Skip to main content

What is Collaborative Design?

Designing industrial products requires both creative and technical insights from the designer, meaning that both concept development skills and know-how of materialisation and production are essential. Creativity, user-centered design, engineering, flexible production and idea visualisation are the main ingredients of the Industrial Product Design programmes at Howest. Design students learn by doing and design by prototyping in the extensive maker labs at the Industrial Design Center.

But what if the designer facilitates the interaction among all stakeholders in the process of turning an idea into real innovation?

As a student, you’ll be part of a team in a start-up design studio. With a bird’s-eye view on the global industrialisation process and all its actors, you will create, materialise, produce and launch a product, a product-service or a product-system on the market. You’ll create a business and marketing plan, research the target group, contact and visit production companies and get a small project into live production.

For another project of this semester, you, as a design student, will work in a multidisciplinary team (such as with experts in digital development, multimedia & communication technology, physical therapy…). Through the methods of design thinking and entrepreneurship, you’ll get coached to make a difference and to tackle a real-life, challenging and complex case study defined by a company or organisation.

In Design Development, you’ll perfect your design research and prototyping skills. In this project-based course, we focus on the technological development of a project formulated by a design studio or company, we strive for materiality and advanced prototyping and work towards a client driven demonstrator.

For your portfolio, you will reflect on the type of designer you are becoming. We’ll trigger your reflection skills with design talks, external company visits and fairs, and a 1-week intensive design project with an international partner school in product design.

This English-taught semester is organised by our Bachelor of Industrial Product Design (IPO).

This programme is only available in English!

Studenten aan de slag in marketing en communicatie.

What makes this semester unique?

  • its focus on interdisciplinary project
  • its focus on individual realisation
  • its focus on start-up industrial design


Minimum 4 successfully completed semesters or an equivalent of 120 ECTS in a Bachelor programme in Product Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Mechanical Design, Packaging Design, Furniture Design, … This will need to be confirmed by means of an official certificate, a survey of completed courses, or a signed letter from the sending university.

All students must bring their laptop but buying software is not necessary. All software needed is open source or paid for by Howest. If you have a Mac, you need to be able to run Windows. Howest only allows officially licensed software on it campuses. MS Office and Adobe CC and other non-essential software can be obtained at student discount.

Click here for Howest language expectations.

Non-exchange students are not able to attend this international semester.

Course overview

Find the course unit descriptions for this programme (course catalogue) here.

The Collective - Interdisciplinary Project (6ECTS)

The collective is an interdisciplinary and outspoken co-creative project, embedded in different educational departments at Howest. Students who are differently skilled in their first years of study will bring in a variety of professional expertise. Together, they’ll apply methods of design thinking to a complex and real-life case study of a client or company. What if… product designers meet game designers; what if… product designers meet health workers and wellbeing experts, what if… product designers meet multimedia and communication technology experts?

Design Development (6ECTS)

In Design Development, you’ll perfect your design research and prototyping skills. In this project-based course, we focus on the technological development of a project formulated by a design studio or company. We strive for materiality and advanced prototyping and work towards a client driven demonstrator.

Start-up Industrial Design (15ECTS)

Design students in their 3rd year of study, should not only be able to conceptualize and prototype their own product ideas, they should also become more mature in articulating a vision for their designs. designing the right things right.

In this course, students go beyond the activity of designing a product or service. They’ll design a product system; a business model for “a design agency/studio”. Economic, social and communicative management aspects of a start-up business are examined. Within this start-up, the students develop a first product or product-service to keep up with the problems associated with design. Student teams develop a simple product or product-service from concept to sale. A perfection demonstrator or a small series or a mass production is realised and sold.

This course requires a highly professional attitude since students have to put time management, financial knowhow, product strategy, cost calculation, knowledge about intellectual property, CE-norms and legislation, and last but not least negotiation skills, in the game when co-creating with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, end-users and so on. What else? Making quotes in a design context; integral product design; designing for production; B2B and B2C; supply chain; product launch and product sale; technical product documentation; co-ownership.

Portfolio III (3ECTS)

This smaller course is a mix of different portfolio elements, such as: professional communication methods for designers; orientation on the job market and applying for a design job, design portfolio, professional development, introspection (reflective activities) and extrospection (fairs and company visits in Belgium); ethical code of conduct, integrity and responsibilities for a designer; sustainability

English for Exchange Students (3ECTS)

This English course provides exchange students with a training in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, all focused on their ongoing or upcoming academic experience. The lecturer will take the diversity of academic areas of the participants into account by addressing a range of topics and choosing subjects that are relevant to the attending students wherever possible.

The course aims at the B2 proficiency level. We strongly recommended it to all exchange students who have not fully achieved the B2-level in English at the moment of application for their mobility project. For the more proficient students, we see the course as an interesting immersion experience.

This course is optional. Classes take place in the evening.

Welcome international students!

Discover everything you need to know about Howest.

Read more

How to apply

Procedures, deadlines and tuitions: you will find all the information here.

Read more

Programme in pictures

Register now!

Have you decided? We look forward to welcoming you to our Howest community! 
You can find all information about registering via the link below.

Apply now

Studenten in pauze met koffie op de campus


Do you have questions? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Louis Muylle

Louis Muylle

International Coordinator