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Product and Furniture Design courses application portfolio advice

Your Portfolio

Product and Furniture Design courses are rigorous, demanding and rewarding. You should show a wide variety of skills and be confident about both drawing on demand and creating prototypes in a workshop environment. If applying for BSc Product Design your portfolio does not need not be as artistically accomplished as those of BA and MDes applicants, however your work should demonstrate both an interest and knowledge of the more technical aspects of design and of engineering generally.

A good portfolio should consist of quality not quantity, be selective about what to include and avoid repetition. Ensure that your work is clearly laid out and easy to look through. In addition to discussing your portfolio with you at interview we will also review your work beforehand. The most successful portfolios are those which show how well you visually, and technically, observe and explore a subject in which you are interested.

Product and Furniture Design require an improving/high standard of drawing and a good analytical approach to problem solving. At inter view, we want to see evidence of reasoned development as well as resolution.

Portfolio submission options for overseas applicants

What are we looking for?

 

We are looking for:

  • Creative problem solving
  • Innovative thinking
  • Idea generation
  • Idea development
  • An interest in product and furniture design
  • Visual awareness
  • The ability to think in 3D

What should a portfolio contain?

Generally you should choose between 15 and 25 of your strongest pieces of work. You should also consider that staff are keen to see design / artwork produced independently from a taught curriculum. The following elements should be included in your portfolio;

Sketchbooks

Include several recent sketchbooks or work books that show what has influenced you, your research, sketch ideas, preparatory work, written notes, analysis of your work etc. Tutors consider sketchbooks to be important to a portfolio, as they illustrate how you approach your work, how you think and how your creativity develops.

dmu-portfolio-advice-product-furniture-sketchbooks 

Drawing

Product and Furniture Design both require strong/improving drawing ability and are particularly interested in 3D drawing; both observational (objects, people) and concept (ideas and development) drawing.dmu-portfolio-advice-product-furniture-drawing

Projects

Include examples of different projects you have undertaken, illustrating your breadth of experience. Show the development work that demonstrates how you think and work through a project from research to final presentation.dmu-portfolio-advice-product-furniture-projects

It is usually better to include photos of 3D models rather than bringing them to interview. However, one or two easy to carry examples can be worth including. We are interested in seeing your model-making abilities in whatever format is easiest for you.

Digital Work

Include any computer-aided design or artwork you have produced (3D CAD, Photoshop, SketchbookPro, etc).

Written Work

Writing is an essential tool for designers to develop their critical and communication skills. It can therefore be helpful to include a piece of recent written work, such as an illustrated essay, for interviewing staff to peruse prior to interview.

Mini projects

Try working on one or more of the following briefs. We’d suggest that a full day of work for each would be the minimum. At interview, we want to see evidence of reasoned development as well as resolution. A clear understanding of a product’s function / scenario of use is also important.

If you need any advice regarding your interview or require any further guidance with these briefs or any other matter, then please contact Stuart Lawson smlawson@dmu.ac.uk

Brief 1 (Product): “Play”

The role of ‘play’ is important in the balanced development of people in preparation for the demands and challenges of adult life. Different physical and intellectual skills are developed, usually in a safe and protected environment, using particular products and activities commonly referred to as ‘toys and games’.

Toys, and the ways they are used might become games. The ways in which particular toys become beneficial or favoured may be quite profound. Therefore, good toys that children want to play with need to be carefully designed, well manufactured, and above all – fun.

  • Research a small range of scenarios for toy use
  • Sketch a range of concepts for toys (for specific age ranges) that encourage learning through play (include annotations, ideas etc)
  • Develop the strongest concept using drawing and (if required) simple test rigs / models
  • Create an A2 or A3 detailed presentation of the best concept using hand-rendering and / or digital techniques. Describe how the product functions, how it’s used, who it’s for, what it looks like, how it’s made, its materials, technologies, etc

Brief 2 (Product): “Security & Safety”

The brief requires you to research and develop a personal safety or security device for men, women, OAPs, children, postmen, social workers, etc. Aspects of the design you may consider: Emergency alarm, anti-theft, child location, child protection, Dementia support device, etc. A key part of this project is to identify specific areas of need and then design a solution to fit this group(s).

  • Research a small range of scenarios / needs
  • Choose one scenario / need and develop three distinct concepts through sketching (include annotations, ideas etc)
  • Develop the strongest concept using drawing and (if required) simple test rigs / models
  • Create an A2 or A3 detailed presentation using hand-rendering and / or digital techniques. Describe how the product functions, how it’s used, who it’s for, what it looks like, how it’s made, its technologies, etc

Brief 3 (Furniture): “Compact Workstation”

You are commissioned to design a workstation for compact accommodation, such as for student living etc, home working, hotels etc . You should consider, but not necessarily include space for:

  • Laptop / PC (tower, monitor, keyboard), Combined printer/scanner, Disc storage, Document / paper storage, Cable management

The workstation (which could be a group of objects) should occupy relatively little space and be flexible to some degree. You could also consider making your design ‘compactable’, i.e. minimise / store away when not in use. Your design should conform to ergonomic standards proven by your research and experimentation.

  • Research a small range of scenarios / needs
  • Choose one scenario / need and develop three distinct concepts through sketching (include annotations, ideas etc)
  • Develop the strongest concept using drawing and (if required) simple test rigs / models
  • Create an A2 or A3 detailed presentation using hand-rendering and / or digital techniques. Describe how the workstation functions, how it’s used, who it’s for, what it looks like, how it’s made, its technologies, etc
 
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