Product Design

The Design Technology Department

A-Level Product Design

The new Design and Technology – Product Design A Level combines creative use of the iterative design process, practical work shop skills, CAD/CAM development, plus theoretical knowledge of materials and material processing to develop on from the GCSE content.

Year 1
Students will study theory of materials including Woods, Metals, Polymers, Textiles, Composites, and Smart and Modern materials. Within these material areas, student will learn about the associated material processing methods, the physical, mechanical and material properties of each area, as well as how and why these materials are used for real life products.
Students will undertake various design and make projects including: A scaled model of a design movement inspired piece of furniture, a 3D printed wireless speaker, and an infinity mirror. Within all of these projects, students will use an iterative approach to design the most effective outcome for a client, and will be taught advanced manufacturing methods.

Year 2
Year two theory completes the theory syllabus started in year 12, topics include – sustainable design, social, moral, and ethical design factors, inclusive design, applied maths and physics, and advanced technical drawing.
Students will spend the end of year 12 and most of year 13 completing a single, self-identified “live” project. This project MUST be undertaken with a live client to liaise with, and will entail the full design process. Students will have to identify a need or problem that their client has, analyse and research associated area, then design and develop a suitable outcome, before manufacturing a working prototype. At all stages, the client is involved and consulted as to whether the proposed designs meet their specifications.

Assessment Method
Exam: 2.5hrs, 120 marks, 50% of the A Level
The topics covered are:

  1. Materials
  2. Performance characteristics of materials
  3. Processes and techniques
  4. Digital technologies
  5. Factors influencing the development of products
  6. Effects of technological developments
  7. Potential hazards and risk assessment
  8. Features of manufacturing industries
  9. Designing for maintenance and the cleaner environment
  10. Current legislation
  11. Information handling, Modelling and forward planning
  12. Further processes and techniques.

NEA (Non Examined Assessment): 120 marks, 50% of the A Level

Assessment overview
The investigation report is internally assessed and externally moderated.
Students will produce a substantial design, make and evaluate project which consists of a portfolio and a prototype
The portfolio will contain approximately 40 sides of A3 paper (or electronic equivalent)
There are four parts to the assessment:

  1. Identifying and outlining possibilities for design Identification and investigation of a design possibility, investigation of client/end user needs, wants and values, research and production of a specification
  2. Designing a prototype Design ideas, development of design idea, final design solution, review of development and final design and communication of design ideas
  3. Making a final prototype Design, manufacture and realisation of a final prototype, including tools and equipment and quality and accuracy
  4. Evaluating own design and prototype Testing and evaluation

Future Opportunities
The design industry is vast! By completing this A Level, students will have the opportunity to advance into many design industries; from Graphic Design to Architecture, from Product Design to Product Engineering, from Automotive Design to Web Design.
The Creative Industry within the UK is worth a massive £92 billion, to the UK GDP and is one of the fastest growing sectors with the UK economy, and is DESPERATE for talented young individuals. On top of that, creativity is listed as one of the top desired characteristics of most leading UK employers; Design Technology is one of the few A Levels that embodies true creativity and critical problem solving in a real world scenario.