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36 Cards in this Set

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Purpose, function and context

Includes the reason or need for a product, in the context and environment of its use. This includes its operation, performance, reliability and quality. The primary and secondary functions and features that support its use are considered.

Human-centred design (human wants and needs)

Human problems or needs identified to improve wellbeing and quality of life.

Cultural and religious considerations, age, economic status, emotional and sensory appeal, universal design, social and physical needs, fashion and trends are considered in response to these needs. Safety, accessibility, comfort, ergonomics and anthropometric data must also need consideration.

Innovation and Creativity

Innovation requires a creative approach to develop new or improved solutions to unsolved problems or opportunities. This involves invention, improvement, modification, incremental progress, experimentation and pushing the boundaries.

Opportunities are identified from research and development, user feedback, new ideas/knowledge, new materials and emerging technologies.

Visual, tactile and aesthetics (design principles and elements)

These factors relate to the product's form, appearance and feel. The design principles of balance, emphasis, repetition, movement/rhythm, pattern, proportion, symmetry, and space and surface qualities are used to combine and arrange the design elements. The design elements include point, line, shape, form, texture, tone, colour, transparency, translucency and opacity. Natural forms, patterns and structures along with geometric and mathematics can also be explored to create aesthetic appeal.

Sustainability (social, economical and environmental systems perspectives)

Sustainability involves the connection and interaction between social, economical and environmental systems. Underpinning aspects include: Life Cycle Analysis and Life Cycle Thinking, emotional attachment, carbon footprints, embodied energy and water use, distribution (product miles) and use of renewable energy and resources.

Economics (time and cost)

Costing a product takes into account materials, labour, and use of plant (equipment and machinery) but must give value to end-user. Time management and material availability are critical issues to consider.

Legal Responsibilities

The legal aspects of product design are: intellectual property (IP), particularly Patents and Design Registration; Australian and International (ISO) standards, regulations and legislation (including OH&S). Products must be produced safely and be safe for the user.

Materials - characteristics and properties

Materials are selected for use based on their properties (their performance and behaviour both chemically and physically under certain conditions) and characteristics (visual features). These properties and characteristics include strength, durability, thermal resistances, hardness, density, rigidity, flexibility, corrosiveness and compatibility with other materials.

Technologies - tools, processes and manufacturing methods.

Conversion techniques (changing raw materials into useable forms) and production processes are reliant on and affected by available tools,equipment, machines, and expertise. Suitable and accurate methods are selected to perform the following: marking/setting out, cutting/shaping/forming, joining/assembling/constructing, and decorating/embellishing/finishing.


The perception, appreciation and sensitivity towards works of art, designs, products, objects or artefacts; usually associated with the notion of beauty.

Design Brief Scenario

A written statement that contains an outline of a situation, context, or problem/need. It focuses on the desired result related to the design of a product

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

Computer software and hardware is used to draw and design high quality real or virtual products. CAD streamlines design processes for manufacturing and enables a designer to work faster. Computer software allows a design to be quickly modified, and stimulate a three-dimension part or entire product.

Emotional Appeal

The feelings experienced by a user/owner of a product that involves a sense of wellbeing or provides an emotional experiences. To make a person feel an emotional connection when they purchase or own a product and that cost or function are of lesser important than feelings associated with the ownership of the product.


The application of scientific information about the interaction and relationship of human beings to the design of objects, systems and work and recreational environments. Ergonomics is an important consideration in product design to ensure a product fits the person or worker, reduces the risk of injury or fatigue and improves performance.


Related to a product it means that the product is able to perform a particular task or job that is was designed for or expected to do. The actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a product.

GANT Chart

A type of bar chart that represents a schedule of activities or milestones over the time of the project. It shows the start and finish dates of each process or step and is used to pinpoint and assign priorities so that work is completed by a due date.

Human centred design

Designing products to ensure the needs, safety and comfort of the people they are made for come first or are always taken into consideration.

IP: Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property is generated through intellectual or creative activity. Types of intellectual property protection include patents, trade-marks, design registration, confidential information/trade secrets, copyright, circuit layout rights and plant breeder's rights.

LCA: Life Cycle Analysis

Assessing a product's full environmental cost/impact over the life cycle of the product (cradle to grave or cradle). This includes extracting and processing materials, manufacturing, transporting and distribution, use, reuse and maintenance, recycling and final disposal. Quantifies the environmental impact rather than the financial impact.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing or lean production is a system and culture which aims at maximising the output of a manufacturing process with minimal inputs with the help of many lean techniques and tolls. It aims at reducing work in progress, downtime, build-up of excess of raw materials, finished goods and all waste.

Low volume production

Batch or low volume production systems to produce a small number of items over a given time frame.


A combination of elements that are used to market or sell a product. The Five Ps of marketing are variables that can be controlled in order to best satisfy customers in a target market. The Five Ps sometimes known as the marketing mix are Product, Price, Promotion, People and Place (physical and virtual).

Mood Board

A form of visual stimulus material, such as a large board covered with images.

Style Obsolescence

When a product is no longer wanted by consumers, although it is still functional, but looks outdated.

Functional Obsolescence

When a product wears out, deteriorates or breaks down after a certain amount of time and parts cannot be replaced, or it is not worth preparing. Planned obsolescence is a term used by Vance Packard denoting a planned condition by a manufacturer to get a consumer to buy a replacement to make more profit for the manufacturer.

One-off production

A single, often handcrafted article. It can be expensive to make due to the cost of labour but is usually the only one in existence.


A prototype is a three-dimensional pre-production product make to eat a concept or process. A prototype is often used to enable designers to explore design alternatives, test theories and confirm performance prior to starting production of a new product.

Risk Assessment

Risk management comprises four steps in controlling OH&S hazards and risks:

Step 1: Identify hazards - know what hazards are present.

Step 2: Assess risks - understand the nature of risks, the harm that could occur and the likelihood

Step 3: Control hazards and risks - determine options for eliminating or reducing risk, selecting the best and implementing it.

Step 4: Check controls - review the implemented controls to ensure they are working as planned and effective.


Descriptions or distinctions bases on a quality rather than on quantity. Qualitative evaluation of a product refers only to the characteristics of the item being described, rather than being bases on a numerical measurement.


A measurement based on some quantity or number rather than on quality. Quantitive research can therefore be used to measure the response from a client to the features of a product.

Research & Development (R&D)

R&D is the systematic investigation or experimentation involving innovation or technical risk. It is aimed at discovering new knowledge that could be useful in creating new products, processes or services or improving existing ones.

Scale Model

A three-dimensional representation of a design concept usually made in a proportional size to the intended final product often made of different materials from those that will be used in the actual product.

Standards - International and Australian

Detailed technical documents written by experts drawn from industry and government. Products that comply with Australian or International Standards can use the appropriate able (AS or ISO). There products meet the predetermined requirements for example in terms of their size, quality and safety.

Sustainable Product Design (SPD)

SPD is bases on principles of sustainable development which addresses three interrelated areas: environmental stewardship, social equity and justice, and economic issues. SPD is a design philosophy and practice in which products contribute to social and economic wellbeing, have negligible impacts on the environment and can be produced from a sustainable resource base.

Universal Design (Inclusive Design)

Design that makes products or buildings accessible to as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or stature. The products often have inbuilt-flexibility.

Values (of products)

Values attributed to products change with context, socio-cultural norms and economic contexts, as new technologies emerge and as products move through their life cycles. Values are determined in SES setting and on individual terms. The qualities of products that make them valuable include affordability, appearance, authenticity, durability, rarity, usability, identity and emotional connection.