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BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Overview

Our new Product Design & Innovation programme is unlike any traditional product design course, arising directly from a diverse and discursive art school ethos. Through talking, drawing, crafting, breaking and hacking, this transformational programme will equip you with the tools you’ll need to challenge conventional thinking and help transform the future of product design.

Encouraging innovation, it combines physical and digital product design with an understanding of contemporary shifts in sustainable, ethical and open design principles in order to train the designers of the future.

Sustainable Design Workshop: Jamie and his students 'teardown' a mass produced toaster to improve it's design.

Working at the interface between physical and digital interactions, we offer design in a way that is unique in the UK. Through practical and theoretical exploration and innovation we’ll show you how to find the best possible design solution to each problem, without being confined to just one discipline.


Students have access to a range of facilities, from our Fab Lab to our Craft, Design and Fabrication workshops.

Through creative thinking, disruptive design principles and cross-disciplinary ideas exploration, you will consider how design shapes and impacts upon society, sustainability and lifestyle. 

But we don’t just teach you to how to design and make, we also show you how to consider relevant issues in your design thinking, and understand how to take your product directly to market. From self-start-ups to crowdfunding, we encourage a creative approach that moulds you into an entrepreneur, a change-agent and an innovator.


Making an international mark on design at the Making Futures conference in Beijing.

Our ideal student is up for a challenge, ready to disrupt and to make an impact on the world. You’ll be part of a creative community of artists, designers and makers, which is big on innovation and collaboration.

Based at the centre of the college’s industry-standard Design and Fabrication Workshops and our international community of sustainable design, the programme gives you the critical tools to join an industry that contributes over £70 billion per year to the British economy, and is vitally important across the world. 

Design Disruptors Trailer - A documentary from InVision.

What will I achieve?

We’ll teach you the traditional design skills that you’ll need to meet a commercial client brief – such as 3D modelling and computer-aided design (CAD), both of which you can put into practice using the 3D printers in our Fab Lab.

And we’ll encourage you to break the rules, find new solutions and solve problems in an ethical and sustainable way, designing products and schemes that balance the needs of the economy with those of our environment, lifestyles, and society.

Responsible design solutions and innovation are important to us: as a society we’re currently using twice as many resources as the planet can sustain. But unlike programmes of design study that focus solely on sustainability, we’ll teach you to balance the needs of the economy with those of the environment.


“I believe designers possess the power to have a truly meaningful and significant impact on the world, and should therefore, always be striving to design ethically and sustainably.  This programme will equip students with the right skills putting them on the path to designing and creating a better world.” — Katy Evans, Sustainable Design Education Program Manager at Autodesk


Our aim is to encourage and support your creative education, helping develop your career throughout your studies and after. As a graduate of this programme, you will become essential to the expansion of the UK’s design industry – one of the most established and respected in the world. 

In the UK, businesses where design is integral to operations are twice as likely to have developed new products and services.

As part of a progressive, free-thinking, independent ethos, we’ll encourage you to experiment with new processes and take risks, cutting across the confines of traditional thinking and subject designation. 


Our on campus gallery draws in a busy schedule of exhibitions and talks from national and international artists across all disciplines. Work: Silo Studio.

We engage with areas that other design programmes don’t have the flexibility to explore. 

You’ll engage with the entire lifecycle of your designed outcomes – from resource identification, through development and production – including e-commerce. We’ll equip you with the tools you’ll need to challenge conventional thinking and help transform the future of product design.


The UK’s design industry is one of the most established in the world. In the UK, businesses where design is integral to operations are twice as likely to have developed new products and services. Successful UK businesses and iconic brands such as Virgin, Jaguar Land Rover, O2, Dyson, and Diageo all regard design as essential to innovation and market expansion.
Arts Council England.


Highlights — BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation:

  • Combine physical and digital product design with understanding of contemporary shifts in sustainable, ethical and open design principles.
  • Enjoy workspace in a dedicated design studio, and access to a range of state-of-the-art workshops, materials and technologies.
  • Embrace an ethos with experimentation and innovation as the norm, and where our open door policy encourages cross-discipline collaboration with other subject areas and specialisms.
  • Explore cutting-edge 2D, 3D and 4D technology, where digital and physical interactions meet in exciting new ways.
  • Join a dedicated creative community where you’ll be surrounded by fellow artists, designers and makers.
  • Engage with the entire lifecycle of your designed outcomes; from resource identification, through development and production.

Have a question for our team? Email:

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Modules

Year one

Introducing traditional product design skills and beyond

The first year of study focuses on all the things you’d expect from a product design programme, including: design modelling; 3D design drawing; sustainable design; interaction design; life-cycle assessments; design for reuse; 2D, 3D, and 4D prototyping, such as using Arduino and building our own 3D printers; forging early commercial links; factory visits and a background in manufacturing processes.

