module specification

DN4009 - Design Principles for Interiors (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Design Principles for Interiors
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
192 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 80%   Portfolio (including Sketchbook and modelling)
Coursework 20%   Portfolio: Research
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

Successful design outcomes are reliant on sound design development and principles. These design principles inform and create opportunities for you to apply your creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective design solutions through an iterative process 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, engaging their personal and creative identity and cultural capital in the design process.

Design is concerned with 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.

You will be introduced to systems and methods of research, observation and analysis, ranging from human behaviors, 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, with consideration to sustainable approaches.

Prior learning requirements



Studio teaching will be designed to allow you to work with a range of content and formats to understand 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. Open, exploratory projects will be supported by exercises, visits and group critiques together with lectures, highlighting contemporary and historical examples relevant to effecting change in human environments and experience. (LO1-4)

Typically, the syllabus will include the following:
• methods of research, idea generation, problem solving, analysis, critique and reflection;
• discipline-specific design studio principles and processes;
• sustainable choices and approaches for design;
• consideration of social and cultural identity;
• discipline-specific 2D, 3D and spatial studio and design skills;
• skills for modelmaking and material testing to support design process and practice.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive 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 written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career 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

On successful completion of the module, to the standard expected at Level 4, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. research key principles and practices necessary for design, including social, historical, cultural and demographic investigation in the contexts of area, site and building, presenting evidence of sustainable approaches and ethical consideration of design and material choices;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

2. integrate design theory and principles together with primary and secondary research, using critical analysis and reflection to develop design concepts, with consideration of social and cultural contexts;

Transferable Skills

3. test conceptual and schematic ideas through workshop and studio practice, including 2D and 3D drawing, making and modelling techniques and iteration;

Subject Specific Skills

4. present and realise a range of scaled industry standard drawings, material selections and made artefacts demonstrated through a subject-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.

Students must attend and engage with all timetabled studio and workshop sessions and tasks set both in-class and as self-study.