for the degree, and I’m going to be going through some of the features of our program.

So the product design program operates within the school of design in the City Campus, in the Peter Johnson Building. First of all, about product design. So almost every product you’ve come in contact with was designed by a product designer, from computers to outdoor furniture, equipment tools, motor vehicles, parts inside motor vehicles, any kind of manufactured artifact has been developed by the industrial for a product designer. In our course, we pride ourselves on developing graduates that are capable of navigating and responding to an increasingly complex environment. There are a lot of emerging concerns that we have to deal with in product design, including the climate emergency or the consumption and waste, digitization and the fragmentation of commercial and manufacturing needs.

The course is formerly known as industrial design, and essentially we do still prepare you for work in industrial design industry. But product design has been the name we’ve adopted because we want to take a broader approach to questions concerning the development of products beyond the appeal utility. And sometimes that means developing products that are more speculative, that respond to the concerns of manufacturing, might not necessarily be for high volume production and commercialization. And that means that it enables our course to be a little bit more investigative and critical in its approach. And you can see here some examples of products that perhaps don’t ordinarily fit into the large scale manufacturing marred. And if you’ve got any questions about those, I’d be happy to answer them later.

In our course, we aim for collaboration and information sharing with other professional disciplines. And the outcomes are not products in isolation, but rather responses to behavioral, societal, environmental, strategic, and technological values. You can see here’s some work from our students, range and all sorts of sizes and levels of detail for different industries for different kinds of research.

Studying product design at UTS. So what I’d like to do now is go through the various years of studying through the course and describe a little bit of what goes on year-by-year. Again, this is some student work that was put on display here. And if anything looks exciting for you, then please ask a question. And so in first year, the first year of study is foundational. And it’s in the foundation year that skills are developed. Everything you do in product design is project based. There are no exams. They might be quizzes from time to time on particular areas of knowledge, but there are no formal exams. So everything is assessed through project work. And we set up projects right from the beginning in first year to help you develop the ability to manage and self-direct the development of the design through its various phases.

In the first year, we concentrate on drawing, sketching, and rendering, physical modeling in the workshop, computer-aided design, of course, using the SolidWorks software and other kinds of software that we have available. We look at issues concerning integrated product design, which means is product design that is innovative and requires integration from other areas of knowledge or fields of expertise. And also we introduce you to product design history.

In the second year, we focus on technical knowledge. And it’s technical knowledge embedded across a range of industry practices and concerns. The projects are more complicated and invite opportunities for meaningful innovation. And you can see here some examples of the work from our second year students. We look at manufacturing, technology, research methods, digital and analog UX, designing and sustainability. And we also, in second year, open up an option for you to take electives in product design. We have a range of product design specific electives that you might be interested in taking such as furniture design, object and accessory, and other types of electives, such as generative design and topology optimization, which maybe some of you know about or perhaps it’s new for you, but that’s a kind of a computer by some modeling using artificial intelligence. So we have a range of different electives that you might be interested in looking at when you reach the second year.

Here’s some examples of some more work. The image you see on the bottom right of the screen is an industry project. Sometimes in second year what we’re able to do is set up industry partnerships, and that enables you to work with an industry partner on a project that has been devised through collaboration with UTS. This particular project looked at the design of a super blue canister and all of the students produced concepts for the company settings in this case. But we have many different industry partners that we work with for industry type projects.

The third year, the program expands upon the knowledge and skills develop, and invites you to be more critical and strategically minded in your design work. So the briefs are much more open. You have to identify the avenue for design and dimension and develop a rationale for that to be a meaningful and responsible avenue to pursue. We concentrate on professional communication, advanced manufacturing technology, smart design, and Product Design Major Studio. Product Design Major Studio is the main project you will do in your degree, unless you move on and take the honors option. So in Major Studio, it’s a year long project where you concentrate just on the development of one particular design. And we have to develop obviously very finished deliverables along with a comprehensive report, images, prototypes, a whole sequence of things that are required there.

