The Bachelor in Product Design will be your springboard to a career as a Product Designer full of success

IAAD “Industrial design” department opened in 2005 as a natural evolution of the thirty-year expertise on product and visual communication.

The industrial design is concerned with the complex relationship between man and matter, declined in shapes and innovative features, useful and functional: from high-tech to fashion, from accessories to appliance, from objects of luxury to everyday use.

The industrial designer is a professional therefore able to implement innovative projects taking into account the needs of the end user and the prerogatives of systems production.

Gradual assimilation of all the skills necessary to operate in the field of industrial design

IAAD teaching method is based on Art College in Pasadena system, perhaps the most famous design school in the world, and provides for the gradual assimilation of four different skills: drawing, software use, modelling and final presentation of the product.

You begin by picking up a pencil and learn to manage the stretch and the prospect to place the object on the page, placing lights and shadows to perform the three-dimensionality. Of course, you must also learn to manage it all with specific software, in our case especially Photoshop, Illustrator and Rhino. Then you move on to the verbal description of the product and to modelling.

Program starts with the design of very simple things, to move progressively towards more complex and articulated projects: tools, clothing, appliances, and boats… During the last year you work in close collaboration with companies, which sponsor the projects and play the dual role of commissions and mentors.

Industrial design, a sector that provides countless opportunities

The field of industrial design is so wide that offers different opportunities to those who prove to be good professionals. Some people are more proficient with the computer, some other with drawing, some with presentation and communication, some with team management. Locating your specific talent and understanding what you should focus on and what not, is a milestone in personal learning process.

All this is facilitated by the active support of the partner companies of IAAD “Industrial design” department – special lectures, company visits, workshops, seminars, internships, projects and thesis – that provide students with opportunities to work with important designers from national and international companies.


Department President: Stefano Giovannoni

Strategic Director: Davide Adriano

Coordinator of the First Level Academic Diploma: Davide Negri



I level Academic Diploma in Design (DIPL02)
Specialization in Product design

Seat: Turin/Bologna

Language: Italian


Three-year course syllabus

scientific-academic area

learning environment


Sciences of communication

Design semiotics

Representation methods and tools

Drawing and geometric representation

History and culture of design

– History and culture of design

– History and critique of contemporary design

Mathematics and physical sciences

Design physics

Science and technology of materials

Science and technology of materials




Basic Design

Basic design

Product design

– Composition

– Product design

Systems design

Product system design

Production technologies

– Production technologies

– Product life-cycle evaluation

Product design / Systems design

Characterizing subjects annually activated by Academic Board




Analysis and representation of shape and project

Representation techniques and languages


– Multimedia elements

– Image graphic elaboration

Project representation and communication techniques

– Rendering

– Operative technical drawing

Sciences and languages of perception

Theory of perception



Professional activity management

Professional activity management

Sociology and anthropology of design

Sociology of design

Image graphic design

Image graphic design



English language












total CREDITS 180

Product design, schedule for the current academic year

The opening of the academic year is expected in the first week of October, with the usual ceremony.

The ordinary lessons begin 1 week after, according to the time-schedule, and take place from Monday to Friday, while activities on Saturday can occasionally be inserted. Any extraordinary lectures and seminars are provided with due notice.

Lessons ordinarily follow the schedule published on the Notice Board before the beginning of each semester.

It’s a good idea to check the daily schedule posted on the Notice Board to check for any changes and classrooms in which lessons take place.


Academic Year Opening
– 2nd and 3rd years: October
– 1st years: October

I Semester
– 2nd and 3rd years: October / January
– 1st years: October / January

Design Workshop – only 2nd and 3rd years
– February

II Semester
– February / May

Exams and thesis:
– I ordinary session: February
– II ordinary session: June (1st and 2nd years)
– II ordinary session: June (3rd years)
– I extraordinary session: June
– II extraordinary session: September
– Thesis Ordinary Session: June / July

Weeks off ordinary lessons:
– February (1st years)
– January / Febbraio (2nd and 3rd years)
– June

During these weeks, students are required to ensure the availability to participate in any additional classes or catch lessons.
The schedule is subject to changes which will be duly communicated.

