1 page 1 (9) Design Connections One-year course, 60 credits Umeå Institute of Design Umeå Arts Campus
2 page 2 (9) Umeå Institute of Design In the far north of Sweden, in Umeå, one of the top industrial design educations in the world is situated. Umeå Institute of Design, UID, has been ranked among the top international design schools by BusinessWeek, and was named Centre of Excellence in Higher Education by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education in Each year, around three hundred applicants from more than forty countries send in their portfolios to UID and approximately fifty students are accepted. We offer a three-year BA education taught in Swedish, and three two-year master programmes: Interaction Design, Advanced Product Design, Transportation Design, all taught in English. We also give two one-year courses in English, Industrial Design Introduction on basic level, and Design Connections on master level. Our students come from all over the world, and 29 different nationalities are currently represented at Umeå Institute of Design. One of the key attributes that keeps UID a dynamic and exciting place to study is that it is always active in connecting to the constantly evolving world of design in many fields. UID sees no borders when it comes to the varied creative zones and is constantly evaluating courses and programmes, tuning them to suit new situations. As a step in UID s professional orientation, many are carried out in collaboration with external partners. We cooperate successfully with both the local community and international companies such as Nokia, Toyota, Sony Ericsson, Komatsu, Philips and many others. In average, 95% of our graduated students obtain employment as industrial designers within six months after graduation. Design Connections In the past ten years, technology has expanded and given designers and students alike new tools to work with. This has created opportunities for designers to engage in finding solutions for many social and environment issues that have become evident today. Design Connections is an education that brings opportunities for students who want to be prepared not only for the professional design world, but for working with design tools in wider areas than the traditional design arenas. Graduates from Design Connections will have perfected their competencies with the aim of working in leading and strategic positions, as senior designers or on management level in companies or organisations. Design Connections provides tools for designers to be effective in communicating industrial design competencies in different contexts. As the field industrial design evolves and moves to challenge issues in complex areas of social structures, students as designers must be prepared with the knowledge of how the design process relates to other business and societal processes. As industrial designers are moving into new professional fields such as large government and health care organisations, where industrial design has not been applied before, the role of the industrial designer also evolves, placing even more emphasis on the designer s ability to work with communicative skills, convincing strategies and clear visuals on various strategic levels. Design Connections is an education on master level for students who already have a degree in industrial design, or the equivalent, and have a solid foundation in the methods, processes and skills within the field of industrial design. Communication and connection are core values in this course. A strong focus is on building the skills to communicate design, and the potential impact of design, connecting to areas outside the core design community. Equally emphasised in the course are the skills and abilities of project management and of working successfully in teams, whether design teams or teams with specialists from other fields. Upon completing the course, students are highly qualified and well prepared for applying to strategic positions both within and outside the traditional field of industrial design, as well as to further educations areas.
3 page 3 (9) UID Pedagogical Foundation The Design Connections curriculum is structured in four ten-week course elements, in which the students will work individually or in small groups. The education stresses the importance of group learning and the processes in which learning is situated in both theory and practice. Therefore, attendance in class is mandatory daily between three and six hours per day. The study language is English, since our student groups are recruited internationally. We work with small study groups and high teacher density, which creates a strong community feeling and an informal study atmosphere. Permanently employed teachers and programme leaders, as well as supporting staff are present daily at UID during office hours. Students are encouraged to contact staff and teachers in person when they need assistance, tutoring or have other study related questions. Contacts between staff, teachers and students are easy and informal in character. Our firm belief is that this is one of the foundations of a creative and open study environment where students from different programs, courses and study levels have continuous contact with each other and with staff, both informally and in learning situations. Our pedagogic strategy of combining theory and practice through conducting most of the education in realistic projects with external partners was established when UID was founded in 1989, and has been developed and improved ever since. We strive after a close cooperation with the surrounding community nationally and internationally in these student projects. Therefore, we also strive to have a wide variety of external lecturers and consultants with extensive professional experience from their respective subject areas, from