Course Title: The Contemporary Industrial Design Enterprise: Modes and Practice in Design Business

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: The Contemporary Industrial Design Enterprise: Modes and Practice in Design Business

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


315H Architecture & Design


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013


City Campus


320H Architecture & Urban Design


Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017


City Campus


370H Design


Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Liam Fennessy

Course Coordinator Phone: Please email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Please email

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

GRAP 2225 Methods in Design Research and Practice

Course Description

The Contemporary Industrial Design Enterprise: Modes of Practice in Design Business extends understandings of design theory and practice and introduces you to how notions of design practice are applied beyond the university context. Professional design practice in this sense is framed as a way of both “being” and “knowing”: a process of lifelong learning; and, a strategic and critically engaged practice that negotiates concerns of design as a creative practice within the often competing concerns of design in the business context.

You will be exposed to three distinct modes of operation in contemporary industrial design enterprise: the “Industry of One” where the designer functions as a freelance and entrepreneurial agent that develops their own design enterprise; “Design in Industry”, where the designer works within the organizational settings and protocols of a manufacturing enterprise or design consulting business; and, design as “Creative and Research-led Practice”, where the designer pursues a self defined set of concerns for design through propositional and engaged practice, working in the research, innovation, cultural and community domains. Through this you will develop an appreciation for the ecosystem of industrial design enterprises and the professional and pragmatic dimensions of each mode of contemporary industrial design practice.

A particular focus is given to how designers work in teams, organisational and management theory, professional ethics, and the shifting nature, and potential future, of the profession in contexts of practice driven by market economics, consumer culture and rapid technological change.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Convey a critical appreciation of various modes of professional practice within different forms of industrial design enterprise.
  • Collaborate with others on the negotiation of the often complex operational, legal and financial issues confronted within design businesses of differing scales and orientations within the innovation, services, manufacturing sectors and the creative industries.
  • Demonstrate an applied and professional approach to business planning, project management, research and documentation tasks.

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes:

  • Apply analytical, critical, creative and strategic thinking to industrial design problems and research within complex and unfamiliar contexts and concerns.
  • Collaborate with other specialists and key stakeholders on design problems on multi-disciplinary projects in diverse settings.
  • Advocate through design practice the improvement of the conditions and well being of people, cultural practices and environments.
  • Initiate, plan, manage and execute research and design projects with independence and in an objective and ethical manner

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be introduced to and undertake an investigation into various modes of professional practice and design enterprises. This will occur through case studies, tutorial activities, readings, lectures and active field work. You will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of face to face and online activities such as lectures, tutorials, group and class discussion, group activities and individual research. Additionally you will undertake reading, in field observations, watching films and documentaries, field trips, presentations, academic writing, diagramming, peer review and associated design activities. You are encouraged and expected to contribute (in an ongoing manner) to tutorial discussions and to present their work and ideas in an open way for appraisal by peers.

Overview of Learning Resources

To effectively participate in coursework you are advised to procure (as a minimum) the following:

  • Drawing Supplies including visual diaries, pens, pencils, markers and ancillary products and consumables.
  • Documentation Equipment including a digital camera and an audio recording device such as a mobile phone.

Additionally, it is advisable that you have a personal computer of an appropriate specification.

Assessment tasks, lecture notes and other study materials will be available online through the MyRMIT portal. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning and research.
RMIT Swanston Library has extensive resources for Industrial Design Students.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include essays, research proposals and reports, visualisations, and presentations. Assessment tasks may be undertaken either individually or in teams.

Summative feedback will be given on all assessment tasks and may be delivered in a variety of forms including critique panels, audio or video recordings and written reports.

Additionally, you will receive ongoing formative feedback as you progress through the course from your lecturer and from your peers in view of continuous improvement and greater degrees of reflectivity on your own learning.

Equitable Learning Service

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.

Assessment Policy

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures: