Design Engineering Theory Topics - Home Page

Investigate and analysis the work of professionals and companies to inform design

1 Analysising a product to specification criteria

You should evaluate all aspects of a product's design to establish:

  • key parts
  • how they fulfil the design brief and specification

This helps you to understand the design decisions made and why the final product looks, or works, as it does. A good product analysis will examine a product under certain criteria.


Sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

2 The work of past and present designers and companies

Influential designs are adopted and adapted by other designers.

Here are some examples:


  • Company established in Italy 1921.
  • Designer and mass producer of functional but visually appealing homeware and kitchen products.
  • Uses famous designers, such as Philip Starck, to create iconic kitchen products, such as the spider-like Juicy Salif lemon squeezer and retro kettles, setting a standard for other homeware companies.
  • Click here to go the the designers website.


  • Company established in the USA 1976.
  • Producer of consumer electronics and software using cutting-edge technologies, e.g. iPad, iWatch, iPod, iPhone, iTunes
  • Ground breaking design: products looked compltely different to anything before
  • Breaking with tradition and legacy, Apple's iPod made digital music mainstream
  • A loyal customer base.
  • Click here to look at some Apple products

Heatherwick Studio

  • Design studio established in the UK 1994.
  • Around 200 designers, architects and makers have worked on projects from perfum bottles to Routemaster buses and Singapore University buildings.
  • Stretches the boundaries of materials, craftsmanship and artistic thinking, showing that products and buildings can be unusual, experimental and interesting.
  • Click here to read more about Heatherwick studios.

Joe Casely-Hayford

  • Fashion designer, born 1956
  • Noted for his original but wearable designs that push barriers of conformity, made by master craftspeople using traditional English tailoring methods.
  • Sets standard for British tailoring that combines style with character and is popular with celebrities.
  • Click here to learn more about Joe Casely-Hayford's designs


  • Animation studio, established in the USA 1979.
  • Among the first to develop computer-animated feature films.
  • Uses new techniques and technologies to make popular and successful films including Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
  • The learn more about Pixar, click here.

Raymond Loewy

  • Industrial designer(1893-1986)
  • The father of modern design
  • Emphasised the importance of combining simplicity with functionality, working with more than 200 companies on designs ranging from refrigerators to planes, trains and spacecraft
  • Introduced the idea that if two products have the same price, function and quality, the products with better aesthetics will be more popular
  • His designs are recognisable today, including the Coca-Cola bottle, Le Creuset Coquelle dish and logos for Shell and BP.
  • To learn more about Raymond Loewy designs, click here or here for the Wiki site.


  • Automotive and energy storage company established in the USA 2008.
  • Produces electric cars that don't have compromise on power or quality, have zero emissions, are affordable and can be charged at home.
  • Leads electric car design technology, including the Tesla Model X (2016)
  • To learn more about Tesla, click here.

Zaha Hadid

  • Architect (1950-2016)
  • Integrated geometric forms with expensive, sweeping fluid forms
  • Promoted architecture as a visual art form, with buildings intended to give aesthetic pleasure.
  • Overcame racial and gender barriers to establish an architect practice that has designed more than 1000 iconic buildings worldwide.
  • To learn more about Zaha Hadid's designs, click here.

Apply it

Research other products that have been influenced by Raymond Loewy's streamlined design. Explain how they fit into the 'streamlined' philosophy.

3 Summary

  • Products can be evaluated under certain specification criteria
  • Many designers have made significant contributions to design and continue to influence today's designers.

4 Exam questions

  • Explain why it important that companies design sustainable products.
  • Describe two designs philosophies at the core of Zaha Hadid Architect's design style.
  • Name the designer whose designs follow the traditions of English tailored clothing but push the barriers of conformity.
  • Describe how form could follow function in the design of modern products.
  • Investigate the development of an Apple product and identify technological advances that have improved the product over time. Explain why you think Apple is such as influential company.