The new Master’s programme »Design: Products and Interactions« addresses the rapidly changing social and technological requirements of the design profession. Overcoming the historical separation between product design and communication design, with the aim of shaping future work and living environments, is of central importance for the course. The modules of the Master’s programme are open to different forms of media and offer applied, artistic and scientific approaches to collaborative, project-based work. Through changing team constellations, the students can explore different roles in the design process and learn how to productively interact with various stakeholders in the field.
Hybrid Understanding of Design Products
The Master’s programme focuses on the design of hybrid products in which materiality, mediality and interaction are symbiotically interconnected from the outset and are put in a productive relationship with one another. The expanded concept of product design, as it is understood at the Faculty of Design, entails the design interactive applications as well as serial physical products, but can’t be reduced to either one of these dimensions. The strength of the study programme is in going beyond these conventional boundaries to enable the students to become experts in shaping things that combine material form, functionality, symbolic meaning, and complex patterns of usage. Products, in this sense, can be a thing, an interface, a service, or an experience – but typically, they span several of these categories.
Project-based Teamwork in Complex Contexts
The study programme enables graduates to work in interdisciplinary teams and leading positions in entrepreneurial, artistic and research-based professional fields with a strong future orientation. Technical and craft skills in the use of contemporary design tools are important prerequisites for this and are supported by the well-equipped digital and physical workshops. At the same time, these skills are not an end in themselves. The focus of the study programme is on training students’ aesthetic and cultural sensitivity, their conceptual and planning skills, as well as their ability to reflect critically as designers in complex social contexts. This is done with the involvement of external cooperation partners from business, culture and research.
Another special feature of the degree programme is that the modules are offered in tandem by two professors with different specialisations. This co-teaching model takes into account the demand for hybridity of the content and methods to be taught. Although all courses are compulsory modules, they open up a high degree of freedom with regard to the individual specialisation of the students. Within the modules, emphases can thus be set across a spectrum between the poles of physical product design and interactive media development, without presupposing a binary decision. Consequently, the students have similar freedoms as in elective modules, while the space for the desired hybrid approaches is ensured.