A Passion for Products

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Whitney Sharp

KPU Product Design_1You might not know what a product designer does, but you’ve definitely benefitted from their passion and expertise. The growing design discipline transforms ideas into products and creates design solutions. Everything from luxury automobiles to sports equipment; wearable technology to safety gear is created by product designers.

The bachelor of product design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design is among of the first degree of its kind in Canada. The program began with its first cohort in 2012 and has continued to grow since then.

“Product design is young,” says instructor Victor Martinez “but is has unique characteristics that make it attractive.”

With a career that has taken him around the globe, Martinez has an extensive history in various aspects of design. After studying industrial design at the National University in Mexico, he ventured to Italy, completing his masters in transportation design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan. There, he worked as a senior designer and project manager working with companies including Audi and Ferrari.

Back at KPU, Martinez says he’s eager to help shape the future of this design field.

“We are working very hard to make it even more interesting and useful for students”

The program blends creativity with science and innovation, teaching students to use available technologies and materials to create product solutions.

Program courses include design methods and materials where students are introduced to material behavior and the manufacturing process; production technology, highlighting current production and manufacturing requirements, limitations, and costs; human factors for product design, which examines the relationship between design, and user needs including safety, performance, and comfort; and the business of product design where students learn to compose proposals, marketing plans, contracts, and build their portfolios.

Aside from a range of hands-on courses, the product design program also includes numerous opportunities which connect students with industry and collaborate on community projects. Earlier this year, KPU product design students collaborated with the City of Surrey to create a sustainable trophy for the Clean Technology Championship. The final design was created from local biodegradable, sustainable materials. More recently, students of the program collaborated with Arbutus Medical to create a streamlined pattern for the Arbutus Drill Cover—a soft drill cover bag that turns power drills into sterilized and affordable surgical tools. The potentially lifesaving drill covers are now being sent to eight hospitals in Nepal.

With countless applications, product design can open the door to a vast array of careers, both locally and internationally. Graduates of the program are well prepared to launch their careers as designers, product developers, packaging designers, and much more.

To learn more about product design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, visit kpu.ca/productdesign