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Design and Technology - Product design - A level

A Level - Design Technology

Design and Technology - Product design - A level


Component 1: Design and Technology in the 21st Century

Written examination: 3 hours

50% of qualification


The examination includes a mix of structured and extended writing questions assessing learners' knowledge and understanding of:

∙ technical principles

∙ designing and making principles

along with their ability to analyse and evaluate wider issues in design and technology.

Component 2: Design and make project.

Non-exam assessment: approximately 80 hours

50% of qualification



A sustained design and make project, based on a brief developed by the candidate, assessing the candidate's ability to:

∙ identify, investigate and outline design possibilities.

∙ design and make prototypes.

∙ analyse and evaluate design decisions and outcomes, including for prototypes made by themselves and others.


The design and make project will be based within the same endorsed area as the written examination.


Course outline

Introduction to the course

Practical Project

-Manufacturing skills boards


Design Projects

-Chair project

-Shelter project

-Non-exam assessment (50% of final A Level grade)


Theory units:

-Design for maintenance

-Ergonomics and anthropometrics

-Quantitative and qualitative measures

-User centred design


-Timbers/Polymers/Metals/Composites/Modern materials

-Product life cycle

-Industrial manufacturing methods

Non-exam assessment focus until Feb half term (50% of final A Level grade)


Theory units:

-Designing and innovation

-Materials and components


-Industrial and commercial practice

-Product analysis and systems

-Human responsibility

-Public interaction


File Organisation

Essential Equipment

Sketch pad - informal project work

Google Slides - formal project work



-Class notes

-Revision materials

-Practice papers

Sketch pad

Drawing equipment


We are offering an A Level in Product Design through the WJEC exam board.

Course Content and Assessment

The qualification is split into two assessed areas, a Contextual Studies Design Project and a Written Theory Paper.  More information about the qualification can be found at;

The Contextual Studies Project is a design and make task that demonstrates your ability to work and manage a design project independently.  This project is started towards the end of the first year of the course, you will explore possible project topics, carrying out a range of research activities and development concept ideas.  This work is done whilst also undertaking other design based activities to build knowledge and skills within the subject.  During the second year you will be working predominantly on your Contextual Studies Project.

The written theory paper tests the depth and breadth of your knowledge in the subject. It is taught through short assignments and activities and covers a range of subjects such as materials, manufacturing and design history.  There is also a strong element of learning through the work done on your Contextual Studies Project.

The course looks at how product designers and engineers produce innovative changes in the world.

Core units studied include; Materials, Manufacturing Techniques, Design History, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Resource Management and Sustainable Production, Modelling, Raw Material to Final Product, Innovation and Design.  These topics are taught through the use of practical assignments and theory based lessons.  These activities enhance your understanding and develop your constructional skills.

You will be encouraged to make use of the workshop facilities including the Laser Cutter and CNC machines. CAD skills are encouraged and used within all aspects of the course.

What skills will I gain?

The core skill at the heart of the course will develop your ability to independently follow the Design Process, starting from an Initial Brief and then through the use of Research, Idea Development, Prototyping, testing and improving, produce a high quality fully resolved product and project folder.

Where can A level Product Design lead?

You will gain an excellent understanding of the design process and problem solving skills undertaken by people working in design industries.  The courses will be of great benefit to students with an interest in engineering, product design, architecture or other careers that involve a combination of creativity and sound analytical thinking.  The courses will also enable you to develop a wide variety of transferable skills useful in many other occupations.  Former students have pursued careers in Civil, Mechanical,  Electronic Engineering, Industrial Design, Product Design and Architecture.


