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,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 2 2021


Brunswick Campus


370H Design


Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023,
Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Simon Curlis

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



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 and ethical frameworks of undertaking design projects in commercial settings; Intellectual Property and moral rights; liabilities; and, legislative and regulatory regimes for industrial design, including design standards, product stewardship and environmental impact mitigation. You will explore how methods of design thinking and ethics are applied to strategic planning in the areas of new product and service development, and the diffusion of new and emerging technologies.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

In this course you will develop 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.

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

1) Critically reflect on the ethical dimensions and demonstrate a professional approach to management, research and documentation tasks of industrial design practice.

2) Collaborate with others on the negotiation of design business and strategy problems, and legal and ethical dilemmas.

3) Apply methods of design thinking to complex problems in product and service design, production and use.

4) 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.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be introduced to, and undertake investigations into various modes of design strategy and professional ethics through case studies, readings, 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, discussions, group and individual research, presentations, academic writing, peer review and associated design activities. You are encouraged and expected to contribute (in an ongoing manner) to tutorial discussions and to present your work and ideas in an open way for appraisal by peers.


Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

To effectively participate in coursework, either on or away from campus, you are advised to obtain (as a minimum) the following:

  • Drawing Supplies including visual diaries, pens, pencils, markers and ancillary products and consumables.
  • Personal Protective Equipment including protective eye-wear, ear plugs, a dust jacket, and closed toe safety shoes
  • Prototyping Supplies including a 150mm steel ruler, a high quality craft knife and ancillary products, materials and consumables.
  • Design and Documentation Equipment including a personal computer of an appropriate specification, course specific software, a digital camera and a mobile phone.

    When on campus you will have access to and will utilise the School of Design workshop facilities, specialist computer labs and software, and 2D and 3D printing facilities.

    Course specific resources such as readings, reference lists, access to specialist software, video demonstrations and class notes will be provided online.

    There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Ethical Appreciation in Design, 10% CLO1, CLO3

Assessment Task 2: Redesign Strategy, 40% CLO1, CLO2, CLO3, CLO4

Assessment Task 3: Pitch 20%, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3, CLO4

Assessment Task 4: Ethical Reflection, 30%, CLO1, CLO3, CLO4

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

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 Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.