Product design

Studying product design will teach you to seamlessly blend creativity and functionality, shaping the future by crafting innovative solutions that enhance everyday life.
Studying product design offers a unique blend of creativity and functionality, preparing you to shape the future of innovative and purposeful design. It involves learning about ideation, prototyping, and user-centric design methodologies. As a product designer, graduates are prepared for many careers, including roles in industrial design, user experience (UX) design, consumer electronics, and sustainable design. Product design also provides opportunities for entrepreneurship, collaborative design projects, and contributions to industries ranging from tech and healthcare to environmental sustainability.  
The impact you could make
  • Work sustainably to reduce the environmental footprint of consumer goods
  • Contribute to technological advancements by creating cutting-edge products
  • Influence trends, preferences, and attitudes toward design aesthetics and functionality
What you could study
  • Materials
  • Visualisation techniques
  • Contextual studies and ergonomics
  • Engineering analysis for product designers
  • Basic electronics for product design
  • Creativity in professional practice

Study options

Options to study in this field include:

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Example module
“Probably for me personally the opportunity we have to make prototypes and develop our product that way not just on the computer or paper. I've also enjoyed my work experience in two different places.”
Second year product design student at Bangor University
Example assignment
"A project for a Scottish soap company where we had to think about a design intervention to enhance the brand’s identity and experience."
Second year product design student at Glasgow School of Art

Subjects it's useful to have studied first

Some product design courses or apprenticeships will have requirements for previous qualifications in certain subjects. 
Art and design
Hard skills you'll develop
  • Sketching and visual communication
  • 3D modelling
  • Quality control and cost estimation
  • Sustainable practices
Soft skills you'll develop
  • Client relationship building
  • Ethical decision making
  • Presentation skills
  • Negotiation skills

Careers: Where it can take you

Find out more about your career prospects from studying product design. The following information is based on a typical design professional role. 
Available jobs
29,097 vacancies in the past year
5.82% job growth over next eight years
Average salary
Up to £47,936

What is an...innovation consultant?

An innovation consultant is an exciting role that revolves around guiding businesses through the dynamic landscape of product design innovation. They look for creative and strategic breakthroughs, exploring new ideas and pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking. Drawing on their expertise in product design, they develop innovative solutions that address challenges like sustainability and capitalise on emerging trends.  

Getting in: Enry requirements

Find out more about what you'll need to study product design at university or as an apprenticeship.

Average requirements for undergraduate degrees

Entry requirements differ between university and course, but this should give you a guide to what is usually expected from product design applicants.

A Levels
Scottish Highers
Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma or SQCF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative

Considering an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is just like applying for a normal job. Here’s what you need to know: 

  1. Deadline

    Apprenticeships don't follow the same deadlines as applying to uni, the deadline is down to the employer. 
  2. Where to apply

    You apply directly through the employer. 
  3. No limits

    You're not restricted to one apprenticeship application; you can do as many as you like. 
  4. Apply to university and apprenticeships

    There's nothing stopping you applying to university through UCAS, while also applying for apprenticeship vacancies. 
  5. Find out more

A day in the life of a Design Apprentice

Explore further

Go deeper into topics around product design with the following. 
  1. Abstract: The Art of Design

    If digital product design interests you, watch this Netflix series which takes an in-depth look into computer design and modern contemporary design with some of the world's most highly regarded designers. 
  2. TED Talks: Product design

    A collection of TED Talks and articles on the topic of product design. 
  3. Design Week

    Follow the Design Week website for all the latest news, views and analysis on the latest product and industrial design stories, covering transport, tech products, and homewares. 
79% of students
are highly likely to recommend product design to others
(UCAS subject guide survey 2023)

Application advice

Whether it's personal statement tips or what to write in a cover letter for an apprenticeship application, our application advice will help you get ahead in your product design journey. 
Skills, experiences, and interests to mention
  • Talk about your appreciation for aesthetics and artistic elements in design, showing an understanding of the balance between form and function.
  • Mention any experience with prototyping or model making, proving your ability to bring design concepts to life.
  • Do you have any practical experience that highlights your project management skills, particularly if you've led or collaborated on design projects?
  • Show your awareness of current design trends and an understanding of the market, talking about how you stay up to date with the industry.
  • What are your future goals in the field of product design? How will this course align with those aspirations and contribute to your academic and professional development?

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