Product Development + Manufacturing Course Descriptions

Core: Level One Courses

Refer to Certificate Program Guide for specific semesters offered.

Drawing is an essential means of communicating, and central to every artist’s and designer’s practice. This class is a more rigorous and sustained introduction to the drawing medium. Drawing I students begin learning to define shapes and forms with line: investigating weight, direction and speed through gesture, contour and planar analysis. Then moving on to value, using both additive and reductive ways of working, they learn to utilize the power of light and dark to create a sense of texture, volume and space. Spatial systems, including perspective, are investigated as well as fundamentals of composition to construct dynamic imagery. Measuring and attention to negative space are essential skills used and reinforced throughout the learning process. Transcribing what is seen or imagined into visual form utilizing multiple approaches, from note taking to rendering to diagramming and sketching, is explored. The class is structured around demonstrations, guided exercises, and sustained drawing of varied subject matter including still-life, landscape, architecture and the human form.

Design is the discipline underlying all forms of visual expression, and an understanding of design principles is the basis for all art forms. This course introduces students to the formal elements of design: line, shape, pattern, value, texture, color and space. Working through a variety of challenging exercises, students use these elements to engage with problems of visual organization. Deliberate and considered placement of visual elements into an organized whole is the basis of composition, and skills acquired in this course have direct applications to anyone working in art and design, from painters and artists to art directors, illustrators, interior designers and interactive designers.

Color is one of the most powerful, and complex, tools at the artist’s disposal. Bridging the divide between color theory and color practice, this studio course distills the essentials of color mechanics into workable studies and projects. Students explore color through creative exercises using collage and paint to understand color and how to use it effectively. Explorations of the role of light, the psychological impact of color, and how such factors as hue, value and intensity affect design are integral to the learning. Slide-illustrated presentations address the historical background of the use of color. Through the process of experiencing the interface of color theory and color application, guidelines toward developing a personal palette are discussed. Mastery of color is essential in the work of artists, illustrators, craftspeople and designers, making this course an ideal starting point.

Product design shapes the world around us, and has the power to build meaningful user experiences. From your shoes to your phone, every aspect has been thoughtfully considered and created by a product designer. In this course, students are introduced to the design process and skills used within the profession. Through a series of projects and demonstrations, students learn how to bring concepts to life through research, concept generation, refinement and prototyping. Hard skills such as drawing techniques and basic scale model making are also addressed, and students leave the course with the beginning of a product design portfolio.

Explore the interdisciplinary relationship between imaging, coding, text, animation and video that come together as the designer’s toolkit. This fast-paced digital media course is ideal for the novice or even the intermediate user desiring a better understanding of computer-based workflow. A single unified Web design project, built over 12 sessions, is broken down into manageable lessons that include bitmap editing, vector graphics, page layout, image capture, preservation and manipulation. The terminology, protocols and connections between products are made clear as you become familiar with the techniques necessary for anyone who designs digitally.

Varies by semester. Electives may be taken at any point in the program, provided prerequisites have been met.

Concentration: Level Two Courses

Refer to Certificate Program Guide for specific semesters offered.
Note: Successful completion of the Core curriculum (above) is crucial prior to starting the Concentration level.

This course includes the use of a variety of media, substrates and techniques, providing students with the confidence to render and draw effectively. As each rendering technique is introduced, students are able to apply their newly acquired skills to in-class exercises, critiques and weekly assignments that advance in complexity. The work ranges from quick ideation sketches and rapid visualization to the creation of fully rendered images with markers, pencils and pastels. The course provides a foundation for any designer who wishes to incorporate rendering and sketching into their projects and to communicate visually with clients, vendors and other designers.

Understanding and selecting materials is a critical part of the product development process, whether building prototypes or designing for manufacturability. This course introduces students to various materials through hands-on activities, relevant demonstrations and engaging lectures. Students leave the course with an understanding of different materials and their properties, an introduction to manufacturing processes, and the ability to manipulate materials to visually communicate ideas.

Rhino is the industry standard of 3D modeling applications, both affordable and easy to learn. Its files can be exported into any program that supports surfaces or solids, or into CAD/CAM and other prototyping applications used by product designers, as well as those used for architectural and jewelry design and rendering, computer animation, filmmaking and Web design. Realistic renderings are generated by outputting to programs such as Maya, Flash, Photoshop and other popular software. Work begins with a sketch, drawing or physical model and Rhino provides the tools to construct realistic models. Learning the communication language unique to this 3D modeling application allows students to fully realize their designs, as they produce the illusion of three dimensions in digital form. Note: Prior 3D modeling experience is not required. This course is taught on a Mac platform.

Contextual research is the study of people in their natural environments in order to better understand their needs, which then informs product development decision-making and activities. As the basis for a robust user-centered design process, students are introduced to various methods of contextual research including interview techniques, observation methodologies and interpretation of findings. Students learn through short lectures and hands-on projects how to conduct relevant and useful research. In the end, students will recognize the importance of research in the product design process and will have the confidence and knowledge to run their own research projects in the future.

Not only does product design shape the world around us, but it also shapes our personal experiences. Consider the relationship you have with your mobile device, toothbrush or television remote. The best ones are safe, easier and more enjoyable to use, and serve the needs of people of all types. Students further their commitment to product design and the skills used within that profession. Building on skills in research, concept generation, drawing and prototyping, they add a more thoughtful examination of the feedback loop that makes the end user (consumer) an essential part of the process. Lecture topics in ergonomics, kinesiology and biomechanics are presented as students complete four projects that add breadth to their product design portfolio.

Your ambitions for your product design idea must go beyond the satisfying, but limited, idea of the prototype. As you build on the human factors that inform all good design, your next step is to consider the scale, timeline and persistence of the underlying story you want to tell with your creation. This course is the laboratory where you can consider every step between you and the end user as you consider supply chains, resource management, and a future that could include frequent updates, innovation cycles and the inevitable product obsolescence. Vendor, publisher and distribution relationships are discussed and lectures in legal topics (trademark, copyright and patent filing and protection) are presented.

Students produce a final project for current and forthcoming markets in a course where they will demonstrate fundamental knowledge of, and proficiency in, all aspects of product development through manufacturing. They will employ empathic communication and other design thinking concepts to illustrate the critical and creative abilities gained. Their projects will exhibit understanding of and choices made at each stage of the design process, including challenges faced and how they were addressed, as well as sociocultural, historical and current industry references. Business practices and methods for presenting design solutions are also taught for those who are about to begin, or have already commenced, a career in product development. Certificate students: Your instructor will schedule a final portfolio review date, independent of the scheduled class dates.

Varies by semester. Electives may be taken at any point in the program, provided prerequisites have been met.