I’m going to show you a video now, which is of a project from our subject, advanced manufacturing technology. And I know that we’re short on time, so I might have to jump through Q&A. So in the interest of time, I’m just going to leave up there. This is a [inaudible 00:11:48] obviously, that’s being developed using additive manufacturing technologies. It uses a technology called fused filament fabrication, which in this case combines carbon fiber filament with a nylon alloy to create a part which is incredibly strong, that has a certain degree of flexibility. And these parts are produced at UTS throughout ProtoSpace Group. You can see it’s a high level resolution print, and in this case, the students are able to test the part by mounting into the skateboard and running around, and you can see how that works.

And it’s also been developed in subject, which looks at using the computer to work out to a certain degree before you build the part, how it’s going to perform. Also on this page, you can see there is a website that you can go to, or you can see more work from our students, both in bachelors and in honors. In honors, we take things to a new level. So by the end of the three years you’re industry ready, you can start working in an industrial design consultancy or manufacturing company as an industrial designer. Or if you want to, and the opportunity is available to you working in other industries that made industrial design know-how that perhaps don’t necessarily manufacture products or are in the product manufacturing space, which has happened in the past for our graduates as well.

But honors is about critically analyzing the role of the profession and the responsibility of design. And so in honors what you produce is a very comprehensive and detailed dissertation, one that is suitably comprehensive enough for you to perhaps gain entry into the master’s program, or if you wanted to continue on to do a PhD. But you also produce prototypes throughout the year and a very resolved outcome. This is a project from an honors student, I’ll just play this for you.

So in this project, Dominic, the student, is investigating the role of furniture in office spaces. And his research identified there were opportunities to create shared desking solutions in combination with more emotionally designed and modular, let’s say modular components that can create a personal space and also be shared amongst people in the workspace. So this comes about through a great deal of research and development. Another example honors project is this one from Ella Williams, which is the development of a product using a bio-derived material.

So it’s a little bit complicated to go into right now, but essentially with additive manufacturing becoming more and more accessible by industry, we have to start thinking about the appropriateness of using petrochemical based plastics in that technology. And so there are initiatives which look at developing bio-derived formulations that can actually be printed, and that’s what Ella was working on. Of course, this is a very difficult thing to achieve because while we know all the rules necessary for developing a plastic injection molding, the rules required for developing a printed part, using a bio-derived slurry, is completely unknown. So there’s a lot of testing and computational work required in order to make that possible. And Ella is continued on and is now doing a PhD with us and continuing this research.

This is another project in honors, which is the development of a chair made from recycled polyethylene material. I’ll show you the video, but I’ll have to sort of cut this off a little bit because we don’t have much time. (singing) So what’s happening here is Will is producing these, let’s call them logs, using recycled PT. And he’s cast them into a solid form, which can then be machined. So if we jump forward, you can see that he is able to machine and cut these pieces into various shapes, and assemble them together into interesting forms. The volume of the plastic enables it to be held together in a quite a durable way, which opens up opportunities for further machining. And if we move forward here you’ll see.

So the material after it’s all been assembled together, is held in this jig mounted onto a work plane. And we have a robotic arm with a machining bit attached to it, which follows a path which is generated in the computer, three-dimensional tool path, which has generated in the computer that mimics the design of the chair, and then the chair is machined nice and smooth. So essentially the project, the chair’s beautiful, but what the project does is investigates the opportunity to use recycled polyethylene in new ways with advanced technologies.

So before I continue, we have Charlotte Campbell with us. And Charlotte has been a student with us.

Charlotte Campbell:


Roderick Walden:

Hi Charlotte. And I just wanted to hand over to Charlotte to make a few comments about studying at UTS in product design.

Charlotte Campbell:

Thanks Rod. I just wanted to summarize my experience at UTS during the product design course. It was a fantastic course, but I think the key takeaway that I wanted to share was that this course, I suppose, mostly in first year, you really get equipped with all the fundamental skills that you need to be a product designer, and then in second, they build upon that. And then by third year you can really just sort of run with it. And it’s sort of a big sandbox where you’ve got all the support, and you’ve got the facilities, and you’ve got a lot of space to be experimental and be adventurous and really explore and find your interests and find what within product design really motivates you. And then you’ve got the opportunity to kind of run with that and then do that big major project by the end of the year.

