Introduction to Industrial Design

discipline

Industrial Design is one of the oldest activities in the world and is becoming one of the most powerful professions in the digital age. There are few corporations that do not rely on expertise from industrial designers to help establish their identity, initiate a new strategy, develop a new product, or create an expanded market. Industrial design at Virginia Tech prepares the individual to enter this dynamic field. Experiences and abilities of each student are nurtured and developed by the curriculum to mesh with the world of product development as well as work that includes packaging, exhibit design, material research, flexible environments, corporate image and information technology.

A rapidly expanding professional service, industrial design optimizes the technological, aesthetic, and ergonomic requirements of product design as an integral part of the physical, social and cultural environment. It is the role of the industrial designer, not only to respond to market trends, but to project new territories of opportunity to help provide means for a better and more meaningful life and providing the things and systems to go beyond styling and address substantive needs.

foundation design laboratory

Students in the industrial design program begin their studies in the foundation design laboratory during the first two semesters with architecture, and interior design students.

A strong emphasis on the workshop as in integral extension of the design studio forms the basis of and education experience shared by both industrial design and architecture. Issues of processes, materials and their relationship to industrial design concepts are explored as part of daily studio discussion. Design reviews, seminars, and topical lectures expose students to the broader array of contemporary design issues and historical precedents. At the conclusion of the four year program, each student is required to complete a terminal project. Working independently, they focus on a topic or area of their own choice and produce a fully developed body of work that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of design, production, and communication.

bachelor of science in industrial design degree

The Industrial Design Program offers a four-year Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design (BSID) degree. The curriculum is centered on eight semesters of studio/laboratory instruction in conjunction with lecture courses that uniquely draws support from its place within the college, thus offering the student opportunities for discovery within a wide field of explorations. Housed within the School of Architecture + Design, the program enjoys a rich educational community fostering collaborative scholarship across programs including the Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture, Bachelor Science in Interior Design, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, and PhD in Architecture and Design Research programs.

program vision

Through comprehensive teaching, innovative research and corporate partnerships, an education in industrial design places the humanistic delivery of services, systems and products at the forefront of technological development and ethical responsibility.

mission statement

The mission of the Industrial Design Program is to provide students with the intellectual and physical skills to assume leadership positions in the world of industrial design. The program addresses the interaction of people with objects and their environment addressing the cultural, technological, business, ergonomic, ecological and social factors that lead to more useful and meaningful products and services.

Situated in a rigorous workshop environment with open studios and dedicated desk space, the Industrial Design Program at Virginia Tech endeavors to facilitate learning by doing and to catalyze a student’s independence – thinking for oneself. The program fosters an intensive making culture, advocating experimentation and iteration. The students’ experience culminates in a forward-thinking-global perspective, a capacity for both collaboration and teaching one another, and a sensibility toward ut prosim, the University’s pledge for service. (source)

goals

The studio is the center of activity. The environment is made as rich as possible to foster self-discovery and peer-to-peer learning.

Faculty structure interaction around the following educational tenets:

  • The necessity of self activation by the student
  • The necessity of self criticism and the ability for self correction
  • The maintenance of an attitude of constructive discontent
  • The capacity for holistic learning — industrial design, related fields and the context of knowledge

Through its curriculum and resources the program is committed to providing:

  • a rich studio environment that instills intellectual, tactile and communication skills
  • an environment of dialog and discovery that nurtures the experiences and abilities of each student and meshes them with the world of design
  • state-of-the-art facilities that foster an environment of thinking and experimenting
  • students who are aware of the physical, functional and mechanical aspects of a product as well as its appropriate fit within culture and society
  • an understanding of an ethical imperative to employ industrial design as an instrument to better society
  • an awareness that the design of products must link value and meaning with knowledge of material and production processes.

history

Industrial Design has been part of the activity in the Architecture program since its inception almost 50 years ago with links to the Bauhaus and the Ulm School of Design.

Housed within the School of Architecture + Design, the program enjoys a rich educational community fostering collaborative scholarship across programs including the Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, Bachelor of Interior Design, and the Master of Architecture. The program also has an intrinsic bridge to the Graphic Design Program within the School of Visual Arts. In addition, cross-college collaborations, particularly with Engineering Fundamentals, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering yield exciting and beneficial projects comprised of student teams.

Although relatively a new degree (initiated in 1998), Industrial Design has been part of the activity in the Architecture program since its inception almost 40 years ago. Early founders of the college were aligned with the educational institutions of the Bauhaus and Ulm, and part of that inheritance is still present. Long before the industrial design degree was established the architecture faculty included at least one industrial designer (Pascal Malassigne, IDSA, was hired directly from graduate school in France and served the program for five years; Robert Graeff, IDSA, was part of the faculty for 20 years before retiring in 1996).

The educational linkage of the related disciplines of the School is designed to offer productive challenge to the range and specificity of conventional modes of working while formulating new questions as a result of integral teamwork. The intrinsic relationship between the four programs allows exploration of new territories of opportunity seeded by new research possibilities and corporate liaisons. In addition, cross college collaborations, particularly with Engineering Fundamentals, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering yield exciting and beneficial projects comprised of student teams.