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This free course looks at the process of design, from assessing the complexity of design as an activity to exposing the difficulty in making general conclusions about how designers work. You will be able to identify innovation in a wide variety of designed objects and evaluate the impact of this innovation.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- recognise that functional artefacts have had input from a designer, with greater and lesser degrees of engineering input
- identify that engineering designers work within constraints of finance, materials properties, desired functionality, human factors, etc.
- understand that design exploits models of the product being designed, whether those models are physical mock-ups, computer-based models, or mathematical models which explore an element of the product’s performance
- understand that there is rarely a unique solution to any design problem. Part of the skill of a designer is in finding a problem–solution pair, and the best compromise
- understand how models of the design process are formulated, and how they can be applied to understand the development of a particular product or product family.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Design and designing
- 1.1 Design
- 1.2 Problems and solutions
- 1.3 What is good design and good designing?
- 1.4 Designing as model-making and model-using
- 1.5 Design and needs
- 1.6 Designing as heuristic problem-solving
- 1.7 Design as finding a good problem – solution pair
- 1.8 Design, creativity, invention and innovation
- 1.9 Design is …
- 2 Design and innovation 1: the plastic kettle
- 3 Models of the design process
- 4 Conceptual design
- 5 Concept to prototype
- 6 Design and innovation 3: the Brompton folding bicycle
- 7 Conclusions
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
This course looks at the process of design – from assessing the complexity of design as an activity, to exposing the difficulty in making general conclusions about how designers work. You will be able to identify innovation in a wide variety of designed objects and evaluate the impact of this innovation.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Design courses or view the range of currently available OU Design courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 17th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 17th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
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