5 Things to Look for in a Product Design Degree

by Stephanie Brooks on September 1, 2012


When it comes time to look for a design school that meets your needs, there will be plenty of things to look for in potential programs.  Getting a degree that focuses on product design is a niche that requires some extra research to make sure you will be getting an education that adequately prepares students to enter the field. While there are many choices out there, and most design programs will offer a path to get started in the industry, here are some of the tops things to look for in programs for product designers:

1. Good coverage of all aspects of design.

If you’re going to school specifically to become a product designer, you first need to make sure that your program has excellent courses in that niche. However, no design program is complete without a wealth of courses in all areas of design. You will want to look out for a good set of courses in the fundamentals of design, such as color, line and texture. And you will also want to make sure that you have the opportunity to learn about areas outside your niche, such as web design. A great designer is a well-rounded designer, so make sure that the focus on product design is strong, but the incorporation of other design elements is just as strong.

2. Business education.

Product designers are ultimately designing things that will be sold. This means that there is more to your designs than whether or not they looks good or are functional. You will have to learn how to analyze consumer information and make hypotheses about the types of designs that will attract and benefit the largest amount of consumers. Knowing how to look at economic and business data and interpret that into a design concept will be what makes you stand out from others in the product design field.

3. Experts teaching courses.

No matter where you attend design school, you will not be able to take every single class with an expert in the field of product design, or even design in general. However, it’s always good to take a look at the professors at each college you are considering before making your final decision. Some of the best schools will have the clout and the money to attract some great minds in the field of design. It’s also great to be able to take classes from professionals who are actually working in the field of product design. This helps with future connections and perspective on the industry.

4. School-sponsored design events.

If you are considering a design school that seems to do very little in terms of actual design events, then you may want to re-think that choice. Any design school with passionate people behind it will be trying to offer the best possible programs, lectures and seminars for its students every year. Make sure that the design atmosphere is strong at your school of choice and that students, professors, and the administration are participating in the field.

5. Multiple student success stories.

There are always going to be student success stories highlighted in your college brochures and online when you’re looking into potential design schools. However, it’s good to make sure that these success stories are not few and far between. Any random school can boast a successful graduate. In fact, many designers are successful without any formal training whatsoever. Try looking at the rate of employment of graduates to get a good indication as to how well this program prepares students to excel in the design world.

About the author: Stephanie Brooks is a former English teacher who now gives her expertise in education to review the top universities in the country at Top10onlineuniversities.org . She also enjoys covering business-related topics such as marketing as well as topics relating to health and fitness.  Feel free to leave comments.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael September 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

As someone who studied design and now works in a design consultancy I would have to add a sixth thing to look for from a design degree. And in my opinion one of the most important things and hardest to find…

Number 6: Lecturers and staff members with ACTUAL industry experience, they can’t preach it if they haven’t done it!

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