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A Level

Design & Technology: Product Design A Level

Subject Area
Engineering
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
Full-time
Duration
2 years
Level
Level 3

The Product Design A Level is a balance between creative design and design theory. The substantial creative project element allows you to steer the direction of your work down a more graphical route or a more 3D resistant materials route depending on your preference.

The course is challenging, thought-provoking, stimulating and fast-moving, as you balance developing an understanding of design theory alongside the demands of creative project work where elements of the theory are applied. There is a balance of this with the assessment too, with 50% of the course being theory exam based and 50% coursework based in both years.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language and Maths at grade 4 or above. You should also have a creative GCSE such as Product Design, Design Technology or Art & Design.

What will I study?

For both years the component work is tailored to ‘Product Design’ from initial design to manufacture and marketing.

Year One

Component 1: Principles of Design and Technology
You will learn about materials, processes and techniques to shape, form, join and manufacture relevant products and components. You will also learn CAD (Computer Aided Design), digital technologies, the effects of technological developments, and the factors which influence the development of a product and design history.

Component 2: Design and Make Project
You will undertake a small scale ‘design, make and evaluate’ project to a given ‘external’ brief from the exam board. Example briefs have been around products which (with sustainable design) promote a healthy lifestyle, independent living or caring for pets and children. A redesign, product improvement, or re-purposing of an existing product will develop your research and analytical skills.


Year Two

Component 1: Principles of Product Design
Analytical 'Product based' exam questions considering usability, materials, manufacturing processes, existing design practices, route to market and sustainability.

Component 2: Problem Solving in Product Design
You will be given a scenario and product where you will need to demonstrate your analytical, problem-solving and evaluative skills in order to redesign and improve the given product.

Component 3: Design and Make Project
You will undertake a substantial ‘design, make and evaluate’ project of your choice, with a ‘real’ client. This requires you to produce a portfolio and a prototype outcome. This will involve justifying the project choice, creating a solution and evaluating the outcome with your ‘real’ client.

In the first year you will also develop your CAD (Computer Aided Design) skills using the Solid Works 3D Computer Aided Design application leading to CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture).


Additional costs
There are a range of useful textbooks and students will be expected to contribute to the material expenses of manufacturing their product.

Method of delivery

In this subject you will have three x 1.5 hour lessons spread across the week with your other subjects. There is a balance of theory classes and project classes throughout the year.

How will I be assessed?

Year One

Component 1: Principles of Design and Technology

This unit is assessed by exam and makes up 50% of the final mark.
Component 2: Design and Make Project
This unit is assessed by project coursework, undertaking a project to a brief given by the exam board and making up 50% of the final grade. The coursework involves producing both a portfolio of design work and a 3D solution/prototype.

Year Two

Component 1: Principles of Product Design
This unit is exam assessed.
Component 2: Problem Solving in Product Design
This unit is exam assessed.
Component 3: Design and Make Project
This project requires you to produce a portfolio and 3D prototype outcome. The project is externally moderated and equates to 50% of the final grade.

Good course combinations

Other A Levels such as Maths, Physics, Business, Computer Science, and the BTEC Extended Certificate in Engineering. Although Art & Design A Levels would complement this subject consideration must be given to the amount of coursework being undertaken.

This course cannot be taken alongside Design & Technology: Engineering as they follow the same specification.

Your next steps

Higher education, in particular any design-related course including product design, engineering disciplines, architecture, animation, graphic design and the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.

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