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product design

In Product Design at A-Level, you will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put your learning in to practice by producing prototypes and making models of your choice.  You will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers; giving you an in-depth insight and experience of being a true designer and maker.

Why choose Product Design?

Subject Content

Technical principles

  • 3.1.1 Materials and their applications
  • 3.1.2 Performance characteristics of materials
  • 3.1.3 Enhancement of materials
  • 3.1.4 Forming, redistribution and addition processes
  • 3.1.5 The use of finishes
  • 3.1.6 Modern industrial and commercial practice
  • 3.1.7 Digital design and manufacture
  • 3.1.8 The requirements for product design and development
  • 3.1.9 Health and safety
  • 3.1.10 Protecting designs and intellectual property
  • 3.1.11 Design for manufacturing, maintenance, repair and disposal
  • 3.1.12 Feasibility studies
  • 3.1.13 Enterprise and marketing in the development of products
  • 3.11.14 Design communication


Design and making principles

  • 3.2.1 Design methods and processes
  • 3.2.2 Design theory
  • 3.2.3 How technology and cultural changes can impact on the work of designers
  • 3.2.4 Design processes
  • 3.2.5 Critical analysis and evaluation
  • 3.2.6 Selecting appropriate tools, equipment and processes
  • 3.2.7 Accuracy in design and manufacture
  • 3.2.8 Responsible design
  • 3.2.9 Design for manufacture and project management
  • 3.2.10 National and international standards in product design


A-Level Product Design is assessed through a combination of written exam papers which test your knowledge of technical principles, some of which you will already know about from your GCSE studies.  You will also answer questions about the design making process.  It isn't just exam papers though, you will also be able to use your practical skills to design and make an actual product which is also part of your assessment.

Paper 1 (30%)

Technical principles

  • Written exam
  • 120 marks
  • Mixture of short answer and extended response

Paper 2 (20%)

Design and making principles

  • Written exam
  • 80 marks
  • Mixture of short answer and extended response

Section A: Product Analysis (30 marks)

Up to 6 short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s)

Section B: Commercial manufacture (50 marks)

Mixture of short and extended response questions


Non-exam assessment (NEA) 50%

Practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles.

  • Substantial design and make project
  • 100 marks
  • Evidenced by written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype

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Course Information

AQA A Level Product Design 

Possible Degree Options

  • Product design
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Product design engineering
  • Product design CAD
  • Furniture design
  • Automotive design
  • Architectre

Possible Career Options

  • CAD technician
  • Clothing/textile technologist
  • Colour technologist
  • Exhibition designer
  • Furniture designer
  • Interior and spacial designer
  • Product designer