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Optional subject

3D Product Design

Level: A level Examination board: EDUCAS Specification: Art & Design Three Dimensional Design

Course outline

This is a linear A level course undertaken over two years.

In Year 12 students will be required to develop and expand their knowledge and understanding of a wide range of materials; including modern and smart materials. This also includes the manufacturing processes that link to the different materials groups. Students will also need to acquire a working knowledge of health and safety procedures and relevant legislation. A range of products will be designed and manufactured by the students during Year 12 to support their learning for their coursework major design task starting in Year 12 summer term for Unit 1 and the exam board set Unit 2, undertaken in Year 13. 

Unit 1 is a substantial design and make project, which will test student skills in designing, prototyping and manufacture of a high quality end piece. They will liase and consult with a client/end user to identify a design possibility and design context from which they will develop a range of potential solutions. They will create a series of prototypes, using card 3D printing and foam modelling techniques. This will lead to a final outcome which must be functional. Students will be reequired to annotate throughout their work, showing an understanding of material properties and manufacturing techniques.

As part of this unit, students are required to write and extended piece of supporting investigative research of between 1000 and 3000 words. This must be in their own words and based on the first hand research. 

Unit 2 is set by the exam board and is another design and make project. The final piece for this unit will bee produced under exam conditions in the workshop over 15 hours. Students will need to be able to confidently use the tools and equipment independently, under the health and safety supervision of our technicians, for the final manufacture. 

Course requirements (GCSE grades/interests)

Five GCSE's at grade 9-4 including English Language and Maths. A GCSE in a Design and Technology subject is preferable but not essential.


Unit 1: 60%
The student will produce a portfolio of work at A3, which clearly communicates their analytical, designing, development and evaluation skills. They will produce an appropriate functioning solution that has been sufficiently developed and tested throughout the portfolio. They will include an extended written element of 1000 words minimum, which may contain images and texts and must clearly relate to practical and theoretical work using appropriate working vocabulary and specialist terminology.

Unit 2: 40%
The externally set assignment materials are released to students from 1st February (in the second year of the course) and will consist of a series of visual and written stimuli. One of the stimuli is to be selected by the student and used as a starting point from which to elicit a personal response. Responses are developed during the preparatory study period. They should take the form of an A3 portfolio of preparatory work and development which informs the final design outcome produced in the 15 hours of sustained workshop time. 

Opportunities beyond the classroom

Students have the opportunity to enter a wide range of national competitions to apply their technical knowledge and showcase their work.

Higher education courses linked to the subject

Many Product Design students continue with the subject at degree level. The practical nature of the subject also links well to the study of Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, Manufacturing Systems and Industrial Design.

Careers linked to the subject

Design skills and the ability to visualise new ideas primality link to product and graphic design, engineering and manufacturing, architecture and furniture design. However, it can also be useful in many job families such as marketing, sales and advertising, broadcast media and performing arts, journalism and publishing, construction.

Get in touch

For more information contact the Head of Department.

Name: Mrs Carol Robinson