About Product Design

Essentially, product designers use a few key elements that appear differently depending on the nature of things. Key concepts such as materials, tools and transformation appear again and again in the work of product designers. The complete life cycle of materials is researched in order to engage the consciousness of the product designer with the transformations taking place, from the origin of material to its final stages. In this context the concept of the lifecycle of materials is researched as it is manifested in nature but also how human intervention effects natural circulation. The dynamic interplay of materials and tools is researched to enable the product designers of the future to create products, based on an analysis and understanding of this interplay. The difference between industry and craft is addressed, as well as the conversation between the two, according to the changing criteria of today. A deeper understanding of the effects and meaning of a product being made is cultivated, rather than singling out pragmatic value alone. Today’s criteria question production processes, redefining and reinventing them.

The critical question is “why” rather than “how”? This foundation is mirrored again and again in the different intersections of various processes throughout the programme, whether it is low-tech or hi-tech processes, ceramic and wood or 3-D printing and laser-cutting, to name a few …

Counteracting this scientific approach is a strong emphasis on deeper research of particular circumstances that make possible new opportunities for the development of products, service or systems, asking questions about social and economic effects. Meeting with Farmers (Stefnumót við bændur) and Local Production (Staðbundin framleiðsla) are examples of courses that are built to a great extent on research in a particular context of produce development and production processes.

From Programme Director

In connection to the changing paradigms of product design, from the “how” a product is made to the “why” a product is made, it is always more important for product designers to be able to present their work properly, both visually and textually. They must be able to argue for their views in the public forum with a credible voice, critical of the systems that connect to their profession. Students are trained to publish their work in different media, amongst other things in text, drawings, prototypes, photographs and films.

Garðar Eyjólfsson, Associate Professor and Programme Director in BA Product Design