Design & Technology: Product Design (3D)

Why study A level Product Design?
This subject provides an interesting, challenging and stimulating area for study in the Sixth Form. The knowledge, understanding and skills gained are likely to be of great benefit to students pursuing further studies and to the world of work. The course encourages candidates to take a broad view of technology and design, to develop their capacity to design and make products and to appreciate the complex relations between design, materials, manufacturing and marketing. The course might well complement the study of mathematics and sciences or provide a contrast to the study of arts, languages and social sciences.

What are the careers or further education that this course be suitable for?
Many career related opportunities are available including product design, industrial design, mechanics, graphic design, interior design, architecture, engineering and illustration. We are very proud to say that a large proportion of our students continue into higher education to study product design or related degree courses.

Key Information Summary:

Course TitleGCE Design &Technology: Product Design (3-D design)
Examination BoardAQA
Linear Qualification?Yes
Course Webpage
Entry RequirementsGrade 5 in a technology subject or Grade 5 in Art
Contact TeachersMrs. N Firth

Course Details:
Much of the subject content is covered through project work reinforced by industrial visits and online support material. The emphasis will be on the solution of design and technology based problems using appropriate communication, practical and design skills. Opportunities will be provided for students to develop their personal interest and abilities, particularly when choosing their project for Unit 4. Past examples include:

  • bike maintenance unit
  • music stand
  • aids for the elderly and disabled
  • rugby training apparatus


Subject Content:

A-level Design and Technology: Product Design requires students to engage in both practical and theoretical study. This specification requires students to cover design and technology skills and knowledge as set out below. These have been separated into:

Core technical principles
Students are expected to be able to name specific materials for a wide range of applications. They must also be able to explain in detail why specific materials and combinations of materials are suitable for given applications with reference to:

  • physical and mechanical properties
  • product function
  • aesthetics
  • cost
  • manufacture and disposal.
    • Practical methods for investigating and testing material properties to assess their suitability   for a range of uses.
  • Testing and comparing mechanical material properties

Core designing and making principles

  • Product development and improvement
  • Inclusive design
  • Ergonomics and anthropometrics
  • Meeting design criteria
  • Functionality
  • Aesthetics
  • Fitness for purpose
  • Target market user
  • Accurate and efficient manufacture
  • Design illustration and communication
  • Design methods and practices
  • Critical analysis and evaluation
  • Selecting appropriate tools, techniques and processes
  • Accuracy in design and manufacture
  • Responsible design

Additional specialist knowledge

Performance characteristics of materials,

  • Woods and wood based materials
  • Polymers
  • Metals
  • Composite materials
  • Modern and smart materials
  • Adhesives

Assessment details:

A level – 2 Year Course
Paper 1 (2 hours, 25% of A level)

Core technical principles and core designing and making principles

The paper is made up of a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions

Paper 2 (2 hours, 25% of A level)

A mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions

Section A

Product analysis

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

Section B

Commercial manufacture

Mixture of short and extended response questions

Non-exam assessment (45hrs, 50% A level)

Practical application of technical principles, design and making principles and specialist knowledge

Substantial design and make task

45 hours (100 marks, 50% of A level)


Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.