society, industry and the university who instruct parallel with the permanent UID teachers. A gender equality perspective that is built into admission, education and examination characterizes the pedagogical outlook. In Umeå Institute of Design s articulated profile of user perspective and process orientation, diversity and equal opportunity perspectives are central in both project descriptions and completion of projects. A variety of educational methods and processes are employed, such as problem based learning, case-studies, learning by doing, balance and variation between theoretical and practical sections, studying and tests, advising in project form, lectures, discussion seminars and selfreflection. In general, students are expected to take responsibility for their learning process through methodical preparation before, active participation in and self-reflection after all types of teaching and learning situations. One pedagogical building block is the students work with realistic projects with supervision by experienced professionals, often together with an external collaboration partner. The students work independently in the different phases of the design process and they have the possibility to reflect on successful and unsuccessful methods and results. The work with different phases of the design process in project form is in itself an example of problem-oriented learning. Another pedagogical building block is based on the observation that the students often learn as much from each other as from the tutors or teachers. We believe that knowledge to a large extent is built through group processes and that individual s experiences and knowledge are valuable starting points for collective learning. As part of this view on group learning, Umeå Institute of Design applies openness at presentations and advising so that all students have the possibility to partake in and learn from each other and from the teachers and advisors comments to other students. All study results are reported individually most often in the form of oral, visual and written presentations but the process is often based on moments of collaboration in student groups. The importance of student group collaboration, group dynamics and group processes are included in the teaching. In the teaching framework we strive to discourage competition and rivalry between students and instead encourage students to share with one another and help each other because the success of the project is based on the sum of the many parts that each and everyone contributes with. Therefore, we work actively with keeping an open, investigative and encouraging atmosphere in all learning situations and in the day-to-day activities.
4 page 4 (9) COURSE STRUCTURE Design Connections is a one-year education that runs over a whole study year, from autumn to spring term. During the autumn term, the course focuses on the individual skills and competencies of the student in core design work, honing skills in visual communication, design process and design thinking. The spring term focuses more on the role of the industrial designer in professional life, placing the individual in a larger context where design communication tools and professional design business skills are central. Each term consists of two ten-week course blocks, which in turn are segmented into sub-courses. Some sub-courses run in parallel, and throughout the whole course the different study subjects and skills are linked, so that there is a clear progression in the skills and knowledge training. Design process, 15 ECTS credits The first ten weeks of the autumn term provide a deeper understanding of methods and processes applied in industrial design and in the product development process. A special emphasis is put on user centred design in a Scandinavian design tradition in relation to global societal issues. Important aspects of the course includes working in design teams, and combining theory and practice through reflecting on the own design process during and after a project in which a user centred design approach is central. During the course, the student works with relating the own design process to theories on design process and design methodology, in order to have a solid understanding of when and how design decisions are made in the process. The student also works with developing the own visualisation skills, mainly focusing on manual sketching techniques and developing a personal style in sketching. The course is structured in four sub-courses: 1. Introductory project, 1,5 credits The sub-course consists of an introduction to Umeå Institute of Design and the course as a whole. Work methods and educational philosophy are presented and discussed, and a basic introduction is given to the UID infrastructure of facilities, computer systems, economy and materials (DOLF system) and study techniques. Students carry out a short project with the aim of introducing the methodology of project work and fundamentals of group dynamics. 2. Sketching and idea communication, 3 credits. The sub-course focuses on how to communicate ideas through 2D sketching techniques in different stages of the design process. Emphasis is on the basics of visual communication, and sketching as a tool for ideation and communication. The aim is that students shall gain confidence in clearly communicating ideas, processes, forms and functions visually and orally in different contexts, and to introduce different sketching techniques for different situations and needs. Emphasised during the sub-course is also the process of selection and decision-making in relation to concept generation and evaluation. The sub-course also aims to help students develop their personal style and identity in sketching, and to make the most out of the visualisation tools available in order to clearly convey ideas.