Year two

Working as a professional and disrupting the status quo

In year two you’ll learn how to put all of these skills into professional practice, including: creating business portfolios; dealing with clients; consultancy; costing and pitching for projects. You’ll also learn essential legal theory, from intellectual property and copyright laws, to confidentiality procedures when working as a practising product designer.

The main modules for year two are Disrupting Design, which puts the focus on critical and conceptual work, imagining the future, visual communication and combining physical interactions with digital outcomes, plus ChangeMaking, which teaches you the confidence to take responsibility for embedding ethical practice into your work. ChangeMaking will show you how to view ethical practice as an opportunity and not a crisis, empowering you to create positive change in the world whilst contributing to a growing economy.

Year three

Limitless possibilities to specialise

Equipped with a broad background in practical, conceptual and critical thinking skills you’ll choose an area to focus on, ensuring that you graduate with a specialism in a field that you want to build a career in. From architecture and city design to consumerables like smartphones and self-driving cars, you’ll expand on your areas of interest and design solutions to problems in those fields.

Examples of outcomes of the BA (Hons) Product Design and Innovation programme include concepts like Google’s Project Ara modular phone, designed to produce longer lifecycles for smartphones, reduce electronic waste, allow for easy upgrade through the addition of transferrable technology modules and lower the barrier for entry of new phone hardware manufacturers. Other possibilities could be to merge physical and digital gameplay, like Sensible Object below, or to reflect the concept for shape-shifting tech that takes advantage of our natural dexterity and spatial abilities, as seen in Sean Follmer's TED talk. The possibilities are limitless.


Module details listed above are indicative content only.

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Staff

Kevin Jenkins, Programme Leader

Kevin is an MA qualified product designer with 20 years commercial experience. He has always been fascinated by form, design, new technologies and materials. Alongside heading up our Product Design & Innovation programme, Kevin also runs Box and Pad Ltd, consulting in product design, furniture design, product visualisation and design development with clients in the UK, USA, Europe and the Far East. 

Box and Pad has designed products and fixtures and managed design development for projects for BT, The National Trust, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Topshop, New Look, Haagen Dasz,  various colleges, hospitals and academies.

He recently won Innovation of the Year at the British Sign Awards 2016 for his Shimmerdisc design. 

The staff listed on this programme are correct at the time of writing. Students will be notified if there are any changes to key staff (i.e. Programme Leaders and Lecturers).

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Student Work

Raising awareness of the environment with thermochromatics by Ash Henderson

Student working in our FabLab.

Neon Workshop held by Richard William Wheater of NEON Workshops Ltd

BA (Hons) Glass student work.

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Students Say

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Careers & Alumni

This programme will give you the skills, confidence and aptitude to build a career in a diverse range of design professions that increasingly rely on innovative thinking and collaboration.

You’ll benefit from visiting lecturers and presentations from practising designers. Our tutors are also practitioners, with direct experience of working in their fields – so you’ll work on live briefs and many of the projects you’ll work on will be with real clients.

Our strong international connections allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our design studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.

Our graduates become:

  • Designers
  • Project Managers
  • Design Managers
  • Design Consultants
  • Entrepreneurs/Start-up Founders
  • Strategists for the Public and Private Sector
  • Product Designers
  • Creative Directors
  • Technical Directors
  • Researchers
  • Lecturers


Careers & Enterprise in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art 

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes.  Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Entry Requirements

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Resources

This programme offers you workspace in a dedicated design studio. You’ll get to experiment and specialise using the college’s excellently resourced workshops, materials and technologies.

These offer access to cutting-edge digital facilities, such as our Fab Lab housing 3D printers, 3D scanners, CNC routers, laser cutters, 3D design software from Autodesk and Siemens, and 4D prototyping tools such as Lego Mindstorm and Arduino, to bridge virtual and physical designs.

You’ll be able to cut across the college’s facilities, with opportunities to work in glass, metal, wood, ceramics, plastics, digital image-making, and fabrics, dependent on your interests and desired outcomes.

Through our Careers & Enterprise office, you will have support from a dedicated team focused on developing creative career opportunities. And this doesn’t stop when you graduate, we want to stay in contact and help support you through the first two years of your career.

Our Ceramics Workshops.

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Our Glass Studios.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Our Fab Lab is a digital design hub filled with the latest in 3D technologies.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, a historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best printed textile workshops in the UK.

Our Textile Studios.

The Print Lab and Equipment Resource Centre

The Print Lab offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. And our highly experienced Equipment Resource staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Our Photographic cove.

Our Fine Art Printmaking Studio.

BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation — Interview

UCAS Code: M218 Full Time
Part Time

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