Flexible, imaginative, innovative and able to collaborate with other disciplines, industrial designers must respond to rapid commercial and technological change. Increasingly designers are called upon to take a proactive role within industry and become involved in strategic decision making. MA Industrial Design encourages the anticipation and initiation of change in all areas of industrial design: consumer-durable products; capital goods; transport; packaging; sanitary ware; furniture for private, corporate and public environments; architectural space; interface design; design management; and strategies for corporate and governmental development. The relationships between industrial designer, manufacturer, retailer, purchaser and end-user are continually renegotiated, demanding greater flexibility and a wider knowledge of industry and commerce. Managerial skills are often as important as the engineering and creative skills required to develop design concepts. There is a strong emphasis on self-directed and peer-group learning within the course. This is reinforced by the diverse mix of cultures and backgrounds represented by our students. Central Saint Martins has long been at the forefront of design education and continues to play a leading role in shaping industrial design as a discipline.
The course is primarily intended for those with a first degree in product design, three-dimensional design or furniture design. However, we have an increasing number of successful applicants from related disciplines such as ceramic design, interface design, architecture, fine art, jewellery design, engineering and ergonomics. You must also demonstrate that you are sufficiently versed in design practice or a related field, and that your personal and professional aspirations are compatible with the aims of the course. The MA Industrial Design course has students from a mixture of cultures and backgrounds, and has roughly equal numbers of male and female students.
The course consists of three progressive units organised in two stages. The duration of each stage is three terms (one academic year). Units one and two run concurrently during stage one and followed by unit three during stage two. The course culminates in an exhibition.
Unit one addresses the Critical Interrogation of Practice. The unit is undertaken in collaboration with three courses across the College: MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments; MA Textile Futures and MA Design: Ceramics, Jewellery and Furniture and offers the opportunity to meet and work on joint projects with peers from these related subject areas. This unit introduce selected issues and topics, research methodologies and techniques. It is delivered through a sequence of four individual projects scheduled across the first two terms of stage 1. These integrate lectures, seminars and debate on socio-cultural topics with highly focused design projects. Through these, students are encouraged to make connections between their own practice and the issues with which it is inextricably linked.
Unit two runs in parallel and complements the methods and techniques applied in Unit One, developing these through longer, discipline specific, design projects. These projects, which vary in length from one week to two months, are orientated towards the development of methodological, critical and analytical capacities, as well as research, conceptualisation, and communication skills. Each has a research element, a design element and a communication element. They reflect industry experience, involve external practitioners and specialists, and are often collaborative in nature. They are instrumental in the development of students’ ability to define, execute and manage increasingly complex projects. They create the model from which students start to define their own self-directed project in unit 3.
Unit three consists of a single self-directed major project. Students determine the content and structure of this through discussions with the course team. The project may be predominantly theoretical (implementing design primarily as a research tool) or located in more traditional product development, but it should mirror projects undertaken in unit 1 in its basic structure. During unit 3 students further enhance their ability in areas of methodological, critical and analytical capacities, whilst also extending their capacity for self-direction in the planning and autonomous execution of a detailed, research-informed project. unit 3 culminates in the MA assessment and final exhibition.
The majority of MA Industrial Design graduates enter employment in design consultancies and manufacturing industries worldwide. A significant number progress to PhD level or commercial research. Many graduates are now distinguished and respected designers and design managers in international companies.
The course provides a professionally oriented context in which intellectual development is directly applied to design practice. It enables students to evolve as designers who are able take on a strategic role; to develop their ability to identify and respond to social, technological and economic trends; to initiate new approaches to design; and to participate at a high level in the work of multidisciplinary teams.
The course has recently enjoyed collaborative projects with BT, Camper, GlaxoSmithKline, the Home Office, J Paul Getty Museum, London Underground, the Metropolitan Police service, Multisecure and Virgin Megastores.
Course Length 2 years