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What is Design for Industry?

Understanding how things are made is key to designing better products!

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 happens if the designer pays attention to the engineering of a product? When we design products to be more reliable, more efficient, use less material or optimize to the cutting edge of production possibilities, we’re creating opportunities for innovation.

During this semester, we’ll focus on the most technical aspects of product development. You’ll go through the integral design process, with extra focus on production, materialization, technical detailing and the engineering of products! In this semester, there’s more room for mechanical design, smart products, advanced CAD/CAM/CAE and advanced production techniques. We’ll pay attention to sustainable product design, applying eco-design techniques to today’s products, to make them more efficient, more recyclable and more repairable.

#product engineering #smart products #production processes #CAD/CAM/CAE

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.

Product Engineering (6ECTS)

Design rules and guidelines, research and verification methods are put to practice in an iterative design process of an industrial machine, or technical consumer product. Based on the product’s functionality, your team is challenged to define the components, materials and production techniques.

The design is finalized down to the last detail, using digital techniques, simulations, calculations and rapid prototyping techniques.


In CAD/CAP (Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Production) you’ll be establishing the link between CAD and a production environment. We’ll learn to adjust our 3D models for advanced production techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting, but also 5-axis milling and waterjet cutting. Using generative design, topology optimization and other digital tools we’ll learn how to optimize our designs for lower weight, better strength, etc.

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

Creating Intelligence (6ECTS)

Smart products must add value for the user. They enable new concepts of use. They require insights into interaction at different levels and user experience.

For that, designers need rapid, ‘digital’ prototyping techniques. We’ll connect sensors and actuators using Python or ESP32, and test smart concept with our target group.

Tech-tools (3ECTS)

In this module, we use our CAD software to simulate processes and visualise 3D models in function of the design process. We start working with techniques that will also provide support in other modules. For instance, we learn to simulate and analyse movements on product assemblies. We make strength analyses using solid models and learn to interpret the results, after which we optimise models. There is also a first introduction to Virtual and Augmented Reality, allowing us to interact with our digital twins, adding value to the design process.

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!

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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.

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Studenten in pauze met koffie op de campus


Louis Muylle

Louis Muylle

International Coordinator