Skip to content ↓
Sir Jonathan North College

Sir Jonathan North College

Product Design


Product Design is about designing and making using a range of materials including wood, metal and plastics. It offers many opportunities to be creative and innovative and requires students to develop a range of skills to manufacture high quality products, which are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Students will gain skills, knowledge and understanding about materials, processes, tools, machinery and specialist CAD CAM equipment such as the laser cutter and the 3D printer. Students are taught about commercial production techniques and sustainability and encouraged to consider these issues with their own designs.

Programme of Study

Year 7

  • Designing Exploring and developing ideas. Selecting and analysing research material. Identifying users’ needs and formulating a design specification.
  • Making Using a range of materials, tools and processes. Project work -earrings, a twisted key fob and a picture frame.
  • Evaluating Testing and evaluating products, checking for quality and function of finished products.

Year 8

  • Designing Developing skills using a range of 3D sketching and rendering techniques.
  • Making Develop skills using laser cut finger joints. Use a range of hand and machine techniques to produce a functional, high quality product.  Project work – mini storage unit.
  • Evaluating Compare the final product to the original brief and specification. Test the function of the product by using end user trials.

Year 9

  • Designing Develop skills using CAD/CAM, creating their own jpeg image. Use a range of colouring media to design for a 3D product; 2 & 3 point perspective techniques, isometric and oblique drawing techniques.
  • Making Using CAD to create a jpeg image. Laser cut images to embellish calendar blocks (CAM). Construct the blocks and carcase, and embellish product using a range of decorative techniques. Project work - Cast pewter jewellery (necklaces, bracelets, brooches), Calendar blocks.
  • Evaluating Students compare their final product with the users’ needs. The impact of their work on the individual, society and the environment is considered.


The new GCSE Design and Technology qualification allows students to select their chosen material area for their coursework project (50% weighting). The exam for this course is the same for all Design and Technology students (50% weighting). Students can opt to study ‘product design’, for their coursework project.

Students will learn how to use a range of construction and decorative techniques by making products such as semi-precious stone set sterling silver rings, cast pewter pendants, enamelled jewellery and 3D products such as jewellery boxes, bird boxes and functional pieces of furniture and other household products using a range of wood, metal and plastics. All products are made using a rich combination of highly specialised technological equipment and traditional craft skills

Students Study:

  • Design influences, its impact on our lives and the environment - contemporary, historical and cultural influences.
  • Techniques that craftspeople and industry use.
  • The design process, starting from a design brief, through research and development, to planning, making and evaluating.
  • Theory about a range of materials, their properties and their uses (including modern SMART materials).
  • How materials are shaped, manipulated, joined, decorated and finished.
  • How to use a range of hand tools, processes, power tools and high tech machinery safely and accurately (CAD/CAM)
  • How to develop a high quality product through experimenting with a range of decorative techniques using a full range of materials and techniques.
  • Testing and evaluating their own and other designer’s work in order to make informed decisions about their own designs.

Students Produce:

  • A3 formal presentation folio- 20 pages
  • A fully functioning final prototype.
  • Supporting models, prototypes, tests and iterations.

Coursework (50%)

  • Identifying and investigating design possibilities
  • Developing a design brief and specification
  • Generating and developing design ideas
  • Manufacturing a prototype
  • Analysing and evaluating design decisions and prototypes

2 Hour Written Exam (50%)

  • Section A- 10 multiple choice questions - 1 mark responses
  • Section B- Specialist technical principles, 2-8 mark questions
  • Section C-Designing and making principles, 2-8 mark questions.
  • Maths 15%
  • Science 10%

Career Information

The course would be particularly useful to those interested in working in the retail, design and marketing industries, as well as those interested in doing a design degree, such as Design Crafts, Footwear Design, Fashion Accessories Design, Product Design and many more available at DMU and other universities. It is an ideal gateway to an enormous range of careers that require confidence and competence with tools, machinery and equipment; from furniture design to surgery; construction industry to stage and film set production; veterinary work to technician work in many fields. The design folio will be excellent evidence of commitment and creative thinking for future course leaders and employers.

Programme of Study

Year 10

Core technical principles

  • New and emerging technologies.
  • Energy generation and storage.

  • Developments in new materials.

  • Systems approach to designing.

  • Mechanical devices.

  • Materials and their working properties.


Specialist technical principles

  • Selection of materials or components.

  • Forces and stresses.

  • Ecological and social footprint.

  • Sources and origins.

  • Using and working with materials.

  • Stock forms and sizes.

  • Scales of production.

  • Specialist techniques and processes.

  • Surface treatments and finishes.


  • Students will complete various practical projects during year 10 to develop their skills, including making a bird nesting box and cast pewter jewellery.
  • In June, Year 10 students receive the brief for their project work and begin research and design development work for their coursework project.

In depth knowledge and understanding;

  • Electronic systems
  • Papers and boards
  • Natural and manufactured timber
  • Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
  • Thermoforming and thermosetting polymers
  • Textile fibres and fabrics theory

Year 11

Coursework project

  • Identifying and investigating design possibilities (10 marks)

  • Producing a design brief and specification (10 marks)

  • Generating design ideas (20 marks)

  • Developing design ideas (20 marks)

  • Realising design ideas (20 marks)

  • Analysing and evaluating (20 marks)

Students will have a 10 hr practical mock exam in October Year 10 or 11. Their final 10 hour practical exam will be in March Year 10 or 11.


Information on the Production Design Specification can be found here: