Year 12

4.1.1 Designing and innovation (AS)

  Click on this the book of Core Knowledge

This section is concerned with candidates  their ability to design and enhance their basic design skills in order to solve problems. Candidates should also develop an understanding of a range of external influences and demands which affect the work of product designers.

Principles of designing.

  • The generation, development and expression of ideas development of aesthetic values; fitness for purpose
  • The understanding and application of design processes in a logical and creative manner
  • Knowledge of writing appropriate and effective specifications
  • The generation of specific, measurable performance criteria to inform designing and evaluating
  • Use of sketchbooks in design development communication of ideas and solutions in appropriate contexts using a variety of media, such as freehand sketching, formal working and presentation drawings, 2D and 3D modelling, ICT generated images.

Research techniques.

  • The discerning use of reference material from a variety of sources such as libraries, Internet, databases, magazines and exhibitions, to produce valid and reliable information.

Analysis of the problem

  • Understanding effective analysis and synthesis of material to guide effective development of innovative and creative ideas
  • reflection on the problem.

Problem solving strategies.

  • Investigation, team work (including brainstorming), research, modelling, prototyping and trialling; the process of innovation – collaborative and commercial approaches; the development of innovative product solutions. Key concepts in innovation such as the impact of product champions and entrepreneurs
  • Innovation techniques such as inversion (turning the problem around, for example instead of considering ‘how do I get to work?’ thinking about ‘how can work get to me?’, morphological analysis (evaluating possible solutions in a table or matrix and considering all possible combinations),
  • analogy and lateral thinking; analysis and exploration of the needs of users

Quantitative and qualitative testing.

  • Techniques of evaluating performance against specific measurable criteria such as comparative testing of materials for a specific application; devising fair tests for materials
  • 2D/3D modelling and prototyping to evaluate proposals
  • Identification of criteria for value judgements such as ratings charts for aesthetics, function, user-friendliness.

Ergonomics and anthropometrics.

  • Relevant use of human and environmental measurements and statistics to inform design and production

Computer systems for designing.

  • Use of CADD both in formative and summative stages of designing, Internet, CD-ROM, databases, spreadsheet, word processing/DTP and control programs, as appropriate to the task undertaken
  • Understand the principles of concurrent engineering
  • Product data management – using software to manage and monitor production


  • Appreciate the importance of innovation in both designing and making.

Click on this a video blog on designing and innovation.



4.1.2 Product analysis (AS)

This section is about understanding the requirements a product must satisfy, critical assessment of existing products and visualising new products in a context of past, present and future possibilities.

The processes involved in the design and production of a range of manufactured products.

  • Reverse engineering, to include historical influences, technological performance and components, functional success and aesthetic detailing, or other techniques for product analysis
  • Performance modelling and prototyping
  • The influence of equipment on product manufacture in a range of materials
  • Interaction of new technologies and design needs especially on material and fabric development.

Form and function of different products.

  • Aesthetic detailing, functional and marketing constraints such as maintenance and cost of a range of manufactured products
  • Stylistic and engineering design
  • considerations of ‘above the line’ (visible and consumer required characteristics) and ‘below the line’ (invisible,operational characteristics) assessment
  • appreciate the relationship between products and human form and environment (ergonomics and anthropometrics) to ensure suitability and ease of use.
  • Trends, styles, new technical capabilities, and social, moral,political and ethical influences on the design, production and purpose of products.
  • Candidates should have an understanding of the historical influences on selected products
  • Comparison of ‘new’ products with existing types; cultural trends and differences and their effect on new product development; ethical, moral and social considerations
  • The development of products through time – recognising ‘design classics’ or’ icons’
  • Development of a design consciousness in society
  • Levels of technological development (including new materials and technologies) and their influence on designing and products.

Intellectual Property and International Standards

  • The implications of Intellectual Property – Patents, Registered Designs, Design Right, Registered Trademarks, Copyright
  • The importance and effect of international standards on the design of products – BSI and ISO Standards.

Click on this a video blog on Product analysis



4.2.1 Materials and components (AS)

This section is about developing a general appreciation of the wide range of materials and components available to designers and manufacturers. This general appreciation should be supported by a more detailed knowledge of a range of materials, partly developed through use in specialist project work in units DT2 and DT4.

