Funding for the Methods Network ended March 31st 2008. The website will be preserved in its current state.

Product Designing Network

A series of workshops organized by Paul Rodgers, School of Creative Industries, Napier University.

(html) Network Participants
(html) Product Designing Website

Technology is radically changing the landscape of product design. Mechanical parts are being replaced with digital electronics and products are as likely to arrive from a Rapid Prototyping machine as they are from hand-tools.

The notion of Product Design is changing from a focus on the consumer object to now include issues like services, interactions, media, sustainability, and embedded design, all of which are mediated through technology. This series of workshops aimed to establish a network for enabling the advancement of product design research and industry by building a knowledge base of current thinking and future projections around this central issue of technology mediated product design.

Workshop 1: New/Emerging/Hybridized Research Methods for Product Design Practice

Led by Paul Rodgers, Napier University at Merchiston Campus on 8 November 2007 11.00 - 17.00

This workshop covered the knowledge and skills required to undertake research as part of the development of a creative project. Workshop participants gained an understanding of research methods for design practice and took part in a day long research investigation in the context of a creative design project. ~Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches, by the end of the workshop each participant had analysed, interpreted and presented a research ‘case’ including the findings of their research investigation. Research cases comprised film, photography, sketch, and textual data. The main focus of the workshop was to observe how people engage, exploit, adapt, react, and interact with the designed world of products, spaces, and services.

Workshop 2: Digital Product Design

Led by Jon Rogers, University of Dundee at Duncan of Jordanstone on 23 November 2007 11.00 - 17.00

Digital Product Design is the design of products using embedded digital technology. In this workshop participants explored the notion of Digital Product Design, as described by Rogers and Hulbert (2007). Central to Digital Product Design is embedded programmable technology using microcontrollers, sensors and actuators. The workshop also described the landscape and vocabulary of this emerging discipline using practical demonstration with a hands-on approach to designing for our digital product futures.

Workshop 3: Domestic/Public Rapid Prototyping

Led by Jon Pengelly & John Marshall, University of Aberdeen at Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University on 6 December 2007 11.00 - 17.00

This workshop was designed to introduce the principles of 3D scanning technology and the developmental role object 'sampling' might play in producing new creative opportunities for the designer. The workshop participants exploited these technologies in questioning the relationship between prototype and mass-produced designed object. The technologies’ potential to '3D sample' and '3D print' was explored in relation to new production paradigms, design vocabularies and methodologies. There was a specific focus on the new opportunities that exist for the product designer in developing a playful ‘logistics of iteration’ in contrast to more quantitative, 'reverse-engineering' approaches.

Workshop 4: Creativity

Led by Alex Milton and Craig Whittet, University of Glasgow at the Lighthouse, Glasgow on 17 December 2007 11.00 - 17.00

This workshop was designed to introduce and explore the notion of creative narrative in product design development. Design and the telling of stories are practices that are not often thought of in the same category; however this workshop explored the relationship between these two creative practices. Through the workshop participants were able to explore the scripting of products and lifestyles, products as props, plot devices, and dramatic product genres, and to investigate how Product Designers embed future narratives in the products they design. These explorations challenge the old stories that are told about design, in which more deterministic conception of programme, function, or construction hold sway. The workshop aimed to construct a new narrative and notion of design process (and product) that engages more fully with creative outcomes as they are experienced and made.

AHDS Methods Taxonomy Terms

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  • Art and Design


  • Practice-led Research - 2d graphic design
  • Practice-led Research - 2d illustration
  • Practice-led Research - 3d graphic design
  • Practice-led Research - 3d modelling - vector
  • Practice-led Research - 3d Scanning