Product Design - BA (Hons)

Product Design at Edinburgh College of Art - programme video

Teaching the product innovators of the future

We provide a dynamic learning experience that explores cutting-edge methods of design to enable students to operate at the forefront of the discipline. We believe that the only way to create the product design innovators of the future is to teach students the research skills needed to discover unique opportunities for design, the thinking skills to see their world critically and the design skills and technical knowledge required to develop those opportunities into desirable products that meet real needs.

Our mission is to ensure that students develop the necessary creative, technical, thinking and interpersonal skills to become highly employable graduates, entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We seek to unlock the potential of students’ ingenuity to address the challenges they will face designing new and improved products. We believe in cultivating empathic, experimental and provocative designers with excellent communication skills; flexible design thinkers, able to take advantage of change, and able to discover unique, genuine problems and opportunities for the design of original, useful and thought-provoking products.

Our definition of product design is broad; encompassing all manner of objects from mass produced consumer goods to batch-produced limited edition pieces and from commercially focused products to products designed to meet humanitarian needs. You will be taught through a hands-on, project-led approach, and will work on design briefs that enable you to design a wide range of products ranging from electronic products to furniture, lighting to fashion accessories, products designed for the home and garden to products designed for use in public environments.

You will develop a wide range of knowledge and skills including design research, research analysis, creative thinking, design sketching, critical thinking, product semantics, model making, computer aided design, computer aided engineering drawing, model making, electronic prototyping, workshop prototyping, computer-aided design, ergonomics, anthropometrics, manufacturing materials, design for manufacturing processes, rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing, additive manufacturing, production economics, sustainability, computer presentation tools and visual communication, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the product design process.

We encourage students to take risks, to rebel, to reject the status quo by trying new things, to be radical, to see things differently and to work with people to develop solutions that change things. We teach students that designing innovative products is an iterative, experimental process that involves working with others, a process that often involves a great deal of risk taking, and therefore also a great deal of failure, but that failure and having to do something many times to succeed is not something to fear but to embrace as an often necessary part of the process of making things better than they are.

Our programme is focused on developing designers who are not only able to understand consumer markets, branding, business development and manufacturing, but also environmental issues, social responsibility and people’s needs, and how product design can be used to improve our lives.

Who should study this programme?

If you are interested in the man-made objects that surround us, in why things look the way they do, in how things make people feel, in how things work, in materials and technology and how things are made, in questioning and challenging existing ideas and ways of doing things, in learning different ways of researching with people in order to discover their needs, in learning the methods used to help generate creative ideas, and in learning the knowledge, skills and process required to develop ideas into successful products, then we’re the programme for you.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • Our strong international reputation, the employability of our graduates and success of our alumni, who can be found working as product designers, design managers, and entrepreneurs around the globe.
  • Within stimulating teaching sessions in well-equipped studios, computer labs and prototyping workshops you will learn about leading edge research and design development methods used to discover opportunities for design, and you will learn how to develop those opportunities into innovative, useful, usable and thought-provoking products.
  • The programme teaches you the entire product design process and provides you with the opportunity to learn how to design innovative, desirable products that fulfil people’s needs. You will learn how to design products that can be economically manufactured, products that create opportunities for business, products that benefit society and products that question, challenge and provoke thought about the future of the world in which we live.   
  • Small year groups of typically 12 to 18 students coupled with extensive one-to-one studio-based teaching, guidance, support and advice from experienced and dedicated practicing product designers, design researchers and workshop technicians, all with a passion for design, and opportunities to learn from a variety of inspirational visiting designers and design researchers.
  • You will have the opportunity to undertake one or more industry internships and our strong links with industry mean that each year you will work on one or more live projects for companies. Previous industry briefs have been set by a variety of global design-led manufacturing companies including Philips, Herman Miller, Franke, Salcomp and NCR and also humanitarian organisations such as Oxfam.

Student work

Staff

Prof Chris Speed, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Mark Kobine | View staff profile >

Geoffrey Mann | View staff profile >

Dr Dave Murray-Rust | View staff profile >

Isla Munro

Dr Larissa Pschetz

Arno Verhoeven | View staff profile >

Facilities

Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

Welding torches, a forge, forming and shaping tools, and a 1-ton gantry crane with access to main workshop areas.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

Includes a screen-printing room, relief room, lithography room, process room, intaglio room, and caseroom.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

Screen-printing facilities, a camera room, a digital fabric printer, and drawing studios with individual workstations.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Woodworking tools and machinery include laser cutters, a vacuum former, and a 3D scanner and printer.

News & events

Outside prototype 1 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of a student demonstrating a concept for a new product
Elliot explains the concept of his project to passers-by

Product Design student, Elliot Benjamin, makes use of the space to gain feedback for a co-housing project.

Tereza Astilean 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of a student wearing her product
Tereza Astilean modelling her Verpakt jacket
Winner of the New Designers Pentland Brands Award
Image courtesy of New Designers

Tereza Astilean scoops a paid internship within the global company’s Design Talent Team.

Contact

College of Humanities & Social Science Undergraduate Admissions Office

Email: hssug@ed.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565