5 page 5 (9) 3. User centred design process, 7,5 credits The sub-course is run as a project, in which the design process is focused from a user centric approach. The aim of the sub-course is that the student shall develop a stronger understanding of the own methods of working, and the abilities to communicate these to both design professionals and to nondesigners. Different methods for problem definition, research and user studies, ideation, evaluation, refinement, testing and visualisation are related to a user centred Scandinavian design tradition. The aim of the sub-course is that the students deepens the own skills in and understanding of a systematic and structured design process, in which a user focus is used throughout the whole process, and clearly can communicate, verbally and visually, the own process and the basis of design decisions made during the process. One important focus of the sub-course is working in design teams and sharing ideas and resources in a way that promotes innovation and cooperation, also in individual steps of the process. 4. Design theory and design thinking, 3 credits The sub-course gives an orientation in research and writing in design theory, with a special focus on the area of design thinking. During the sub-course, the student will work with reflection on the own design process and approach to design, and relates aspects of this to theories and perspectives within design. One important outcome of the sub-course is that the student can describe and critically reflect on the design process from a subjective as well as from an objective standpoint. Visual communication, 15 ECTS credits The last ten weeks of autumn term focus on visual communication in the design field. This course provides an overview of and introduction to the visualisation methods used in different stages of the design process, ranging from idea sketching to presentation sketches, graphic design and other digital visualisation tools. The main aim of the course is that the student shall be able to choose between different visualisation methods for different situations, and use design as a strategic tool in order to give a comprehendible view and a shared understanding of a complex problem. Emphasis is on using visualisation as a tool for communication of design problems, design methods and design concepts, using adequate methods and means in different contexts. A large part of the sub-course focuses how to use design methods and processes to understand and exemplify methods, concepts, data and relationships design related or not. The course is structured in three sub-courses: 1. Strategic information design, 7,5 credits The sub course introduces the field of information design from an industrial design perspective, and is run in project form. The aim of the sub-course is that the student shall apply design tools and design methodology in a context where the design process can be used to understand, problematise, explain and visualise complex problems, contexts, processes or situations. A strong focus is on working with finding design opportunities and defining design problems in large organisations, companies or societal structures or phenomena, working with methods for research, evaluation and innovation. During the project, the students work with visualisation methods and techniques related to this, mainly in the fields of graphic design and typography, with the aims of using visualisations for facilitating discussions, testing, decision-making and communication. The basics of communication theory and graphic design are introduced. Throughout the project, a strong emphasis is on user participation in the design process and on the role of the industrial designer in leading design innovation and design processes. 2. Visualisation techniques, 3 credits The sub-course aims to developing a personal style and approach to visualisation of different kinds. An aim is to further strengthen the student s skills in manual and computer aided sketching, also allowing for artistic explorations into visualisations of abstract concepts. Through this approach, awareness of different cultural visual codes and communication practices is highlighted, and students should be able to document their visualisation process, and explain and argue for choices, selections, references and cultural understandings in relation to this.
