A pas­sion for prod­ucts

Asian Journal - - Colors of Life - Whit­ney Sharp To learn more about prod­uct de­sign at Kwantlen Polytech­nic Uni­ver­sity, visit kpu.ca/pro­duct­de­sign

You might not know what a prod­uct designer does, but you’ve def­i­nitely ben­e­fit­ted from their pas­sion and ex­per­tise. The grow­ing de­sign dis­ci­pline trans­forms ideas into prod­ucts and cre­ates de­sign so­lu­tions. Ev­ery­thing from luxury au­to­mo­biles to sports equip­ment; wear­able tech­nol­ogy to safety gear is cre­ated by prod­uct de­sign­ers. The bach­e­lor of prod­uct de­sign at Kwantlen Polytech­nic Uni­ver­sity’s (KPU) Chip and Shan­non Wil­son School of De­sign is among of the first de­gree of its kind in Canada. The pro­gram be­gan with its first co­hort in 2012 and has con­tin­ued to grow since then. “Prod­uct de­sign is young,” says in­struc­tor Vic­tor Martinez “but is has unique char­ac­ter­is­tics that make it at­trac­tive.” With a ca­reer that has taken him around the globe, Martinez has an ex­ten­sive his­tory in var­i­ous as­pects of de­sign. Af­ter study­ing industrial de­sign at the Na­tional Uni­ver­sity in Mex­ico, he ven­tured to Italy, com­plet­ing his masters in trans­porta­tion de­sign at the Scuola Politecnica di De­sign in Mi­lan. There, he worked as a se­nior designer and project manager work­ing with com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Audi and Fer­rari. Back at KPU, Martinez says he’s ea­ger to help shape the fu­ture of this de­sign field. “We are work­ing very hard to make it even more in­ter­est­ing and use­ful for stu­dents” The pro­gram blends cre­ativ­ity with science and in­no­va­tion, teach­ing stu­dents to use avail­able tech­nolo­gies and ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate prod­uct so­lu­tions. Pro­gram cour­ses in­clude de­sign meth­ods and ma­te­ri­als where stu­dents are in­tro­duced to ma­te­rial be­hav­ior and the man­u­fac­tur­ing process; pro­duc­tion tech­nol­ogy, high­light­ing cur­rent pro­duc­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing re­quire­ments, lim­i­ta­tions, and costs; hu­man fac­tors for prod­uct de­sign, which ex­am­ines the re­la­tion­ship be­tween de­sign, and user needs in­clud­ing safety, per­for­mance, and com­fort; and the busi­ness of prod­uct de­sign where stu­dents learn to com­pose pro­pos­als, mar­ket­ing plans, con­tracts, and build their port­fo­lios. Aside from a range of hands-on cour­ses, the prod­uct de­sign pro­gram also in­cludes nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties which connect stu­dents with in­dus­try and col­lab­o­rate on com­mu­nity projects. Ear­lier this year, KPU prod­uct de­sign stu­dents col­lab­o­rated with the City of Sur­rey to cre­ate a sus­tain­able tro­phy for the Clean Tech­nol­ogy Cham­pi­onship. The fi­nal de­sign was cre­ated from lo­cal biodegrad­able, sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als. More re­cently, stu­dents of the pro­gram col­lab­o­rated with Ar­bu­tus Med­i­cal to cre­ate a stream­lined pat­tern for the Ar­bu­tus Drill Cover—a soft drill cover bag that turns power drills into ster­il­ized and af­ford­able sur­gi­cal tools. The po­ten­tially life­sav­ing drill cov­ers are now be­ing sent to eight hos­pi­tals in Nepal. With count­less ap­pli­ca­tions, prod­uct de­sign can open the door to a vast ar­ray of ca­reers, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. Grad­u­ates of the pro­gram are well pre­pared to launch their ca­reers as de­sign­ers, prod­uct de­vel­op­ers, pack­ag­ing de­sign­ers, and much more.

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