Materials, components and their potential application.

  • Classification, general characteristics and uses of:-
  • Natural materials and elements to include, cotton, copper,hardwoods, linen, silk, silver, softwoods, wool;
  • Plastic/pure synthetic to include, acrylic, cellophane, epoxy resin, kevlar, polyamide (nylon), polyester, PTFE, polypropylene, PVC;
  • Regenerated materials to include, blockboard, cellulose-based boards (cards), chipboard, MDF, paper, viscose; alloys and composites to include, aluminium alloy, brass, pewter, bronze, carbon fibre, GRP, low and medium carbon steels;
  • Stock forms of the above materials to include, bonded, knitted, laminated, profiled, sheet and woven forms,availability and comparative costs.

Working characteristics of materials: physical, chemical and composite.

  • The physical, working and chemical properties of range of materials, to include conductivity, relative hardness, density, toughness, ductility, tensile and compressive strength, malleability, as appropriate to the material in question;
  • Appreciation of the complex interrelationships between material, form and manufacturing process and consideration of how the material affects the structure of the product.

Methods of creating materials with specific properties.

  • To include compositing, combining, laminating and reforming;
  • Awareness of current developments of new materials and alloys together with their application, e.g. SMART materials;
  • Foams, rubbers, wood-based composites, microfibres, performance fabrics and metallicised materials.

Awareness of modern material technology.

  • An appreciation of how product development is influenced by modern materials, to include an understanding of a range of composites, functional (SMART) materials, which change their shape or properties in response to various stimuli.

The choice of materials for specific service requirements.

  • To include resistance to abrasion, weathering and fire, suitability for embossing, cold working, dimensional integrity;
  • quantitative and qualitative testing of materials.

The choice of finishes for specific service requirements.

  • Finishing techniques, including both self-finished and applied-finishing processes to improve aesthetic and/or physical characteristics, such as coating, painting, varnishing, laminating, anodising and holographic finishes.

Components and their potential application.

  • A broad understanding of the availability and use of a wide range of bought-in components and fitting appropriate to the material(s) and application;
  • A knowledge of temporary means of joining/fastening a broad range of materials, such as rivets, knock-down fittings, screws, velcro, zips.

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4.2.2 Industrial and commercial practice (AS)

This section is about understanding various methods of production and being able to apply appropriate commercial practices in practical projects.

The main features of manufacturing industry, including employment and commercial practices.

  • Principles of industrial manufacturing systems across a range of scales and levels of production to include: mass, batch, one-off and different product types
  • Staffing needs, allocation of costs, ‘Just in Time’ manufacture and commercial liability
  • Bought-in, standardised part assembly, sub-contracting. the effect of production across manufacturing sites

Manufacturing systems,including one off, batch, high volume, bought-in parts.

  • The use of different levels of production taking into account economic decisions;
  • Unit/one-off (including prototyping), modular/batch and high volume production.

Stages of production.

  • Primary and secondary processing; Sourcing of materials, the buying cycle, forward ordering,storage, processing, assembly, finishing, packaging/labelling and transportation.

Detailed manufacturing methods, when preparing,combining, manipulating or processing materials.

  • Comparison of hand and commercial methods of preparing, shaping, cutting/wasting, joining materials, such as casting and sintering, fabrication and injection moulding, cutting textiles by hand and laser.
  • The influence of the above on the time taken to produce the product, its quality and final cost
  • knowledge of manufacturing through the analysis of products.

Management systems for production, quality assurance, organisation of equipment and people.

  • Internal Quality Control (QC) and external Quality Assurance (QA) requirements
  • Project management systems including flow charts, GANTT charts and critical path analysis
  • Modern methods of labour organisation to include single craft, progressive bundle and cell. Total quality manufacturing principles.

Safe working practices, including identifying hazards and making risk assessments.

  • Commercial working practices and responsibilities and their application to project work
  • five-step risk assessment. (Identify hazard, who might be harmed & how, evaluate potential for risk, record, review if details change); provision of equipment, signage etc.

Click on this a video blog on Industrial and commercial practice


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