A holistic approach to product design
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Journal: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education: Design Education for Future Wellbeing, EPDE 2012
The demand and expectations for manufactured products continues to grow whilst the level of technology employed in their design becoming more sophisticated and critical. As a result, in educating young designers the education philosophy employed in teaching product design demands an input from both technological and humanistic perspectives. Design demands compromise and only when due consideration is made to all relevant areas leading to optimal decisions being taken will good design result. It is imperative that engineering design students not only learn the importance of this but adopt into their design activities such a philosophy as second nature. Design output may be considered as delivering a "specification to manufacture" and accurate communication is imperative for all down-stream activities to occur. With a foundation in mathematics and sciences, the subject of technology is often shunned if not feared by design students. The challenge is to encourage and nurture appropriate skills and knowledge to enable development of the designers to meet future design industries demands. This paper discusses a project based teaching approach employing input from cross discipline sources that culminates in a major design activity in the students final year. Experience and benefits gained are described with particular emphasis being given to the way hard technology is integrated with human requirements and sociological considerations to enable optimal design decisions to be made.