6 page 6 (9) 3. Visual storytelling, 4,5 credits The sub-course introduces the basics in visual storytelling, relating narrative techniques and different visual media to the field of design. An introduction to the basics of structuring and sharpening different kinds of narratives visual, oral and written is given during the sub-course. Students work with visual analysis and visual narratives in relation to identity and intention individually and in groups, finding ways to visually communicate a story or a message. Design argumentation, 15 ECTS credits The first ten weeks of spring term focus on different ways used for communicating, justifying and arguing for design processes, design thinking and design skills in different social contexts. Included are portfolio work, professional English, argumentation techniques and oral presentation, design writing and individual project work. The aim is to give the student the necessary tools to work professionally in communicating the own ways of working and thinking, from elevator pitching a design proposal to holding a full project presentation, writing CVs, business letters, project documentation and reports. Included in the different sub-courses is a strong emphasis on communication, and on how you as a designer strategically can emphasise different aspects of a design project for different audiences, using different tools, techniques and rhetorics. The course is structured in four sub-courses: 1. Portfolio, 3 credits The aim of the sub-course is that the student actively reflects on the roles of portfolios in the design profession, and produces portfolio material communicating the skills, strengths, capabilities and identity of the student in visual, textual and graphic form. The aim is that the student shall find ways to document and demonstrate the own design process and results of project work, in relation to the cultural, social and professional contexts of design portfolios. The sub-course includes orientations in formulating CV:s, presenting portfolios in person or through supporting media, visual analysis and narratives in portfolios, and career planning. Sub-course 2. Oral presentation and communication, 1,5 credits. The sub-course focuses oral presentations as an important communicative and argumentative tool in professional situations. Students practice different ways of presenting a certain message in different contexts. This includes body language, improvisation, storytelling, argumentation and rhetorics, design specific vocabularies and how to use technical and visual support in presentations. The aim is to give students a good foundation in different presentation techniques, and to work with each student s strengths in and awareness of presentation as a tool in order to develop the students confidence and skills in different presentation situations. Sub-course 3. Design writing, 3 credits The sub-course focuses on writing as a tool for designers in creative processes, documentation, communication and information. The aim of the sub-course is that the student shall be able to use writing as a support in many kinds of different aspects of professional life, ranging from writing business letters, applications and project reports to press releases, scenarios, marketing and research texts. Through practical exercises, peer-review work and tutoring, the students work with their own process of writing through reflecting on different uses of language, different genres and the formal aspects connected to these. The sub-course includes training in professional English for designers, as well as basics in academic writing. 4. Project work, 7,5 credits During the sub-course, the students work in a project of their own choice, from problem formulation to final concept proposal. Focus of the sub-course is on the student s ability to independently identify a relevant design opportunity, and plan and conduct an individual design project from problem definition to a finished design concept within the given time frame, and to dimension the aims and methods of the project to the circumstances. As part of the examination, the student shall in tutoring sessions and in the final presentation, work with oral, visual and in written accounts for the design process from a user centred focus. Throughout the project, and in the final presentations, a clear focus
7 page 7 (9) is on argumentation and decision-making in different steps of the design process, where the student shall work with showing how necessary facts, societal contexts and a user centred focus are linked to the methods, techniques and tools that were chosen to execute, explain and visualise the project process and project result. Design business, 15 ECTS credits The aim of the last ten weeks of the course is to situate the industrial design profession in a larger business context, in order for the student to better understand how to communicate the own skills and the relevance of design practice and design thinking in situations internal as well as external to the design field. The student should develop the own understanding of the roles of industrial designers in the development of products and services as well as in the development of organisations and companies. Focus in this course is on relating the professional roles of the industrial designer to project management and how to work successfully in teams and groups. Areas covered are the historical and current roles of the industrial designer, project management, group dynamics and working in project teams, basics in marketing and business related to entrepreneurship and starting up a company. Throughout the course, students work with cases or projects that link the theoretical and practical parts of the different sub-courses, in order to situate students knowledge and promote reflection upon the own learning as well as group development. The course is structured in five sub-courses: 1. Project management and group dynamics, 3 credits The sub-course introduces the basics of group dynamics, how groups develop and how teams work in relation to tasks, social aspects, communication, results and innovation. Included are basics on organisational theory and structure, and how this affects ways of working. Related to this is how the roles of industrial designers can function in different groups, and in different project management situations. 