Product Design in the 21st century is a complex endeavor that operates both within and beyond the consumer paradigm. The Product Design track in the School of Design explores themes of materiality, interaction, and technology through rich practices of form-giving, design research, and iterative development. We aspire for the products we design to play important roles in advancing the state of the world, enhancing the human experience, and advocating for a critical balance between the built and natural worlds. Our program offers a novel disciplinary approach that provides for students to develop the requisite 21st century skill set, mindset, and motivation to use Product Design practice for positive benefit across a variety of industries, organizations, and contexts (It's not just about making stuff). Further, our curriculum acknowledges that no product exists in isolation—it is always part of larger complex social, political, environmental, and economic systems. We believe that Product Design today operates within these established systems and works to change the status quo through equitable, progressive, and sustainable approaches.
Our 4-year program prepares students for many industries, including furniture, digital devices, medical and sporting equipment, apparel and soft goods, industrial products, safety devices, mobility and transportation, and household goods and appliances. You'll learn systems-level thinking, how to visually communicate your ideas, designing for user experiences, and engage in an iterative, multi-disciplinary and collaborative design process that involves human-centered research, observation, modeling, prototyping, evaluation and productive critique. We introduce current production and manufacturing processes and explore new mediums and methods for creating thoughtful and responsible design approaches.
How we work
The Products Track teaches a blend of theory and practice, translating design thinking into sophisticated propositional models and prototypes. We leverage the traditions of both hand-crafted and industrial-made objects to engage with theory in the most material way—refining how we express our ideas and design thinking through artifacts. To support this, the School of Design provides a well-equipped prototyping laboratory where students learn to use traditional power equipment such as bandsaws, routers, sanders, lathes, and table saws; digital equipment such as CAD modeling and rendering software and output tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and CNC; and specialty equipment for electronics, industrial sewing, and more. Further, our Product Design Track is supported by Design Studies courses that introduce themes to expand, situate, and aim your practice. Set against the backdrop of one of the most technologically advanced world-class universities, our students leverage engineering, CS/HCI, and robotics educational and research opportunities to complement their core design training to find unique ways of operating as designers within our diverse academic landscape.
MedPortThis is a two part project, MedStor and MedPort. MedPort is the continuation of MedStor. This project works to simplify the process of medication scheduling for users by providing a single unit to carry with them instead of sorting their medications manually and carrying around multiple bottles.
KitchenAid Food Container SystemA modular system of food storage containers to improve the on-the-go meal experience. This solution includes two sizes of containers that can be combined in multiples and easily hooked together by pulling the slots of the flexible rubber strap over the tabs on top of each lid, allowing you to take only as much container space as you need.
Sharing WaterI focused on the social aspect of sharing water. Imagining a more intimate dining experience, I wanted to enhance the ability to share water with others. Throughout all my models, I carried this idea out through with a dual pouring feature/grip, that allowed people sitting across from each other equal access to the handle the carrier.
Shepherd: Bicycle Safety SystemShepherd is a three part bicycle safety system that helps cyclist ride more safely and efficiently. The mobile dashboard lets the cyclists plan their rides, while the device attached to the helmet gives haptic feedback and sound alert to notify the cyclists about dangers on the road. The light projector scans potholes ahead and it projects directional signs to help the cyclists find their ways.
Optimizing the Usage of FertilizerWith the increasing demand for beautiful lawns in front of our houses, more and more people are using chemical fertilizers. The optimized system takes a bag of fertilizer that can be simply attached to the spreader. This requires no pouring or measuring. The spreader has four parts: The bag, tester, weight feedback, and drop spreader itself. As the user walks, the spreader tells the user how much they have used vs how much they should have used, letting the user know the perfect amount to use.
WhiskerIn a team of three we researched the connection between people and their pets for an entire semester. Our research spanned from surveys, interviews, to make tools. From this research, we identified that many frustrations of cat owners are centered around sleep. So our team developed an interactive cat toy that aims at helping you and your cat sleep better.
CovalentCovalent is a matchmaking application for interdisciplinary campus research and collaboration.
Visual Brand LanguageVisual Brand Language is the visual communication of brand values and identity through design. The purpose of this project was to design an accessory product for an existing automotive brand. I re-designed an electric drill that reflects the core visual elements that encompass the BMW 5 Series Sedan. The process consisted of researching BMW's history as a car manufacturer as well as understanding the aesthetic elements and features that distinguish the BMW 5 Series from other luxury vehicles.
