module specification

DN4009S - Design Principles for Interiors (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Design Principles for Interiors
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
114 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Project Work
Running in 2022/23

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

Module summary

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

Design is intent on bringing about change, impacting on human experience. This module introduces 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.  Students will be introduced to systems and methods of research, observation and analysis, ranging from human behaviour, experience and cultural context to site, building and materials.  The module will develop an understanding of spatial awareness linked to design and the organisation of space, interventions and added elements.

Design concepts will be tested through the application of exercises, workshop and studio methods through a range of drawing techniques, modelling and making. Materials, processes and technologies are introduced, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context, the needs of the client and users, and industry conventions and regulations.

Students are encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of design. Studio practice and projects encourage the development of strategies, idea generation in practice and the testing of concepts in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems. In this way, by engaging with materials, media and, processes, interior designers become agents of change through their design practice.

Prior learning requirements

Co-requisites: this module is part of a study abroad programme not available to home students. Only to be taken together with DN4008S, DN4015S and CP4015S.


The content is indicative and will necessarily reflect current debates and thinking.  Topics covered will normally include:

• discipline/ course specific design studio principles; LO1
• methods of research, idea generation, problem solving, analysis, critique and reflection; LO2
• idea generation and exploration through discipline-specific design processes; LO2
• introduction and development of discipline-specific practical studio and design workshop skills; LO3
• skills in appropriate 2D, 3D and spatial design areas; LO4

The studio will support course identity and subject knowledge. Open, exploratory projects will be supported by exercises, visits and group critiques together with lectures, highlighting contemporary and historical examples relevant to effect change in human environments and experience. LO4

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, 3D and spatial design. LO4

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:

Knowledge and Understanding
LO1 research key principles and practices necessary for design, including social, historical, cultural and demographic investigation within the contexts of area, site and building;

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
LO2 integrate design theory and principles together with primary and secondary research, using critical analysis and reflection to develop design concepts;

Transferable Skills
LO3 test conceptual and schematic ideas through workshop and studio practice, including 2D & 3D drawing, making and modelling approaches;

Subject Specific Practical Skills
LO4 present and realise an agreed range of scaled industry drawing standard approaches, materials and made artefacts demonstrated through a course specific portfolio.

Assessment strategy

You 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 or spatial 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.


Buxton, P. (Ed) (2015) Metric Handbook Planning and Design Data, Routledge
Metric Handbook : Planning and Design Data, edited by Pamela Buxton, Routledge, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Ching, F. (2007) Architecture: Form, Space and Order, John Wiley and Sons
Ching, F. D. K. (2015). Architecture: form, space, & order.
Ching, F.D.K. & Binggelli, C. (2012) Interior Design Illustrated, John Wiley & Sons
Ching, Francis D. K.;Binggeli, Corky. 2012., Interior Design Illustrated. [online]. Wiley. Available from:<> 5 April 2018

ELAM, K. (2011). Geometry of design: studies in proportion and composition. New York, Princeton Architectural Press.

LAWSON, B. (2006). How designers think: the design process demystified. Oxford, Elsevier/Architectural.

Pile, J. (2009) Perspective for Interior Designers, New York Watson-guptill

Potter, N. (2002) What is a Designer: Things. Places. Messages, Hyphen Press

SEIDLER, D. R., & KORTÉ, A. (2010). Hand drawing for designers: communicating ideas through architectural graphics. New York, Fairchild.

Spankie, R. (2009) Basics: Drawing Out the Interior, AVA Publishing
SPANKIE, R. (2009). Basics Interior Architecture 03: Drawing out the Interior. Lausanne, AVA Academia.