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What is Design for Identity?

Products unlock emotions through their identity!

Designing industrial products requires both creative and technical insights from the designer, meaning that both concept development skills and know-how of materialization and production are essential. Creativity, user-centered design, engineering, flexible production and idea visualization are the main ingredients of the 3-year-Ba. Program Industrial Product Design 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 is able to add a layer of emotion on top of that? That important spark – in response to social trends and needs – gives a product character and turns it into a strong, communicative but yet functional medium between objects and people!

The region around the city of Kortrijk is maker minded: it contains numerous manufacturers of objects for interior & lifestyle (such as lighting, carpets, furniture, garden & outdoor…). Most are family-owned small & medium sized enterprises. Kortrijk also hosts the INTERIEUR biennial and the annual Kortrijk Creativity Week in town, where companies gather and showcase their newest innovative ideas and products. It creates the perfect context for a Design for Identity semester since students will create individual portfolio work together with these ambitious companies.

During this semester, we’ll specifically train your surfacing skills & freeform modeling in CAD. We’ll work on your personal signature design style and try to find a match between you and our local Belgian brands. We’ll practice 2D/3D visualization a lot and we’ll let you experiment with VR, bio-based materials and textiles in our labs!

#form and shape #interiors and objects #visualization #advanced surfacing #interaction #UX & VR

Studenten aan de slag in marketing en communicatie.

What makes this semester unique?

  • its focus on industrial design
  • its focus on interiors and objects
  • its focus on visualization
  • its focus on advanced surfacing
  • its focus on tech-tools for 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.

Industrial Design (9ECTS)

The focus of this course is on the industrial design of consumer products, taking into account product features and details, user-centered design methods, material selection, UX, production and market opportunities. The outcome should be an underpinned design process, leading towards a proof-of-concept and a proof-of-product for a Belgian client or brand. Students make use of their CAD-software (Siemens NX) for modeling, for designing and testing details and for taking some directions with regard to production.

Interiors and Objects (6ECTS)

This course aims to teach students to design and define the brand DNA of industrial products, derived from a very specific personal style, or values or a personal expression of the individual student.

First, students do the analysis phase on paper (e.g. presentation using trend panels and mood boards) and sketch directions towards design. Second, the student proceeds to further elaboration and possibly the realization of the product/system they have designed on paper. The following topics will be discussed: #analyzing and synthesizing a certain design; # designing a product for a specific target group or specific customer; # designing a family to complement an existing or non-existent product; # designing a corporate identity both graphically on paper and translating it into the styling of a product. # applying color, texture, specific design, shape variations.

Visualization (6ECTS)

Students will sketch digitally using drawing tablets. They will learn visualization and render techniques via digital sketching software (Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, VR software). Students will learn how to show the storyline, the user scenario and every step of their design process. They’ll practice how to present their products convincingly.
Packaging design: students will design the layout and manual for a packaging. To do this properly, they’ll digitally reprocess sketches on paper to brainstorm on color and style. They’ll test the layout on digital mockups and make a movie about how the packaging works.

*Advanced Surfacing (6ECTS)

In this course, students learn how to build freeform models, from form idea to CAD-model, both physically and digitally. In this course, the student plays with continuities, makes and manipulates transitions between surfaces; from desired shape to engineerable shape; via physical shape models, 2D-views, 3D-scan, to surface model. The student gets to understand the background and structure to come to a freeform. The student can add shape details to CAD-models. And what about split lines, 3D-patterns, sweeps and lofts, import/export file types, trimming and extending…? The students practice making photorealistic visualizations and to dynamically represent their design process. SIEMENS NX software is available to incoming students for free.

*Students who aren’t yet familiar with the basics of surfacing will be redirected to another CAD-module.

Tech-tools (3ECTS)

In this course, students are triggered to experiment with unexplored design techniques, such as ceramics, textiles, VR-viewers. Students create “products in progress”, derived from a personal experiment and the application of technology. Everything but the end product is relevant. Students try to expand their conventional way of working.

Elective course: English for Exchange Students (3ECTS)

This English course provides exchange students with 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


Louis Muylle

Louis Muylle

International Coordinator