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What is Design for Impact?

Understanding the challenges in society is the first step to solving them!

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 user is a co-creator in the design process? 

You find your role as product designers fascinating, especially when tackling today’s social challenges: co-creation, designing for specific target groups, climate change, the sharing economy, smaller homes, and smart product-service systems.

With an eye for social context, we go through the integral design process of a product. The user as co-creator is central and is involved in the development of new concepts. We design in open or early design stages (fuzzy front end). They design using their insights into design methodology, visual storytelling, social innovation, service design and user experience. Students in this track develop new business models for products, 100% circular, 100% relevant and inclusive, though not necessarily 100% tangible

#co-creation; #UX; #storytelling; #product-service systems; #human-centered 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

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.

Human-Centered Design  (6ECTS)

In this module, user research is integrated into an iterative design process with the aim of creating an innovative and meaningful product from interaction with a lead user in a specific context. Lead users are key customers within the market in which the organisation's innovation is to take place. These customers are open to and looking for innovation. This group of customers provide valuable input during, for example, product development sprints.

Visual Storytelling (6ECTS)

In this module, we’ll learn to visualize data to clarify and communicate abstract concepts. We learn manual and digital sketch forms, realistic digital and virtual visualisation techniques and apply them in function of process illustration, manuals and ergonomic development of the product.

Product-Service Systems (6ECTS)

The field of product design is becoming ever broader and, from a sustainability point of view, service design is increasingly claiming its place. Many products that are currently still seen as a commodity (a possession) can be transformed into a commons (a shared good that is treated more sustainably). The designer is therefore expected to be able to design services that interact with products as well as products. It is important to include the design of these services early enough in the integral design process.

There is also a growing belief that designers can help many different sectors devise and implement scenarios and solutions to live together in a more balanced way. The post-COVID era is challenging some of the acquired certainties that drive our businesses and institutions. The crisis shows the need for 'service design thinking' within a lot of existing systems in industry, healthcare, education, logistics, etc.

Tech-tools (3ECTS)

In this module, we will work with different tools, materials and techniques that can help us in a user-centered design process.

We will be creative, experiment and explore applied to quick assignments. You look at the possibilities and explore how they can be used efficiently to gain user insights and tailor products to user requirements and wishes.

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.

Course unit descriptions for this study programme
Welcome international students!

Discover everything you need to know about Howest.

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How to apply

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

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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