Product Design

Essentially, 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.


Programme: Product Design
Academic degree: BA
Study length: 3 years
The beauty of the programme is that it is very open. Each individual can go through the study programme with his own emphasizes. The outcome is therefore as different as the students are. This is a very personal study pgroamme and the process makes you grow as a person. To study product design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts is one of the most demanding thing I have ever done. At the same time I have become stronger as a person. The study has brought me new oportunities and I have learned to know amazing people that I will know all my life.

Heiðdís Inga Hilmarsdóttir, product designer.

Programme Director

Rúna Thors (1982) is a product designer with a BA degree from Design Academy Eindhoven and a MA degree in Culture and communication from University of Iceland.

Rúna Thors, programme director.