Icons 1423863146 design industrial design Industrial Design

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People have been making things since the beginning of time to enhance everyday life. Industrial Design, as a field of design, emerged in the late 1920s and early 1930s and is now a rapidly changing field which embraces advances in technology and materials and continually attempts to improve our living quality. Industrial design mixes objects, systems and environments in forward-looking, elegant and environmentally beneficial ways. In addition to function and use, objects are both embedded with and expressive of ideas, values, culture and beliefs of the people who experience and use them. Design aspects specified by the industrial designer may include: user research, material experimentation, prototype modeling, overall shape of the object, the location of details with respect to one another, colors, texture, sounds, all aspects of use of the product, ergonomics and lifecycle.

Design begins and ends with people!

Activity 1 – Design A Teapot

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Drinking tea is an ancient art and pastime. Tea leaves supposedly blew into a Chinese emperor’s hot water and the taste of tea was celebrated as exotic as well as medicinal. All tea comes from an evergreen shrub. Tea is brewed in tea pots. For this age old ritual, you have been asked to design a tea pot. Think of the shape and interior volume for steeping. Aromas should rise and circulate as the tea leaves color and season the water. Remember the process of making hot water, pouring in hot water, holding the tea, removing the tea, watching the leaves open and release flavor into the water, touching the pot, and pouring the tea. Will you design tea cups that match the tea pot? Will you design a tea service? Will you design a tea pavilion for serving and drinking tea; a place for relaxing and enjoying the moment?

Art of Tea

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Activity 2 – Design a Mobile Carry-All

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People are on the go. People carry things from here to there, from there to here. What do you carry? What do you think other people need to carry? How big should a carry-all be and how should it be carried? Should it protect stored things from inclement weather? Should it be flexible to accommodate change of shape? How should it open and close? Look at typical back packs and messenger bags. Are there other functions the carry-all could provide? Rain shelter? Ground cover? Table cloth?

So many to choose from!

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Activity 3 – Sentient Environments

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If your walls could talk, what would they say? What would they do? Would they transmit light, mirror images, be TV or computer screens, show the weather, be a camera phone? Think of windows and think of solid walls. What else could exist between closure and opening? Could a wall be made up of hundreds of light sensitive panes of glass? Could a wall be glowing texture? Could a wall emit heat? Envision a new type of wall, an intelligent wall. Describe it, draw it and share it. You can use collage, drawing or even Google SketchupGoogleSketchUp to model new kinds of walls.


  • Though different cultures and regions have specific ideas about design, the need for lifestyle improvement through design is global.
  • Designers of objects, systems, and environments consider needs, behaviors and desires.
  • Fabrication and production processes are part of the design of objects.
  • User-centered research is an activity that focuses on the people that will use the products or environments.
  • Experiments with materials in new ways can create new forms.
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