WakenoteWakenote is a device made to help students stay awake in class and get every word in lecture. Wakenote provides students with a safety net when they sit down in their lectures. By having wakenote in class students will have more efficient notes and never fear the embarrassment of snoring in class.
Enhancing dust mask usageAfter researching what dangers existed in our 3D lab, I began to look into why they did exist, and how I could solve them. The safety that my research defined was safety that depends on behavior, which comes from awareness. In order to increase awareness, I played with the form of a disposable mask to control and concentrate the areas of dust collection. Dust would collect at a faster rate and show users an accelerated coloration change. This is for peers to wear their masks if they have not.
The Pursuit of the Perfect Lawn?This project was to redesign/ create one of the lawn products that causes environmental problem. The challenge of this project was to understand deep knowledge about the problem through different research methods and to create a product that can enrich lawn caring behavior through different mechanisms. Not only the function had to be considered, but also the form of the product had to be considered.
Kiosk RedesignThis Kiosk is a redesign of traditional Reverse Vending Machines. The machine is meant to incentivize recycling for users by making it easier and less time consuming, by providing visual recycling feedback, and by allocating a monetary reward.
Interactive RadioThis radio was created for interaction. Every method of operation is well thought out to give the user surprise and excitement.
Productform: Fire Alarm process
Aesthetic Repair: Bent SpoonA 3D printed stainless steel part to serve as the repair and counter form for a spoon that had been bent. The circular accent forms a registration for the bend profiles while adding stability to the main piece that returns the original posture of the spoon.
Cove: Fire Alarm Call PointThis is the device you activate when you see a fire. It's subtle form is designed to fit quietly in the context of a library.
Trestle TableInspired by mid-century joinery, this coffee table was designed to have a simple presence with subtle, intricate details throughout. The leg design is intended to be a hybridization of tradition trestle construction and a more modern silhouette and height. Slats of White Limba secure the two planks of Oak to create the top surface of the table. The slats serve to unite the table top with the legs as well as to add stability and strength to the form. Liming wax was used to fill the grain.
GM Semi Autonomous InterfaceThis project by team Grace Meyer, Jim Toggweiler, and Allen Cai explores a semi autonomous interface design for the interior of a GM automobile.
The School of Design holds one of the oldest Industrial Design programs in North America and is considered one of the top international programs for ID education. In the 1920s, Carnegie Tech offered Industrial Design classes connected to regional manufacturing partners such as Westinghouse. These classes aimed to teach the state-of-the-art of this newly defined discipline, blending technology and production, with user-experience, lifestyle and the emerging consumer market to form an applied creative practice that was distinct from art and engineering, yet shared attributes of both. In 1934, Carnegie Tech initiated the first degree-granting ID program in the United States and has contributed to advancing the discipline through scholarly research, industry partnerships, innovative projects, and curriculum development. Today's Product Design program extends the legacy of the Industrial Design program and aims to prepare students to design for the physical, digital, and "phygital" worlds — set against the backdrop of large-scale social and environmental issues.
Our alumni have worked for companies such as IDEO, Smart Design, Herman Miller, FCA Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Whirlpool, and VW/Audi, Nissan, Facebook, Google, IBM, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, Tupperware, Salesforce, Instagram, Radio Flyer, OXO Good Grips, and more. Some of our alumni have founded their own product design consultancies or launched their own businesses bringing innovative products to the market. Notable alumni have been associated with the design of the Apple iPhone and iOS interface, Adidas, PUMA, New Balance and Nike footwear, Nike Fuel Band, BMW's bobsled for Team USA in the 2014 Olympics, GoPro Camera, Warrior Hockey equipment, Roku, and the Nest thermostat. Many of our alumni remain connected with our program as guest reviewers and informal mentors, aiming to inspire the next generation of designers.
Emotionally Durable Design - Jonathan Chapman
Meaningful Stuff: Design That Lasts - Jonathan Chapman
Drawing Ideas - Mark Baskinger and William Bardel
The Praxis of Product Design in Collaboration with Engineering - Wayne Chung
Universal Methods of Design - Bruce Hanington and Bella Martin