DE4009 - Communicating Design

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What will I learn on this module?

You will be introduced to and start to develop a range of essential practical design skills for the development and communication of design concepts. These skills will comprise both physical and digital production techniques and processes.

You will acquire and develop knowledge of correct techniques and practices so that you are able to select and apply appropriate skills both within this module and your design practice in other modules. You will be given an induction into the safe use of machinery and professional working practices within a workshop, studio and computer lab environment. You will undertake a range of tasks in physical and digital mediums to communicate design intent to others (tutors and peers).

You will build your competence and confidence in your design making and communication skills, whilst developing an experimental approach.

Practical exercises will reflect contemporary design skills and techniques and will include, but are not limited to:
• Visualisation techniques including sketching
• Design software techniques
• Making skills including model making
• Presentation – e.g. pitching design ideas to an audience

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through studio, workshop and independent learning. A series of practical exercises will focus on developing your communication skills in various media and will become progressively more demanding. These exercises will introduce you to relevant industrial standard techniques (such as sketching), software (such as Adobe Creative Suite), and machines (such as a laser cutter).

You will work on these exercises both independently and in tutor guided studio, workshop and computer lab sessions. Spending time in the studio and workshop environments (equip with industry standard machines and software) is integral to the learning process of this module, as it encourages the engagement/construction of a creative collaborative community with your tutors and peers.

Hands-on participation and the exploration of physical and digital skills and processes will enable you to have greater confidence in developing and displaying evidence of your creative process.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

This module is supported by staff with specialism in studio, lab and workshop based activity. They will provide a combination of formally taught sessions and informal studio sessions. Studio sessions present you with the opportunity to benefit from on-going feedback from both tutors and peers throughout a project assignment.

It is expected that you will also undertake independent learning to support your progress in this module, reflecting on and making constructive use of the feedback you receive.

There are dedicated Mac/PC Labs equipped with the latest relevant software, workshops spaces with dedicated technical staff, and adaptable studio spaces that all provide a suitable learning environment for this module.

Supporting materials, such as lecture slides, module guides, assignment briefs, and references to additional learning resources will all be provided via the eLearning portal. Appropriate digital submissions of particular assignments will allow for efficient and effective communication in the review of work and delivery of feedback.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding

MK4.4 – Demonstrate a basic grasp of physical/digital tools, materials and realisation methods in pursuit of design solutions. (PK4.3)

MK4.5 – Understand basic principles of responsible, safe and ethical design practice thorough completion of practical and theoretical induction. (PK4.3)

Intellectual/Professional Skills & Abilities

MI4.6 - Operate machinery and/or technology with proficiency and due care and attention through the completion of induction. (PI4.2)

MI4.7 – Show an elementary ability to use a range of analogue and/or digital presentation skills and techniques in the production of a developing portfolio of work. (PI4.3)

MI4.8 - Demonstrate competent analogue and/or digital presentation skills and techniques in the production of a comprehensive portfolio of work. (PI4.3)


Personal Value Attributes

MP4.6 - Evidence your communication skills in industrial design practice through one or more of the following channels; written, visual, oral. (PP4.4)

How will I be assessed?

You will undergo a mid-point review at the end of semester one, where tutors will review your portfolio of work created in this module and give you feedback on the strengths that are evident, as well as areas that require improvement.

100% of the summative assessment is based on your design communication portfolio.
A series of practical exercises running throughout the module will help you to construct this portfolio. Your portfolio should show evidence of the range of skills covered in the module. This is broken down as follows: 25% Physical Making Assignment(s), 25% Visual Communication Assignment(s), 25% Digital Skills Assignment(s) and 25% Digital Design Portfolio.

Formative feedback will be offered during timetabled sessions to support your completion of the exercises.


The module will conclude at the end of the year with a similar review of the portfolio of work and feedback. This is normally done in an exhibition format so that you can gain an appreciation of the standard of work across the whole cohort in relation to your own work.

Summative feedback will provide a written review of how well you have met the learning outcomes and offer guidance on how to make improvements.

You will be encouraged to reflect on your own performance and learning in order to develop your ability to critically evaluate your own design communication skills.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

DE4007 - Industrial Design Foundation
DE4008 - Design History, Theory & Context

Module abstract

You will be introduced to and start to develop a range of essential practical design skills for the development and communication of design concepts. These skills will comprise both physical and digital production techniques and processes.

You will acquire and develop knowledge of correct techniques and practices so that you are able to select and apply appropriate skills both within this module and your design practice in other modules. You will be given an induction into the safe use of machinery and professional working practices within a workshop, studio and computer lab environment. You will undertake a range of tasks in physical and digital mediums to communicate design intent to others (tutors and peers).

You will build your competence and confidence in your design making and communication skills, whilst developing an experimental approach.

Practical exercises will reflect contemporary design skills and techniques and will include, but are not limited to:
• Visualisation techniques including sketching
• Design software techniques
• Making skills including model making

Course info

UCAS Code W240

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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