Invigorating Industrial Design Materials and Manufacturing Education

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2010
Materials and manufacturing are vitally important subjects for industrial designers, being the means by which virtual products are turned to physical reality. Historically materials and manufacturing education has been dominated by engineering approaches, which often are too technical and poorly suited to the human-centred concerns of industrial designers. For example, materials selection for product function/performance is well established, but selection for product expression/personality is underdeveloped. Recently a body of new research has emerged taking a humanistic perspective to the selection of materials for industrially manufactured products. The common point is to articulate ways in which designers can use materials to affect people's experiences of products on aesthetic, meaning and emotional levels, within a wider context of product differentiation, branding, and other commercial imperatives. Accompanying this new body of research is a need to examine implications for industrial design materials and manufacturing education. This article presents a case for pedagogical change, to achieve better alignment with current and future practices of industry. Research data were derived from literature reviews, analysis of interview data with designers, and a case study to develop and evaluate materials and manufacturing training on the undergraduate industrial design programme at Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Four educational initiatives are proposed to invigorate industrial design materials and manufacturing education: (i) echo professional practices regarding the range of subjects taught and the contexts for decision-making; (ii) develop understanding of materials experience, focusing especially on sensorial and intangible qualities of materials and embracing technical and non-technical languages to teach material properties; (iii) use material and product samples as teaching resources and consider adopting 'learning through making' strategies; and (iv) instil systematic material selection methods for both utilitarian and expressive uses of materials.

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Citation Formats
O. F. Pedgley, “Invigorating Industrial Design Materials and Manufacturing Education,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 339–360, 2010, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/41289.