A future less ordinary

Product Design

Product Design

Our Subject

This is A level course is offered on to Bilborough Sixth Form College students but is delivered at Fernwood School – just a few minutes ride away in the college mini-bus!

AS/A Level Product Design is a subject that provides the opportunity to study, propose and bring to life prototype solutions closely linked to the real world of product manufacture in a range of material areas. Some students leant towards the particular areas such as resistant materials, textiles, graphics, or a combination of materials.

Set your imagination free – this course will encourage you to initiate design solutions and to develop, test and trial working models and prototypes. Using your imagination, innovation and flair, you will work with concepts and materials, developing an understanding of contemporary design and technological practices and consider the uses and effects of new technologies and modern materials.

To study Product Design at Bilborough, you need a minimum grade C/4 or above in Maths GCSE, and you must have achieved at least a grade B/5 in a Technology subject at GCSE. To succeed, you will need a genuine interest in design and practical applications and be confident in sketching and presentation.

This course follows the OCR specification and can be read in more detail atwww.ocr.org.uk

Some questions students ask about this subject

What are class sizes like?
Class sizes are limited to 16.

Where will the lessons take place?
Fernwood School, Goodwood Rd., Wollaton, NG8 2FT. This is a local secondary school (11-16), that is situated nearby the Bilborough campus.

Will I have to purchase materials?
You will be expected to provide your own drawing materials and equipment, but the basic materials needed for construction will be provided. However, depending on what is to be manufactured or the scale of the products, students may have to contribute to, or source their own materials.

Course Structure

AS Product Design

At this level, the subject has a bias towards designing and prototyping. Some students, depending upon their product study, will produce a working prototype, others an aesthetic presentational prototype.

Unit 1: Advanced Innovation Challenge
Assessed through examination (40%)

The examination is divided into two sessions.

Session 1 is a 6 hour design paper that is completed in a workshop rather than an examination hall. The exam board set a different theme each year for which students are able to carry out research or preparation leading up to the examination. This is referred to as a Job bag, and can be taken into the exam and used as inspiration. The design task is carried out on a pre-printed, structured booklet. As part of the exam and design process, you will present their design concepts to around three other candidates, model your design using a range of materials and record progress through sketches and photographs.

Session 2 is a 1 hour examination paper that is sat on a separate day in a traditional exam hall. You will be given your design booklet from session 1 and will be asked two questions which explore your design from session 1. The issue that you may be asked to relate your design to might be, sustainability and the environment, aesthetics, scale of production, etc.

Unit 2: Product Study
Assessed through coursework (60%)

You will be expected to identify a product and carry out an in-depth product analysis of it which will result in you making suggestions for improvement.

Your findings will lead you into product development, prototype modelling and testing. It is not envisaged that this task will involve the complete redesign of an existing product, but rather identify opportunities for its further development or enhancement. This will be presented through an electronic folio (MS PowerPoint) and will include scanned sketches & drawings, CAD work, photographs of models and research, videos, alongside a physical outcome.

A2 Product Design

If you choose to follow this subject at A2 level you will take two further units. The units gained in at AS will therefore represent 50% of the final grade.

Unit 3: Design, Make and Evaluate
Assessed through coursework (60%)

This unit of work is more of a traditional D&T project where a design opportunity is identified and a working product manufactured, tested and evaluated. In addition, you will have to create a marketing presentation. You will have the opportunity to work in different D&T areas such as, engineering, resistant materials, graphics, etc. and it is expected that you use industrial processes/techniques where applicable or possible. As with the AS qualification, your design portfolio will be presented as a MS PowerPoint.

Unit 4: Product Design
Assessed through examination (40%)

Component 1
This section is focussed towards products and applications and their analysis in respect of: materials, components and their uses; manufacturing processes; and industrial and commercial practices.

Component 2
This section assesses the abilities of candidates to make immediate design responses to a given situation by producing a specification and then a range of developed ideas. The ideas should be innovative and consider manufacturing/construction techniques, materials, components and appropriate measurements.


Product design can take you down a number of exciting career paths. Of course there’s industrial, product, and automotive design; but what about computer generated cartoons? Or maybe CAD for industry appeals to you more?

This course could take you into architecture, teaching, manufacturing, advertising or engineering. Perhaps you could be the next Philippe Starck?

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