2. Marketing and business basics, 3 credits. The aim of the sub-course is to introduce the students to structures, work flows, mechanisms and rhetorics in business and marketing in public and private sectors. Focus is especially on areas related to design in order for the students to understand ways of professional work and expressions in these areas in order to be able to communicate efficiently and strategically from the designer s point of view. During the sub-course, the student is introduced to decision-making processes, basic marketing practices, segmentation models, and how these are related to strategic and practical decisions that affect designers. 3. Entrepreneurship, 3 credits The sub-course provides an overview of what the student needs to know and do in order to start up and run a business, from idea management and intellectual properties to business plans, documentation etcetera. Teaching includes topics such as different forms of business enterprise, paying tax and business insurance, getting started with marketing, long term competitive advantages and IPR, how to finance and expand a business, international trading, SWOT analysis, trend analysis, creative analysis and target group definition. 4. The role of the industrial designer, 3 credits The sub-course gives an overview of the history of industrial design, starting in the 1850s and with focus on social context, ideas and styles in Western Europe and USA. Special attention is given to the roots of the industrial design profession, and to ideals and expectations related to it. A study is made of how consultancies, companies, design educations and other institutions relevant to the establishment of the design profession understand and express the essence of the designer role today and tendencies for the future of industrial design and the roles of designers. 5. Professional design communication, 3 credits. The aim of the sub course is that the student shall analyse and compare how design problems, design processes and design concepts are communicated through different media and in different situations:
8 page 8 (9) in exhibitions, in oral presentations and in digital and printed materials. The student shall as part of the examination of the sub-course carry out an individual public presentation of the own portfolio in a professional design context, and reflect on the preparations made as well as the presentation situation itself. How to apply The study year is the first year we are running Design Connections. Therefore, application to this education is not synchronised with our normal UID deadline for applications, due to processes that have to do with initiating this education. We have advertised the education on our home page, and sent out information to talented students who have applied to our MA programmes but who have not been accepted to them. Applications are made directly to Umeå Institute of Design. Application to Design Connections is made in two steps. Firstly, the applicant should complete the web based application form, including a letter of motivation. Secondly, a portfolio should be uploaded online to the Umeå Institute of Design. If you have previously submitted a portfolio as part of your application to any of our other educations, you do not need to send in a portfolio again (unless you wish to submit an updated version). May 10 is the deadline for web application and portfolio submission. Please note, that if you are a non-eu citizen, you must pay the application fee in order for your application to be processed. Applications that reach UID after the deadline will only be considered if study places are available after considering the applications that have reached UID on time. Each year, a maximum of 15 students can be accepted to the course. The admission criteria focus skills related to innovation, visualisation and ideation as well as aptitude for design studies. An admission committee reviews the applications and chooses the students that may be accepted to the course. Necessary Prerequisites: The basic entry qualifications are a BA degree in Industrial Design or equivalent. Originals or verified copies of your records/degree diploma should be sent in with the application. Language skills required: Proficiency in English should be equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English B. Alternatives are: IELTS (Academic) with a minimum overall score of 6.5 and no individual score below 5.5. TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) with a minimum score of 575 and a minimum TWE score of 4.5. TOEFL ibt (Internet-based Test) with a minimum score of 90 and a minimum score of 20 on the Writing Section). When signing up for a TOEFL test please state our institution code: A copy of the result will then be sent directly to us.for further information please check the Umeå University website. Q&A How high are the tuition fees? For European students, and students within university exchange programmes, tuition fees are entirely covered by Swedish state grants. For non-eu students, the tuition fees are SEK ( or $38 800), effective from autumn term For the study year , UID and Umeå University have a scholarship fund that enables full or substantial reduction of these fees. Application for this financial aid is only open for non-european students. Separate information on how to apply for the scholarship is sent out to short listed applicants when the admission notifications are sent out. Do I receive a degree in industrial design after Design Connections studies? No, you receive a course certificate, provided that you complete the course year as a whole with a grade of Pass on all parts. This is not a one-year master programme, and therefore it does not give a degree. Can I apply to MA educations in industrial design after Design Connections studies?
9 page 9 (9) Yes, you can apply to educations in the design field. The DC education provides the students with an insight into methods and skills central to communicating your skills and your strengths in different professional situations. During the course, visual storytelling and portfolio work are central to the communication strategies that are focused. Will I be accepted to MA programmes at UID after Design Connections studies? You will not be guaranteed a study place on any other programme or course at UID. All students apply for study places in competition with all other applicants. Where have other students gone after Design Connections studies? This is the first year we are giving the course package, so there are no previous students that have taken this education. However, graduates from UID:s other programmes and courses are highly successful in finding employments or internships in industrial design, and also in the acceptance rate of UID alumni to MA educations in the design field around the world.