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VCE Art and Design

Product Design and Technology Unit 3: Applying the Product Design Process


There are no prerequisites for this unit but previous experience in Design and Technology Units 1 and 2, or related Art and Design subjects is advised.

Course Description

In this unit students are engaged in the design and development of a product that addresses a personal, local, or global problem (such as humanitarian issues), or that meets the needs and wants of a potential end-user/s.

Design and product development and manufacture occur in a range of settings. An industrial setting provides a marked contrast to that of a one-off situation in a small cottage industry or a school setting. Although a product design process may vary in complexity or order, it is central to all of these situations regardless of the scale or context. This unit examines different settings and takes students through the product design process as they design for an end-user/s. Students identify methods which could be used in a low-volume or mass/high-volume production setting to manufacture a similar product to their design.


Areas of Study

Designing for end user(s)

In this area of study students examine the product design process and develop skills in writing a design brief, which is vital for the development of a viable solution. They focus on identifying and designing for a potential end-user/s of an intended product. They consider methods used to establish an end-user/s’ needs for the development of a solution to a design problem.

Using problem-based design scenarios provided by the teacher, students identify appropriate product design factors and write a design brief. In the design brief, students outline the context and express the requirements as constraints and considerations. They annotate this design brief, develop evaluation criteria, identify areas for research and outline design ideas from the brief.

Product Development in Industry

This area of study focuses on the factors, processes and systems that influence the design and development of products within industrial settings. Students explore specific cases and the reasons why design and innovation are integral to value-adding to products. They also examine how companies react to market demands and technological developments. Students look at the role of market research in determining end-user/s’ needs in relation to sustainability. Students investigate the use of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacture (CAM) and new and emerging technologies and materials used in industry. In the context of industrial manufacturing, they develop an understanding of a range of issues relating to innovation, designing, research and development, obsolescence and sustainability. 

Designing for Others

This area of study focuses on students working as designers and applying the product design process to meet the requirements of an end-user/s. Students identify specific needs of the end-user/s by referring to the product design factors and conducting research. Students prepare a design brief that guides their work for this area of study and for Areas of Study 2 and 3 in Unit 4. They examine appropriate techniques for recording and communicating data, information, visualisation of ideas, design options and working drawings and for obtaining end-user/s’ feedback. They appropriately acknowledge resources and the IP of others. Students use creative and critical design thinking techniques throughout the product design process. Students use evaluation criteria and end-user/s’ feedback to select a design option justifying their informed selection of the preferred design. The criteria are also developed with the intention of evaluating the finished product. Students then develop working drawings, using appropriate conventions. Production planning includes:

  • Material testing or trialling.
  • Selection and procurement.
  • Selection of appropriate production processes, including some which are complex.
  • Development of a scheduled production plan and a risk assessment.
  • Development of product specifications and identification of quality measures.

Suitable materials are to be selected from those listed on page 12. After commencing production, students document their progress and explain and justify any production modifications. 

These areas of study focus on the development of products within industrial/commercial settings, including:

  • Manufacturing industries and the role of manufacturing and enterprise in wealth creation and distribution.
  • Industrial production processes.
  • Market demand and technology push.
  • Research and development.
  • Computer aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacture (CAM).
  • Stages in the product cycle and people involved in the design and development of a product.
  • Value adding.
  • Production methods (one off, batch, volume production, mechanisation and automation).
  • Costs of production, including designing, research and development, selection and procurement of materials, manufacturing, energy requirements, quality of product, reliability and employment.


Outcomes Assessment Tasks Marks Allocated
(school-assessed coursework)
Define a design problem and discuss the design process.

SAC – Short answer questions based on a Design Brief / Scenario under examination conditions.

Influences on the design, development and manufacture of products within industrial settings.

SAC – Short answer under examination conditions.

Designing for others.

School assessed task - design folio.


Overall Final Assessment

Graded Assessment Title Assessment Exam Duration Contribution to Study Score (%)
1 Units 3 and 4 Coursework School-assessed   20
2 School-assessed Task School-assessed   50
3 Written Examination November 1.5 hours 30


Reproduced by permission of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victoria, Australia: