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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The Basic Design Studio provides students with the basic tools for designing functional products and following the strict connection between requirement and performance, with hints to communication and service design.

The Studio is made of a main discipline (Product Design) and an in-depth Module (Materials and Production). The synergy of both Modules aims to provide students with the fundamental tools to shape the production with a material prevalence. Through a scientific approach, made of lessons and immediate experimental interim exercises, students will be guided to an aware design of products and the possible integration with communication and service issues.

In the learning process, it will be a key point to be able to trace and manage the information sources for deepening concepts, tools, production methods and materials, knowing how to analyse, evaluate and include in the design setting and then to develop critical thinking and the ability to synthesize.
As part of the Laboratory, students will have to acquire the ability to describe the design specifications of what they have conceived, taking into account the needs of a potential customer, and to configure its shape accordingly.

In addition to the graphic and representation skills of the project, in the scales and with the appropriate methods, students will deepen their knowledge of the fundamental performance of the materials.
The final design must therefore be soundly conceived and represented, starting from an initial concept up to its final form.

The Basic Design Studio A and B have the same learning objectives, even if carried out with different teaching methods. In any case, common events will be planned, in the form of workshops and seminars, in order to investigate the conceptual bases of design and help to deepen the topic of the final exam.


Master the essential tools of drawing in general and orthogonal projections in particular.
Knowing the basics of graphic design, visual perception and editorial graphics.

Course programme

Planar design will be explored as one of the main features of contemporary design, managing the transition from two to three dimensional projects.

Through lessons and exercises the student will learn how to:
- hierarchize one's thoughts to shape the project
- check the sign, its definition and its composition in space
- study the visual weight of the composition and check the connection between the features of its elements
- analyse, choose and control the colour
- produce visual interest, through the composition and repetition of complex outlines (patterns)
- transfer the acquired knowledge from two-dimensional to a three-dimensional project
- analyse the relationship between the requirements chosen for your artefact, its production and the necessary performance.

To support these skills, it will be offered a set of meetings with experts and companies.

Module of Product Design:
- The tools of communication
- Qualifying subjects for contemporary design
- Tools and methods: measure, sort, orient
- The sign and its variations
- Repetitions, modules, patterns and textures
- Colour: meanings and uses;
- The two and three-dimensional product
- Applications: the project for the company and the interpretation of requests and needs
- Drawing to produce

Module of Materials and Production:
- introduction to materials, their characteristics and classification
- use and transformation of materials
- sustainability of materials
- bend the materials to the needs of the design
- relationship between requirements and performances
- sensory and technical features
- in-depth study of the main materials for the industrial product design, traditional and innovative, and their production methods.

Didactic methods

The learning program will be developed through the following activities:
a) Theoretical lessons
b) Practical exercises, carried out individually and in small groups
c) Common workshops
d) Seminars and reviews with external experts
e) Final design exercise.

In the case of foreign students (Erasmus, Atlas, etc.), it is possible to manage with teachers a bibliography in English and to carry out the design review in English; it will remain as compulsory the participation to all lessons and exercises.
Foreign students will have to carry out group exercises together with Italian students.
Students participating in international exchanges may attend to both or just one of the Modules of the Basic Design Studio. In this case it’s foreseen the delivery of the intermediate exercises of the chosen Module and of the final exercise in a "reduced" version in the minimum contents required (only those relating to the module attended). If attending to a single Module, the final grade will be a weighted average of the intermediate evaluations and of the final project by the teacher responsible for that Module.

The Basic Design exam takes place in the form of an interview with the student, who must present the final design exercise and the results of the interim exercises of both Modules (DP + MEP), in proportion to their complexity.
Both Modules foresee mandatory INTERIM EXERCISES, useful to achieve the compulsory frequency to pass the Course. These exercises will be assigned by the teacher to single students or to groups, according to their specific content and typology.
The final delivery will be in digital and paper format and it will be the application to a real case of the researches made by the student during the term.
The experimental activities foreseen by the Studio will be communicated well in advance.
The evaluation of the interim exercises will be based on these criteria:
- compliance with the project brief;
- quality of representation;
- quality of the concept,
- timekeeping of the delivery.

Learning assessment procedures

All the exercises must be delivered, whether they are sent in time by the student or if he decides to deliver them only before the final exam. If the interim exercises will be provided at the end of the course, they have to be pre-assessed by the teachers, in order to admit the student to the exam session.
Please note that the study plan requires each Course to be complemented by a noticeable number of hours of personal study at home and therefore will be required to develop independent exercises and study activities.

In evaluating the interim exercises, the compliance of the result with the given objectives will be taken into account, as well as the delivery methods and times which, if not observed, will decrease the judgment. When the project delivery takes place within the prescribed time frame, the teacher will provide a synthetic assessment of the result, relating to critical or particularly positive aspects. The student will be entitled to integrate and / or modify the delivered exercise to improve the outcome, following the instructions received and notifying the teacher.

The judgements given to the interim exercises, common to both Modules, will use a parametric code, supplemented by notes; their value in the final judgement will thus be calculated not in a merely arithmetic way, in order to promote the student's commitment in improving exercises (if not good) and taking into account his/her personal progression (from the beginning to the end of the course), without compromising the achievement of a good final result.

The final exercise will be carried out in a group, to enhance the student's ability to collaborate as a team, with aggregations of 3 students; the arrangement of the group will be freely made by the students; if not done, the groups will be defined by the teachers.
The development of the final project will begin about halfway through the course and will be coordinated by both teachers of the Studio, who will also carry out reviews with the students, in order to provide information as coordinated as possible, albeit specialized. The students will also be assisted by teachers and collaborators who will participate in the activities of workshops and seminars.

The content of the final project will be discussed during the exam and its evaluation will be carried out according to the following criteria:
- proper planning framework;
- quality of the concept;
- compliance of the project with the identified objectives;
- quality of the graphic representation;
- compliance of the proposed materials to the project requirements;
- completeness of the required documents.

All the interim exercises will give to the student three synthetic judgements:
1. delivery of intermediate Product Design exercises (low, medium, high range);
2. delivery of intermediate exercises in Materials and Production (low, medium, high range);
3. delivery of the exercises developed in Workshops and Seminars (low, medium, high range);
The grade assigned to the final exercise will be placed in four judging bands: insufficient (repeat); 18/22; 23/26; 27/30.
The final mark assigned to the student will therefore match to the final exercise score, weighted taking into account the three synthetic judgements obtained in the interim exercises.
The evaluation of the final project (and its presentation) has an indicative impact of 70% on the closing exam grade, considering, as an integration, the judgment achieved in the intermediate exercises developed in the first stage of the Course, of the attendance (which will be punctually checked) and of the active participation throughout lessons; it will be therefore possible to assign different grades to students belonging to the same group.
The honours will be awarded unanimously by the teachers and only to students who have demonstrated particular innovation skills and will have delivered all the interim exercises.

Reference texts

- Bruno Munari, Da cosa nasce cosa, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 1981.
- Donald Norman, Emotional Design, Basic Books, 2005

Further specific texts will be suggested during the lessons.
At the end of each lesson, the projected slides will be available online in the Course file.

- Thompson R., Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals, Thames & Hudson2007.
- Thompson R., Thompson M., The materials Sourcebook for Design Professionals, Thames & Hudson, 2017

At the end of each lecture the slides will be made available online.
Further specific documents will be recommended during the learning activities, mainly chosen within books and e-books available at the Department library, free access files in pdf or video, downloadable from the course website or linked from the web.