University of Technology Sydney

84813 Product Design Professional Communication

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 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 84811 Smart Design


Professional communication of design intent at various stages of the design process is critical in ensuring that clients, design team members and various stakeholders are able to understand, participate and respond to the inherit complexities addressed in product design projects. This subject brings together techniques and methods of communication specific to the product design profession through the conduct of a typology-focused design project encompassing research and innovation strategies. It develops students' abilities to evaluate and employ appropriate communication techniques for whatever situation is presented to them. Students develop a deeper understanding of the critical importance of effective communication necessary in professional practice.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

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

1. Develop effective use of methods to generate innovative product design outcomes.
2. Exercise critical reflection and evaluation on communication process.
3. Prepare and deliver well-structured presentations that clearly communicate design work.
4. Consolidate a number of presentation techniques in a cohesive and sophisticated manner.
5. Develop a committed and professional attitude to studio engagement.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrated engagement with ideas and learning (A.1)
  • Effective written and oral communication skills (C.1)
  • Effective visual communication skills (C.2)
  • Demonstrated ability for problem setting and problem solving (I.1)
  • Demonstration of aesthetic sensibility (I.3)
  • Ability to self-manage, including task initiation, allocation of time and realisation of outcomes (P.3)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The term CAPRI is used for the five Design, Architecture and Building faculty graduate attribute categories where:

C = communication and groupwork

A = attitudes and values

P = practical and professional

R = research and critique

I = innovation and creativity.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs) are linked to these categories using codes (e.g. C-1, A-3, P-4, etc.).

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject involves a 3-hour weekly design studio in rotation with some computer lab workshop classes. Interactive lectures (in studio time), tutorials and workshops will teach students to present themselves and their work in a professional manner to prospective employers.

For 2020, due to limits on face-to-face teaching, design studios will be conducted via zoom with additional pre-recorded content supplied by design professionals who normally participate in this subject. In addition, some access will be provided to the DAB Fabrication Workshop via a roster system.

The subject includes active learning experiences where ongoing feedback is provided weekly in all on-campus engagements. It is therefore imperative that students attend all on-campus engagements. Commitment to participation, preparation (progress), and attendance will be assessed each week.

This subject uses an enquiry-based learning strategy that involves students in research and development of their own solutions to complex design challenges. The subject is supported by design professionals as studio and workshop leaders to ensure that all content and tasks are relevant to current professional practice in a global context.

This subject may include field-trips if the project is part of a University Industry Collaboration (UIC) project. In this case, students are to make their own way to industry locations. Field trips are supported by continual learning activities within the studio sessions.

The subject learning objectives develop the students understanding of the application of theory and methods in the conduct of practice-based research. Prior to each studio and workshop session students are required to prepare material such as sketches, reports and presentations, to be critically analysed in connection with their design project. The Program included in this Subject Outline provides guidelines for weekly progress. In the studios students will work on their design projects with a studio leader. At the beginning of each studio the studio leader will discuss with the entire group the challenges they are facing with their projects and will facilitate collaborative discussions. The studio leader will be reviewing the work weekly and will provide feedback verbally. It is a student's responsibility to record any feedback provided in studio. Students will be expected to actively participate in collaborative peer review feedback exercises. Students will also be supported by the Level 2, Faculty Workshop in the construction of prototypes if required.

Grades, marks and feedback on final design submissions will be provided through Re.View.