A world of careers for people who enjoy Design & Technology

Recommended Reading - Product Design

  • Students should be encouraged to read around the subject.
  • This may include: -
  • BBC News
  • Technology Section
  • Wired magazine
  • The Design Museum-
  • Jony Ive: The genius behind Apple’s greatest products, Leander Kahney, ISBN 9780670923243

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Fashion and textiles (Art & Design)


Unit 1: Visual Recording and Communication

External  assessed

  • A task set and marked by Pearson and taken under supervised conditions.
  • Learners will be given a theme and a task in order to prepare a response before a supervised assessment period
  • The supervised assessment period is a maximum of three hours and can be arranged over a number of sessions in a period timetabled by Pearson.
  • Portfolio evidence.
  • AO1 Understand how recording is used to communicate visually in the work of others
  • AO2 Demonstrate understanding of visual communication through exploration and application of different methods of recording
  • AO3 Demonstrate ability to record to communicate intentions
  • AO4 Evaluate visual recording and communication skills

Unit 2: Critical and Contextual Studies in Art and Design

External  assessed

  • A task set and marked by Pearson and taken under supervised conditions.
  •  Learners are provided with a brief (Part A) four weeks before a supervised assessment period in order to carry out research.
  • Learners will be provided with monitored research sessions of three hours scheduled by the centre to produce materials that can be used in the Part B supervised assessment.
  • The supervised assessment period (Part B) is undertaken in a single session of three and a half hours timetabled by Pearson.


  • AO1 Be able to apply an effective investigation process to inform understanding of creative practitioners
  • AO2 Demonstrate the ability to visually analyse the work of creative practitioners
  • AO3 Demonstrate understanding of how contextual factors relate to creative practitioner’s work
  • AO4 Communicate independent judgments demonstrating understanding of the work of creative practitioners

Unit 3: The Creative Process

Internally assessed

In this unit you will:

  • Understand the stages and activities within the creative process 
  • Experiment with the stages and activities within the creative process to develop own working practice
  • Apply stages and activities within the creative process to develop own art and design work
  • Review how use of the creative process developed own art and design practice.

Unit 15: Fashion Materials, Techniques and Processes

Internally assessed




Unit 14: Textile Materials, Techniques and Processes

In this unit you will:

Unit 15

A:Explore fashion materials, techniques and processes

B:cApply fashion materials, techniques and processes to a brief

C:Review use of fashion materials, techniques and processes.

Unit 14

A: Explore textile materials, techniques and processes

B: Apply textile materials and processes to a brief

C: Review own use of textile materials, techniques and processes

Course outline

Lower 6th

Upper 6th

Complete Unit 1: Visual Recording and Communication


Complete Unit 15/14: Fashion Materials, Techniques and Processes

Complete Unit 2: Critical and Contextual Studies in Art and Design


Complete Unit 3: The Creative Process


Internally assessed


File Organisation

Essential Equipment

All of your assessed work will be submitted using sketchbooks and portfolio evidence this will can also be in a digital format.


You can keep a sketchbook/ sample book of notes and physical samples to aid with planning. This will include technical, construction and decorative processes, terminology & further reading.


Art materials e.g Water colours, pastels, pencils crayons , inks

Display board, calico fabric, sample fabrics, fabric dyes, threads etc. 


Will be provided


You will need to buy:

  • Sketchbook A3 sizes
  • Sketchbook / notebook A5 or A4
  • Drawing pencils, 
  • Fine liner
  • Sewing kit
  • Specific fabrics & components will need to be purchased for main pieces of work.


Sewing kit will be available to buy from school


Where can Fashion & Textiles lead to?

There are a huge number of potential careers in the fashion and textiles industry and below are some of the key roles available to someone who is interested in this area.  The textiles industry can be divided up into ‘sectors’. Each sector focuses on a different part of the industry e.g. most sectors require designers, technologists, machine operatives, retailers etc. This means that someone interested in being a designer has the choice of designing across a number of sectors e.g. being a sportswear designer or designing specialist new materials for the construction industry.

Examples of different textiles sectors are: • Sales & retail • Manufacturing • Sports & leisure • Medical • Transport • Construction • Fashion & apparel • Craft • Footwear • Theatre & t.v. • Education • Armed Forces • Interiors • Toys • Tailoring & bespoke textiles • Carpets & flooring • Technical textiles

Qualifications needed to study Fashion and Textiles

You will predominantly come through from a GCSE in Design Technology.  We accept students who have not studied Design Technology at GCSE but are able to show an ability to meet the levels required and an understanding of the learning methods and practical skills used in this subject.

Recommended Reading - Fashion & Textiles


Why STEM subjects and fashion design go hand in hand

Careers in Fashion: the different job roles