Course Title: Professional Ethics and Design Strategy

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Professional Ethics and Design Strategy

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


315H Architecture & Design


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 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: Areli Avendano

Course Coordinator Phone: Please email

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 100.08.02

Course Coordinator Availability: Contact via email for appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

GRAP 1045 The Contemporary Industrial Design Enterprise: Modes of Practice in Design Business

Course Description

This course opens up the legal and ethical issues of professional practice in the diverse field of Industrial Design. You will learn about: the management of design projects in commercial settings; Intellectual Property and the complexities of protecting design and research; the legislative and regulatory regimes for industrial design, including design rules and standards, product stewardship and environmental impact mitigation; liabilities; and, the ways in which designers engage in the interdisciplinary and often complex contexts in which they do.

You will be exposed to how methods of design thinking are applied to strategic planning in the areas of; new product development (NPD); service design; branding; and, the diffusion of new and emerging technologies.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

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

  • Critically reflect on the ethical dimensions of professional industrial design practice.
  • Collaborate with others on the negotiation of design business and strategy problems, and legal and ethical dilemmas.
  • Apply methods of design thinking to complex problems in product and service design, production and use.
  • Undertake research into the strategic concerns of design business, with sensitivity to, and awareness of the legal and ethical conventions that protect the intellectual property of design oriented enterprises.
  • Through project work demonstrate a professional approach to 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 design strategy and professional ethics. 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: