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Why Should Engineering Students Care about Industrial Design? And if they don't, How to Enlighten them?

Prof Mike Ashby | University of Cambridge

Why Should Engineering Students Care about Industrial Design? And if they don't, How to Enlighten them?

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Most students of Engineering or of Materials Science are attracted by the systematic, analytical rigor of their subject. To them the word 'Design' means 'provision of function in ways that are safe, reliable and affordable'. To them, the language of Industrial Design carries little meaning or sense. Yet successful products depends as much of provision of usability and satisfaction as provision of function. Failure to understand the role and importance of the Industrial Designer is failure to engage fully with the mission of Engineering. Courses in that combine the approaches of Engineering and Industrial Design, informing students about both exist and are very successful. But most large engineering programs do not take this approach and already have programs so full that inflating them further new courses is out of the question. So the challenge: how to inform students in large, 1st year Engineering courses, of the meaning, role and importance of Industrial Design in a single lecture? This talk is (a little reduced) the single 1st year lecture that has been used in the Engineering Department at Cambridge to give students some insight into the ways in which aesthetics, associations and perceived character contribute to the desirability of products.