So you’ve really got everything at your disposal, so I would definitely encourage anyone who’s interested in doing this course to really just make the most of your time there because you do really have all your tutors and mentors and all these facilities and things for you to really just play around and really explore what you’re interested in. So I think it’s a fantastic course and that’s all I wanted to share really. Thank you Rod.

Roderick Walden:

Thank you, Charlotte. Thank you. We have a small team of academics at this point, but you can find out our information on the website. If you go to the UTS website, you can find information about our background and our research. We’re heavily involved in research that concerns matters of industry innovation, developing our processes and strategies for better opportunities for innovation, particularly in small to medium manufacturing enterprises. And we do a lot of industry based projects. Our connections to industry are very strong. Most of the academics in the program come from practice, were transitioned from practice into academia. So we know how the industry works, and we work very closely with our colleagues in industry.

So we’re a small team in terms of full-time academic staff. We have tremendous access to great people in industry who come in as casual academics. And these are the people that run the design studios. They are the studio leaders who will guide you through your design projects. And this is a rolling roster of people that we contact from time to time. This is just a relatively short list, in fact. So we rely heavily on those people and they’re the people that really make the course relevant and up-to-date, I would say. We also have technical staff and staff in a digital workshop capacity. So we do analog and digital modeling. In our level two workshop, we have Tony, Andrew, and Richard, who will help you with physical models. And in the digital workshop, we have Brooke and a range of honors and third year students also help Brooke printing parts. We have a local digital workshop that does fused deposition modeling for us.

In terms of study options, there’s the Bachelor of Design in Product Design, and that’s the one I’ve been talking about. And after three years, if you get good marks, you will be offered a place in our honors program. It’s an extra one year for honors, but it’s optional. We strongly encourage you to do honors because we think, and the evidence indicates that students gain better positions in industry after completing the honors degree. There’s also the Bachelor of Design in Product Design, Bachelor of Arts and International Studies, it’s a combined degree, and also the Bachelor of Design in Product Design, Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation, again, that’s a combined degree.

In the interest of time, I’m not going to go through the combined group degrees, there’s lots of information online that you can use to find you can access to find out about those degrees. The structure for the basic course, the main course, I should say, not the basic course, but the main course looks like this. So you have opportunities for electives in second and third year, and across first, second and third year, there are a design study subjects that you do as well. Design study subjects, interdisciplinary subjects, where you work with students from other design disciplines from within the school of design. And then at the end of the honors degree, you have a full big 12 credit point subjects to work on your big project.

In terms of facilities, we have the fabrication workshop on level two and a maker space that I’ve talked about already. We also have an advanced fabrication lab, and that’s where you saw the robot machining, the big chair in the video I just showed you. And we also have Protospace, which is located in the science building, and that has a lot of advanced printing technologies, including printers that can print in metal and a range of different polyamide alloys and combination of materials, also large format 3D printing as well.

Right now we can’t enjoy Global Studios, but ordinarily we would have Global Studios running. In the past, we’ve gone to the Milano Furniture Fair, Scandinavia, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea. And sometimes those studios involve doing a short project. Obviously it involves traveling with a group of students overseas and maybe working on a short project associated with product design. It can sometimes also mean working with other design institutes or other universities.

Sometimes also we have special projects. These are projects where they might be cross faculty, so we might do a project with engineering, or it might be a project led by industry professionals in an industry context, where students are involved in helping the studio later develop concepts or solutions. And it also leads to exposure, impact, and publication, which is also very good. Our graduates find themselves all over the place, both locally and internationally. This is just a small range of companies that our graduates of working in, and they include, as you can see, they’re industrial design consultancies, manufacturing companies that develop technology and products, packaging companies, service design industry, sports product industry, furniture, quite a full range of different opportunities there.

That completes my presentation. Thank you for your attention.