Content (topics)

  • Structuring presentations
  • Use of design methodologies
  • Communication of all stages of the design process
  • Presentation of design work
  • Advanced level of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, CAD and rendering techniques
  • Professional development through generation of CV and portfolio documents


Assessment task 1: Professional Design Project


To undertake a University Industry Collaboration (UIC) or Professional Design Project.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

I.1, I.3 and P.3

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Evidence of a clear design concept and communication of innovative design features, evident in your presentation. 40 1 I.1
Visual sophistication and level of professionalism evident in your presentation. 40 4 I.3
Commitment to participation, preparation (progress) and attendance of design studio each week. 20 5 P.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: CV and Bio


Prepare a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and Bio to apply for a design position.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:


This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1 and C.2

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Effectiveness of communication demonstrated through the written elements and visual design of the CV. 75 2 C.2
Communication skill demonstrated in the quality of writing within the bio. 25 2 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Folio of Design Work


Prepare a comprehensive digital portfolio of your design work optimised and formatted for viewing on a tablet device and smartphone.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, C.2 and P.3

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 35%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Level of professionalism of visual presentation evident in your Portfolio. 60 3 C.2
Level of professionalism of written communication evident in your Portfolio. 20 2 A.1
Commitment to attendance and engagement in studio tasks. 20 5 P.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.


Boundy, A.W. 2012, Engineering drawing, 8th edn, McGraw-Hill Publishers, North Ryde, N.S.W.

Eissen, K. & Steur, R. 2011, Sketching: the basics, Page One Pub., Singapore.

Eissen, K. & Steur, R. 2007, Sketching: drawing techniques for product designers, Page One, Singapore.

Hampton, M. 2010, Figure drawing: Design and invention, Hampton, Michael.

Henry, K. 2012, Drawing for product designers, Laurence King, London.

Kumar, V. 2013, 101 Design Methods: a Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization, Wiley, Hoboken, N.J.

Leech, T., Leech, T. & Ebrary, I. 2004, How to prepare, stage, and deliver winning presentations, American Management Association, New York.

Linton, H. 2012, Portfolio design, 4th edn, W.W. Norton & Co., New York.

Lupton, E. & Phillips, J.C. 2008, Graphic design: the new basics, Princeton Architectural Press, New York.

Martin, B. & Hanington, B.M. 2012, Universal methods of design: 100 ways to research complex problems, develop innovative ideas, and design effective solutions, Rockport Publishers, Beverly, MA.

Milton, A. & Rodgers, P. 2013, Research methods for product design, Laurence king publishing; Laurence King Publishing, London.

Olofsson, E., Sjölén, K. & Umeå Institute of Design 2005, Design sketching: including an extensive collection of inspiring sketches by 24 students at the Umeå Institute of Design, KEEOS Design Books, Sweden.

Pipes, A. 1990, Drawing for 3-dimensional design: concepts, illustrations, presentation, Thames and Hudson, London.

Powell, D. 1990, Presentation techniques: a guide to drawing and presenting design ideas, Rev edn, Macdonald, London.

Robertson, S. & Bertling, T. 2014, How to render: the fundamentals of light, shadow and reflectivity, First edn, Design Studio Press, Culver City, CA.

Robertson, S. & Bertling, T. 2013, How to draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination, First edn, Design Studio Press, Culver City, CA.

Robertson, S., Design Studio Press & Gnomon Workshop 2004, The techniques of Scott Robertson, Gnomon Workshop, Hollywood, Calif.

Shinizu, Y. 1990, Creative marker technique in combination with mixed media, Graphic-sha, Japan.

Sjölén, K. & MacDonald, A. 2011, Learning curves, KEEOS Design Books, Sweden.

Other resources

In 2020, students will have access to the DAB computing labs with social distnacing controls in place to conduct work on their own projects. The level of activity that could occur there as a result of the commencement of the teaching period (at the time of preparing this outlne) is unknown. This means that there may not be enough seats to cope with the required capacity. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to access DAB specific software like Adobe Suite, Solidworks and Keyshot offsite other than by installing student versions on your own hardware. It is highly recommended that students install a local student version of Solidworks (free) and purchase a student licence of Keyshot, $130 per year. Adobe Indesign is available as part of the Adobe suite of software which costs a student approximately $25 per month. Those 3 pieces of software are recommended. Autodesk's Fusion 360 would be an analogous CAD package to install (also free for students) should you wish not to install Solidworks or not to attend the DAB computer labs.