Course Title: Industrial Design Honours Project Part One: Design Research and Development

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Industrial Design Honours Project Part One: Design Research and Development

Credit Points: 24.00


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: Juliette Marie Anich

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
GRAP 2221 Industrial Design Studio Specialisation

Course Description

This course constitutes part one of the capstone self-directed design research project where you will develop and undertake a complex design research project that aligns to a particular field of disciplinary practice. Located in a design research studio context with peers with similar disciplinary interests, you will be supervised by academic staff members that are experts in that particular field of disciplinary practice. You will undertake a process of concurrently researching and designing propositional solutions to a self defined set of research questions. Your semester will culminate in a refined design proposition that will be presented through a variety of mediums.

Your refined design proposition will form the basis for the next phase of design research, prototyping and testing that will be undertaken in Industrial Design Honours Project Part Two: Design Research and Prototyping in the following semester. Alongside your Honours design project you will develop a comprehensive body design-research documentation that describes your particular field of inquiry, the key ideas, literature and case studies in that field, and the methods by which you undertake design research practice the the specific knowledge generated through it. 

Please note that if you take this course for a Bachelor Honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

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

  • Develop and propose innovative concepts through research-led design processes that identify and respond to complex design issues and opportunities.
  • Rigorously articulate your design research and practice to a professional standard through a range of mediums including drawings and design documentation, prototypes, presentations within a particular domain of design research practice.
  • Through the process of design critically analyse and define your own positions in the design research context and reflect on the efficacy and rigour of your own practices.
  • Apply critical, creative and strategic design thinking through a rapid acquisition and application of specialist knowledge and skills and the management of design research projects in collaboration with peers and other stakeholders.
  • Initiate and conduct design research around a set of clearly framed and self defined questions and design methods in a particular context of application.

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.
  • Articulate complex design ideas to diverse audiences through an advanced and adaptable repertoire of communication strategies and technologies.
  • Generate innovative approaches to design problems and solutions, with a criticality and openness to the perspectives and needs of others in a situation.
  • 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.
  • Reflect on own learning and the efficacy of design decisions made, adapting to needs and issues as they arise, and continuously seeking improvement.
  • Demonstrate through practice-based design research an advanced knowledge of the socio-technical, environmental and economic eco-systems of industrial design both locally and globally

Overview of Learning Activities

Delivered in a design studio format with research and design project supervision, you will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of face-to-face, self-directed and online activities. This course engages you in learning about design via an immersion into specific aspects of the discipline, its methods and practices through a self defined and self-directed design research projects. Studio activities to support your learning will involve a range of planned learning experiences including: individual and group problem solving; sketch ideation and the iterative development of design concepts; making and prototyping for the purpose of further refining propositions, and presenting and reflecting on individual and collective learning processes.

The specialised knowledge and skills engaged in your capstone research project will be made evident through project-based activities shared in group settings. This demands that you develop reflective and open individual and peer appraisal practices, with a willingness to take risks with preconceptions and constructed understandings of how the world works, what is possible within it, and how design may provide ways to engage with change.

Learning activities include studio sessions where ideas are developed and documented through a variety of methods: prototyping ideas into material design artefacts within workshop environments; developing a practice of journaling design ideas; lectures and studio tutorials; peer review processes; and, independent design inquiry and critique. The design studio format gives you the opportunity to explore and apply social, contextual and theoretical design issues in depth and through a variety of approaches, technical principles, real and simulated situations and practical constraints.

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.
  • Prototyping Supplies including protective eye-ware, ear plugs, a dust jacket, closed toe or safety shoes a 150mm steel ruler, a high quality craft knife 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.

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.

You will have access to and will utilize the School of Design workshop facilities and access to computer labs with specialist software and printing facilities.

RMIT Swanston Library has extensive resources for Industrial Design Students.

Overview of Assessment

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 research reports, visualisations, design prototypes, design project documentation and conduct, and presentations.

Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. You will develop your work in relation to your own specific areas of interest in your professional practice and design research.

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: