This practical course encourages students to respond to three-dimensional design projects through the use of creative drawing and other visual recording techniques; model making and material experiments. Students will evaluate their work and critically analyse the work of others.
Rather than being technology based, the course appeals to students who are keen to express their creative skills.
In the first year students will explore Product Design, Architecture, Model Making, Critical Research and Materials Investigations.
In the second year students develop individual projects driven by contextual research of designers, that reflect their interest in design such as: Product Design, Architectural Design, Interior Architecture, Lighting Design, Jewellery Design, Small Scale Furniture Design, Set Design, Landscape Furniture. This project culminates with them producing an original and imaginative three-dimensional manufactured object.
Student work is assessed through the production of project sketchbooks and a timed practical examination in the second year.
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Students can combine this course with a variety of subjects. Many choose Maths or Physics as these subjects work well for students interested in Architecture and Engineering. Others combine it with Art & Design based subjects: Art (Fine Art), Graphics, Photography Fashion & Textiles, or creative subjects such as Film studies, Media Studies, Computer Science or Information Technology.
Combining Product Design with another creative subject is also a possibility but must be carefully considered as the amount of practical work required for the NEA projects can be very demanding.
Please note, if you want to study Architecture or Engineering at university then you will usually also need Maths and / or Physics.
Design plays an increasingly important role in the world. The skills that students learn on this course and the qualification at the end will support their application for an enormous range of careers and university courses. Product Design (3D Design) could lead to a number of exciting careers including: Product Design, Design Engineering, Architecture, Spatial Architecture, Landscape Design, Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Environmental Design and Teaching. Here’s a selection of some of the university and college courses our students have gone on to do:
- Architecture: Bristol, Kent, Brighton, Bath
- Art Foundation: Central Saint Martins, Epsom College
- Product Design: Bournemouth, Nottingham Trent, London South Bank, Sussex, Lincoln
- 3D Design: Plymouth
- Interior Architecture & Design: Leeds Metropolitan, Lincoln
- Interior Design: Cardiff Metropolitan, Plymouth
- Product Design & Innovation: Portsmouth
- Landscape Architecture: Gloucestershire
Students will produce a sketchbook showing the projects carried out in their first year. These will include varied projects exploring product and architectural design along with experiments with a variety of materials including concrete, polymers and metals.
Skills gained in year one include:
- Creative drawing and visual communication techniques
- Model making
- Critical analysis and research
- Evaluation methods and reflective writing
- Materials and processes experiments
Students will produce a Personal Investigation project which will focus on an area of design that the student has real interest in, this could be in one of the following disciplines:
- Product design
- Architectural design
- Interior architecture
- Lighting design
- Jewellery design and body adornment
- Small scale furniture design
- Set design
- Landscape architecture
The work produced for the Personal Investigation will build on the skills from the first year of the course and will be driven by critical and contextual research of designers. The project will culminate with students producing an original and imaginative three-dimensional manufactured object with a practical purpose.
At the end of the second year students will undertake an externally set practical examination. They will have eight weeks to complete the preparatory work and will produce their final piece during a 15 hour practical examination.
Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences
Product Design (3D Design) students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In the last couple of years, these have included visits to:
- Design Museum – with a collection made up of over 3000 objects that range from the early Modernism of the 1900s to the cutting edge of contemporary design. The Collection describes the history of design in mass production and includes furniture, lighting, domestic appliances and communications technology and is an important record of the key designs which have shaped the modern world.
- New Designers Exhibition, London – this is the UK’s most important graduate design exhibition. This visit will not only inspire students in preparation for their second year project, but also help them to choose a HE course in the field of Design after leaving Reigate College.
- Victoria & Albert Museum (V & A) – this is the world’s largest museum of art and design, having a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects. This visit will inspire students for both years of the course content through the study of resources to include: architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, prop and set design.
As part of their Community Architecture project, students also get to work with industry professionals; for example, designing beach huts with support from Reigate-based architectural firm, WS Architecture and Planning. Find out more at Community Architecture project by Product Design Students – Reigate College
In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.
All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.
This A Level course has two assessments:
Component One: Personal Investigation Project (Non Examined Assessment) 60%
Component Two: Externally set practical examination (15 hours) 40%
All work produced will be assessed under the following areas:
- AO1) Contextual understanding: developing ideas through focused contextual investigations, demonstrating analytical and critical understanding
- AO2) Creative making: exploring and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes. Reviewing and refining ideas as work develops
- AO3) Reflective recording: recording ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions, reflecting critically on work and progress
- AO4) Personal presentation: presenting a personal and meaningful response that achieves objectives
The exam board for this course is Eduqas.
All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirements:
- Grade 5 in one of the Design Technology or Art & Design subjects
Students must be creative, self-motivated, enthusiastic about design, possess good drawing skills and demonstrate an interest in materials and manufacturing.
Students with no previous experience but with a strong interest and aptitude in this area may be accepted on this course at the course leader’s discretion, subject to demonstrating a passion for Design and presenting a suitable design portfolio.
Is there a written exam?
No, but there is written content within the Personal Investigation (coursework) and Exam Unit across two of the four assessment criteria. The exam unit runs for approximately 10 weeks and culminates in a 15 hour practical exam, where a final piece is made.
How is this course different to DT?
Traditional Design Technology courses focus on the materials and manufacturing processes of a product. Product Design (3D Design) is very design focused and offers the opportunity to study varied disciplines of design.
Can I make a full-sized product?
The exam board / course does not require this, as most of the products are conceptual prototype models on a smaller scale. Some students do make products to scale, but these tend not to be large pieces.
What materials are available?
Within the studio, students use card and paper for initial prototype modelling. Additional materials can range from wood, acrylic and metal. We encourage investigation into varied and creative combinations of materials.
How much of the course is practical?
The course is split into 50% studio and 50% workshop time.
Are you restricted to a discipline?
There are no restrictions on the discipline, the exam board gives recommended starting points to study within 3D Design.
Can I decide what projects I do?
For the first year, the projects are set by the department. This is to ensure students cover a broad range of topics and skills including; basic workshop methods, analytical and annotation skills, drawing and prototype modelling. In the second year, students have a Personal Investigation project, which is largely based around their chosen design discipline.
Does it matter if I don’t have workshop experience?
No, this does not matter as you are taught workshop methods during the course.
Do I have to be able to draw?
Drawing is a key part of design; as a way of communicating your ideas and concepts. We do not expect anyone to be a ‘Da Vinci’ as there are many methods of drawing to express thoughts, including CAD drawings. We do however encourage all students to practise drawing throughout the duration of the course.
Is digital software used?
We use 2D Design, for laser cutting materials. Photoshop is also used for editing purposes. Some students are comfortable with Sketchup and AutoCAD to help visualise their 3D design ideas as an additional drawing tool.