module specification

DN4006 - 3D Design Principles (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title 3D Design Principles
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
138 hours Guided independent study
162 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Morning
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning
Year City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

Module summary
Successful 3D design outcomes are reliant on sound 3D design principles. These principles inform and create opportunities for students to apply their creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective 3D design solutions.

This module will introduce students to a range of contemporary and traditional discipline-related design approaches and processes, some of which will be tested in design exercises and some of which may be realised in studios and projects carried across other modules.  Processes experienced will involve research, documentation and analysis, alongside experiment and discovery.

Design concepts will be tested through the application of workshop and studio methods. Materials, processes and technologies will be discipline-specific, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context intended.

Students will be encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of design. Studios and projects will encourage understanding of practice and engagement with materials, media and, processes in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems.


The content is indicative and will necessarily reflect current debates and thinking. 
Topics covered will normally include discipline/ course specific design studios, a series of project briefs which offer a range of contexts and problems for creative response, methods of research, idea generation, problem solving, analysis, critique and reflection, idea generation and exploration through discipline-specific design processes.
The studio will support course identity and subject knowledge. Open, exploratory projects will be supported by exercises, visits and group critiques.
Studios will be designed to allow students to work with a range of content and formats to gain understanding of how different contexts require differing approaches, processes and research methods. Projects will be selected or designed to ensure growing competence and understanding of essential skills, strategies, techniques and technologies used in 2D and 3D design.

Learning Outcomes 1 - 4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. Knowledge and Understanding
demonstrate an understanding of the key principles and practices integral to 3D design;
2. Cognitive Intellectual Abilities
solve design problems and generate ideas, criticising and reflecting on practice principles throughout;
3. Transferable Skills
test conceptual ideas through workshop and studio practice and research;
4. Subject Specific Practical Skills
select and apply discipline-specific methods of research, recording and presentation.

Assessment strategy

Students will produce and submit a body of project work demonstrating engagement with studio intentions, module aims and achievement of the learning outcomes. Work in progress will be assessed formatively and feedback will be provided as an ongoing process.

Students will produce coherent 2D and/or 3D presentation(s) supported by written, drawn and visualised record of project research, development, and concepts/findings, together with critical self-evaluation of work.

The final mark will be awarded in relation to the completed project work presented at the end of the module. Summative assessment will reflect on the whole body of work and qualities demonstrated throughout, including research, idea generation, problem analysis, solution, critique and reflection in 2D and 3D design.  Written feedback will be provided corresponding to published assessment criteria and guidance given towards future development. Precise requirements for submission will be given in project briefs.

Work must be carefully organised and presented to communicate the development of ideas and the content must be clearly labeled with name, student number, module code and date. Students must attend timetabled sessions.

Portfolio, to include:

sketchbooks/journal to evidence research and development with critical analysis of design process and development methods;

a body of experimental design research to evidence trial and error investigation;

presentation/communication of developed design thinking in response to the briefs set.


Holden, K., Butler, J. (2010) Universal Principles of Design, Rockport
Doczi, G. (1989) The Power Of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art and Architecture, Shambala Press
Bolton, A. (2011) Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Yale
Braddock, S. & O’Mahony, M. (1996) Techno Textiles, Thames and Hudson
Iwamoto, L. (2009) Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques (Architecture Briefs), Princeton Architectural Press
Lawson, B. (1997) How Designers Think; The Design Process Demystified, Architectural Press
Milton, A. & Rodgers, P. (2013) Research Methods for Product Design, Laurence King
Murphy, D. (ed.) (1997) The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, Abrams
Norman, D. (1998) The Design of Everyday Things, MIT Press
Parsons, T. (2009) Thinking: Objects; Contemporary Approaches to Product Design, Ava
Potter, N. (2002) What is a Designer: Things. Places. Messages, Hyphen Press
Thompson, R. (2011) Prototyping and Low-Volume Production, Thames and Hudson
Woodham, J. (2004) A Dictionary of Modern Design, Oxford University Press