Industrial Design Freshmen: Completing The Module Project

Design 1 student teams observe their systems being built by outside users. The insights gained from this valuable research exercise will inform each team’s designs going forward.

Freshman student teams in the Industrial Design 1 studio recently completed The Module Challenge. It’s one of the most exciting projects of the semester and one that draws on all that students have learned in the program thus far. The task is simple: design a modular system to span an 8-inch foamcore cube.

Inside of that simple challenge, the teams must meet a number of other qualifiers: the system must be made solely of bristol board and must use no fasteners whatsoever. Folding, tabbing, slotting and the like are the only means that can be used to hold the system together. In addition, each team must create a set of instructions so that their system can be assembled in 20 minutes or less. We then bring in an outside panel of builders to test out the systems and do a timed build.

It’s great for the teams to see how their designs stack up against each other and most importantly, understand what should be done to improve their systems. That continuous iteration and enhancement is a crucial skill for every industrial designer and one that students begin developing from the day they enter the program.

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