University of Technology Sydney

84110 Aesthetics in Industrial Design

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


Aesthetics play a very important role in industrial design – how people perceive a product can mean the difference between its success, or failure in the market place. However aesthetics are more than simply a means of selling products, the pleasure derived from using products that look, feel and work beautifully is very important to humans from all backgrounds. This subject explores what it is that determines whether aesthetics succeed or fail, and gives the student first-hand experience in analysing and discussing aesthetic as well as practical experience in designing with aesthetic development as the main focus. The subject covers the creative process and methodologies for identifying and developing both aesthetic judgement and confidence.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. have a solid grounding in, and understanding of, aesthetics
2. have an introductory level understanding of the way in which designers manipulate line, colour, shadow and form to satisfy the emotional needs of potential product end users
3. have developed the confidence and ability to put forward and document cohesive, insightful and clearly argued critiques of their work, the work of others and of design in general
4. be able to demonstrate an understanding of the history of designed objects/products and the sociopolitical influences that have moulded design movements
5. have developed academic writing/reading strategies
6. have developed skills in communicating their design ideas.

Teaching and learning strategies

Semester long with weekly sessions, delivery is a combination of lecture, tutorial and design workshop/studio classes. Face-to-face classes incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies that include studio activities and student presentations. These are complemented by independent student research application of practical skills such as drawing and model making.

Content (topics)

The content of this subject typically includes a series of project based design exercises. These projects can take the format of short conceptual design exercises or longer more conventional projects. The lectures and projects will focus on design critique and aesthetics in design.


Assessment task 1: Design critique - product evaluation and analysis

Weight: 25%

Assessment task 2: Blocks –3D Model and Visual Presentation

Weight: 45%

Assessment task 3: Interactivation Project

Weight: 30%


Fiell, Peter & Charlotte 2001, Designing the 21st. Century, Taschen

Feill, Peter & Charlotte 2002, Industrial Design A-Z, Taschen

Jordan, P. W., 2000, Designing Pleasurable Products : An introduction to the new human factors, London: Taylor & Francis

Manns, J. W., 1998, Aesthetics Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe

Norman, Donald. A., 1988, The Design of Everyday Things, New York, Doubleday

Scott, G., 1980, The Architecture of Humanism : a study in the history of taste London, Architectural Press

Stolnitz, Jerome, 1995, Aesthetics New York, Macmillan

Smith, R. A. ed. 1970, Aesthetic Concepts and Education / Urbana, University of Illinois Press

Townsend, D., 1997, An Introduction to Aesthetics, Cambridge, Mass., Blackwell Publishers

Wallschlaeger, Charles & Busic-Snyder, Cynthia, 1992, Basic Visual Concepts and Principles for Artists and Designers, WCB, Dubuque, USA.

Lidwell, W., Manacsa, G., 2009, Deconstructing Product Design: Exploring the Form, Function, Usability, Sustainablity and Commercial Success of 100 Amazing Products, Beverly, Mass., Rockport Publishers

Böhm, F., 2005, KGID: Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design, Phaidon, NY

Rams, D., 1994, Less but better (Weniger, aber besser), Jo Klatt Design+Design Verlag, Hamburg

McCarty, C., 1987, Mario Bellini: Designer, The Museum of Modern Art, NY

Hanks, D. A. & Hoy, A., 2005, American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow, Flammarion, Paris