Design Revolution and Its Meaning to Engineering Students
Design Revolution and Its Meaning to Engineering Students
  • Reporter Kim Sung-hwan
  • 승인 2010.06.09 16:25
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For students who study science and technology, and especially who study engineering, a deeper understanding to what makes a good product is necessary since the obligation of engineers is to invent or synthesize products that are likely to satisfy the people. In the past, the most important factors for a product were considered to be hardware-based aspects, such as function, weight, cost and practicality. For cost and practicality, adventures were unlikely to be made. Design was always the last thing to consider as an accessorial and decorative factor.

▲ Apple of iProduct considered as the leader of design innovation.
These days, usually exemplified by the iProducts of Apple, the importance of product design has been accentuated. Design finally has emerged as the prime factor for product differentiation, rather than size or technology-oriented function. The importance of design as a priority is actually what some of the innovative business men and scholars have been emphasizing. It is how that the true value of their idea is evaluated and credited. Now the industry places design and idea first, and technology follows to fit in.

The word design carries with it a sense of abstractness. But design itself is not something abstract, and the design boom, of course, has never been a result of abstractness. If the whole industry focuses on one idea, there only is one basic motivation; it is because that one idea makes money. The design issue is hot because it makes money.

Mass production and all other industrial processes focus on cost reduction. But when the cost of a product of a specific company is reduced to the limit evenly along with the competitive products in market, how should an enterprise maximize its profit? The design boom occurred because design came to be the most distinct solution. Design adds value to a product without much effect on cost. Also, design gives a first impression of a product to consumers. Consumers are willing to pay the added value if the product is thought to give enough satisfaction.

As the importance of design is being exposed and as the industries strive to pursue the trend of design-orientation in production, science and engineering students must acquire profound refinement in art and design. Adjusting to the trend, some of the world’s renowned colleges are constructing interdisciplinary studies.

Northwestern University, one of the most renowned universities in arts, science, technology and business, provides three different programs that pursue the synthesis of engineering and design: Engineering Design and Communication, Certificate in Engineering Design and the BS degree in Manufacturing and Design Engineering.

The Engineering Design and Communication (EDC) course is an interdisciplinary course that the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences participate together for a single objective. Students in EDC course face real clients and learn to communicate about their innovative ideas.

The Certificate in Engineering Design (CED) program was devised to enable undergraduate students to develop design knowledge and skills. The course was proposed to educate students to be able to solve real-world problems related to design competition. It is a certificate followed by a diploma after the completion of required courses and the presentation of a portfolio.

Manufacturing and Design Engineering (MaDE) is an independent bachelor’s degree that focuses on the process and product design, manufacturing systems and manufacturing management. The degree program can be understood as the mixture of industrial engineering and industrial design.

But there remain some questions. The above courses teach technical methods and ideas. How does one get to know what to design? How does a person read cultural trends? What kind of design gives the best first impression to consumers? Youngse Kim, the CEO of INNOdesign, on May 27, came to POSTECH and spoke a lecture about the current trend and his philosophy.