Product design is seen as a creative process that considers human needs and responds to them. The course encourages the development of specific skills and knowledge associated with product design including research, analysis, drawing, making and testing prototypes along with evaluation and reflection of progress and outcomes.
The core element of the course is based on the creative design processes (how to design) and the innovative use of materials. You will have the opportunity to look at all aspects of the designing activity, investigating and solving problems of a practical and theoretical nature, and developing a critical awareness of design history and context. Design ideas are expressed through a process of drawing and modelling including CAD and CNC manufacturing. You will be instructed in the use of a wide range of tools and equipment and the practical use of a range of materials.
There is a bespoke design studio and two specialist workshops for wood and metal, and the department has a good range of expertise, with resources for drawing, as well as excellent computer graphics and CAD/CAM equipment. You will need to show initiative in undertaking research and background investigation as part of home study in addition to work done in the College. You will need to provide some of your own equipment for use at home.
Component 1 (personal investigation) makes up 60% of the final grade and provides students with the opportunity to explore materials and experiment with their use. There will also be a personal study related to developing themes and involves a written element of between 1000 and 3000 words.
Component 2 (externally set assignment) assesses students' ability to work independently in response to a chosen starting point and makes up the remainder 40%. Students have a period of preparation in which to explore ideas, materials and processes before embarking on a making task that constitutes 15 hours of supervised work.
To enrol for an A level programme we normally expect applicants to have achieved good GCSE passes in at least six subjects, these must:
• demonstrate the suitability for Advanced Level study
• have been achieved at Grade 4/C as a minimum
• include two at Grade 5/B as a minimum
Mathematics - If not achieved within the scope of the above should normally be achieved at grade 3/D. If mathematics is not achieved at grade 4/C then it will be a requirement to continue to study at the correct level until a grade 4 is achieved. Subjects with a mathematical content will require a higher grade.
In addition to the standard College entry requirements, this particular course normally requires a student to have achieved Grade 4 or above in a GCSE Art and Design course or Grade 4 in GCSE Design and Technology (Graphic Products or Resistant Materials). To fully support students who have gained a grade 4 in GCSE in an Art and Design Technology subject, or those who have not had the opportunity to study these subjects at GCSE, we will ask you to do a short drawing task as part of the enrolment procedure. This is to ensure that you can successfully meet the rigors of the course. It would also be helpful for students to bring with them examples of their creative work on enrolment day.
Foundation course in Art and Design, leading to a degree in some aspect of Art or Design e.g. Interior Design, Furniture, Industrial/Product, Ceramics and other craft-based courses, and Fashion. Other degree or diploma courses. A Level Design is recognised by all universities for entry purposes. Some engineering-based design courses also require A Level Mathematics.
What does the course combine well with?
A Level Design combines well with other practical subjects such as Graphics, Art or Photography. Mathematics and Physics also complement the subject well.