The imagination and creativity of designers touches almost every object in our lives—from the chair we sit on to the cars we drive.
Industrial Designers create concepts and translate them in to visual form—by sketches, models and then through computer software—to communicate and create products that engage, inform, educate, entertain and inspire people. They create layouts or electronic displays and coordinate production and implementation of their designs.
Jon Thompson, Aquaponic Fish Tank, cherry, sintra and glass, 28 x 10 x 12 inches
Our Design Route system is unique in Canada
You can focus your program, according to your specific areas of
interest, by choosing one of our Bachelor of Design Routes: Business and
Marketing, Social Sciences, Engineering, Computing Sciences,
Printmaking or the General Route. This route system gives you the
opportunity to gain specific critical skills and knowledge that meet
particular demands of the current economy.
Your first year courses, common to all students in the BDes Program,
will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of visual art and design
practice and history. In studio courses you’ll develop skills in
drawing, the use of colour and two and three-dimensional studies.
Courses in the History of Art, Design and Visual Culture show and
analyze specific works of art and design in relation to their historical
and social contexts. After completing your first year, you may choose
to focus your studies in Visual Communication Design or Industrial Design, or
you can continue to take courses in both disciplines. During the senior
years of your program, you will have opportunity to work on projects
with clients and undertake a practicum (internship) and gain design
experience in a real world setting.
Your design studies will teach you technical skills, how to think
critically and how to visualize your ideas and bring them to life. Our
program is guaranteed to stimulate your intellectual and creative
growth. You’ll develop advanced thought processes and conceptual skills
and you’ll discover the relationship between design and the ethical
responsibilities associated with being a design professional.
Our class sizes allow instructors to get to know their students—their
abilities and strengths—and to give them a substantial amount of
individualized attention. Students also get to know each other well and
build long-term relationships and friendships that sometimes translate
in to business partnerships and professional relationships later on.
Throughout your BDes degree, you will have opportunities to engage in
projects with members of local communities, organizations and
businesses. You also have opportunities to participate in design studies
trips, international exchanges and study abroad. Our Student Design Association organizes both local, national and sometimes international
shows where you can display your designs and network with potential
Mike Buss, Master of Design thesis exhibition entitled Design for Empowerment: Developing New Approaches for Humanitarian Design
Our MDes degree program provides advanced studies in Industrial
Design (and Visual Communication Design) in the division of Design
Studies. Our approach is interdisciplinary and our purpose is to equip
graduates with advanced design methods that prepare them to face new
problems in effective, meaningful and appropriate ways. Facilities and
equipment in Industrial design and Visual Communication Design include
current technologies and large studio spaces and offices. Graduate
students benefit from high contact and supervision time with a variety
of academics in the Department of Art & Design as well as across the
University as a whole.
- Custom Sit-Ski (skiing apparatus for persons with lower limb disabilities)
- The Social Object (examination of the role of interior objects and their interaction with users)
- Innovation, Technology, Design (refocusing product creation on user empowerment)
- Medical Modeling (development of a 3D printed rhinoplasty model for teaching plastic surgeons)
- Motivational Adherence (development of a strategy for weight reducing app)
During your first year of study, you will work under the guidance of
several Design Studies Professors on a number of projects. Upon
completion of your first year course work, you’ll begin your thesis
project. The development of your thesis may take between one and two
years, depending on the nature and complexity of the project. Your
thesis project allows you to develop advanced research and working
methods and make to contribution through the outcomes to your chosen
field of design. Normally, the thesis includes a design product/outcome
and a written document that articulates the research undertaken and
contextualizes the work.
Industrial Design (ID) students work in classrooms, a large common
space and studios/labs that feature design and prototyping technologies.
Prototyping activities are supported by a large workshop that has
numerous machines that can process and develop your ideas. We also have
3D printers and a CNC router to process your CAD designs. An Apple Mac
computer lab provides multiple stations equipped with industry-standard
design software and tablets for digital and interactive design. Large
format digital printing is available on campus. Graduate students have
access to all ID facilities, as well as individual computer work
stations in a shared graduate studio space.
University of Alberta’s excellent library system helps you stay
informed about current issues in art and design. Various collections of
prints and rare books are also available for thesis project research in
addition to the vast, interdisciplinary resources of the University.
The Fine Arts Building (FAB) Gallery provides both undergraduate and
graduate students a professionally-run exhibition space to display work
and to see work by other prominent artists and designers.
We are the only university in Canada to have a Canada Research Chair in Design Studies.
This is an exceptional asset to our program.
Undergraduate students can undertake internships with design studios
and organizations—locally or abroad—to gain valuable experience and
design expertise. Research opportunities are incorporated into the
curriculum at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Our graduate students are highly active in the University, local,
national and international communities. They attend conferences and
symposia in Canada and abroad. Some are (or become) members of the
Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, which connects them to ico-D,
the International Council of Design, The Industrial Designers Society of
America (IDSA) Association Canadian Industrial Designers (ACID). The
University environment provides access to enormous resources, expertise
and, therefore, to incredible opportunities for interdisciplinary
research and collaborative work. Your graduate studies can be enriched
by international travel and connections you make at events and
Design Studies offers innovative interdisciplinary programs supported
by excellent teaching by internationally recognized faculty members,
quality facilities, technical staff and infrastructure. Field trips,
travel courses and internships can enrich your graduate experience. ID
faculty are involved in Medical Design, Creative Economy Research,
Social Indigenous Design interactions, Design Education, Assistive
Devices Design, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Design for an Aging
Population, Design Theory, Critical Design, and Furniture Design.