PRODUCT DESIGN AS A PROFESSION
Product design is a young speciality that was born together with the Industrial Revolution. It is closely related to the development of research and technology and is constantly changing. The designer is the one who must make the solutions provided by technology, which is becoming increasingly complicated, speedy and smart, into easily comprehensible and manageable aids for us all. The designer provides us the solution for communicating with things – creates the user interfaces for communications.
Design and art are two different activities. Artists answer their own questions with their art; designers answer the questions asked by others. Be they entrepreneurs, inventors, the government and society, or people generally. Therefore, designers must possess a very broad store of knowledge, comprehend the connections between the causes and consequences at work in human culture and know how to take these into consideration in the solutions they create.
Design is the art of asking questions, and the skill to create the corresponding goods and processes. The measure of design is a person. The items that a designer creates are always born of someone’s needs, and resolve someone’s problems. Designers must know the answers and, even more important, know how to pose the right questions.
The aim of a designer’s work is to make rapidly developing new technologies into useful and comprehensible goods and services for people. In order to do this well, one must understand the relationships between people and goods. Designers must know how to construct items, to produce them and make them comprehensible.
NATURE OF THE DEPARTMENT, ITS MENTALITY AND PHILOSOPHY
The aim of design is to create things that make our lives better. In the modern world, more and more new things are being invented, the necessity of which is not doubtful, and which are complicated to use and have shorter and shorter life spans. The path taken by materials from the mine or oil well to the trash heap is decreasing and this makes us sad. A very important role of design and designers is to ask the following questions: whether and why do we need certain products; what kind of products do we actually need; and how will these products impact the world around us.
WHAT ARE THE STUDIES LIKE?
The structure of the curriculum and the involvement of professional instructors allow all the students to develop their specialised skills, improve their knowledge about the principles of modern design management and the laws that apply to products in the marketplace. In addition, starting with the second-year studies, the department enables the students to participate in actual projects with Estonian companies. Currently our partners include Sunorek, SmartPost, Galvi-Linda, Wendre and Mass.
The special short-term projects carried out by foreign faculty members broaden the students horizons regarding the teaching methods employed at other European schools with similar orientations, and provide them with additional experience for competing as designers in the labour market, in and outside of Estonia. The department has close ties with several internationally recognised design schools and having the students study for a semester in these schools has become a common practice.
During the last few years, we have paid great attention to very specific subjects (compiling a portfolio, product semantics, sustainable design, design management, etc.) which support the designers’ creativity by providing them with the skills to work independently or as part of a team.
The MA programme includes many international projects with foreign companies, schools and research centres. Based on their chosen profile, the master’s candidates spend one semester at another European school. The master’s programme also provides the opportunity to acquire a broader education in design theory.
For more about the curriculum and class schedule
The completion of the product design curriculum at any level (BA or MA) provides the student with the professional knowledge and skills for working in the fields of product and environmental design.