Product design, informations on the exams session for the current academic year

Students are admitted to the examination sessions (2 per academic year) only if they are up to date with payments, are not over the minimum attendance required and – if any – have successfully passed the midterm checks for each subject.

In case of failure of one or more examinations in the ordinary session, students will have access to the call of the extraordinary exam sessions (2 per academic year).

The procedures to access the exam sessions are contained in the Institute Regulation, given annually to students and available at the Didactic Office.

Exams and thesis:
– 1st ordinary session: February 
– 2nd ordinary session: June (1st and 2nd years)
– 2nd ordinary session: June (3rd years)
– 1st extraordinary session: June 
– 2nd extraordinary session: September 
– Thesis Ordinary Session: from June to July 

Product design, thesis

To achieve the qualification at the end of the third year of the course, IAAD students must submit two theses: a Specialization thesis and an Individual thesis, in addition to the Personal Portfolio.

The Specialization thesis different for each specialization, to be carried out in working groups, is the realization of a project specified by the Institute, consistent with the various issues of the syllabus.

The Specialization thesis is held under the supervision of the Department Co-ordinator and the 3rd year professors, with the support of external interventions – partner companies and their referents.

The Individual Thesis consists of an individual project that the student will perform in total autonomy, identifying a theme, a partner with its referent (External Mentor) and a supervisor in the faculty IAAD (Academic Mentor).

The ordinary session of the thesis is planned for each year in July.

Is industrial design so called because it is less ‘artistic’ than other types of design?

When we talk about ‘industry’ it is easy to think about assembly, greasy overalls, puffing chimneys, and then maybe we convince ourselves that this branch of design is less creative than others. This is wrong: the legendary Bic Cristal ballpoint pen, Olivetti Lettera 32calculator et22 by Dieter Rams, Philip Starck‘s juicer, do they seem ‘uncreative’?
Market laws exist and we must learn to take them into account or we run the risk of wasting energies on projects that will never see the light. For industrial designers we mean a professional able to implement innovative projects taking into account all the needs of the end user and all the benefits of production systems. Hard to please customers, prevented engineers, visionaries marketing manager, suspicious CEO: industrial designers must be able to communicate with everyone, to agree everyone. What do you call this? Don’t you call it ‘creativity’?

But how do you relate to so different people and professionals?

You need a method, a system, otherwise you get lost. You can also decide to oppose the method, to refuse it (as Feyerabend, the author of Against Method recommended), but first you need to know at least one! Ours is inspired by the Art College in Pasadena, perhaps the most famous design school in the world.

What is this method?

Our method provides for the gradual assimilation of four different skills (means ‘ability’, if you do not know English well do not worry, at IAAD we teach you that too): drawing, use of software, modelling and displaying of the final product.
You begin by picking up a pencil and learn to manage stretch and perspective. Then you have to know how to compose the elements on the page, place the object on the page, have lights and shadows play the three-dimensionality.
Of course, we must also learn to manage everything with the software, in our case especially PhotoshopIllustrator and Rhino.
Then later you switch to the verbal description of the product: the crucial phase should not be underestimated, because in verbalization all chickens come home to roost. However, a good verbal description almost always involves the comparison of solutions already adopted in the past and therefore a deep knowledge of the history of design, which, of course, we endeavour to provide.
The next step is the modelling (or prototyping). As you can imagine, it’s the moment of truth: industrial designers create three-dimensional objects of which neither the design nor the verbalization can give the true spatial manifestation. That’s why no one can do without the models.
Finally, you must put it all together and create a format of presentation that one side does justice to the project and the other allows the developer to understand and evaluate it in every facet.
That’s it. The purpose of this course is to let you face peacefully design problems always different and more complex.

Is drawing fundamental?

Do you imagine talking to an arrogant engineer – who, however, is convinced that you are a dandy with the head in the clouds or a schizoid with no pragmatism – without being able to show on paper what you’re talking about? Paper and pencil are your first allies: maybe you don’t know it, but Philippe Starck has designed his juicer at the table, on a placemat.
That said, never reduce an industrial designer to mere drawing or to aesthetic faculties. If he knew just to draw he would be a good illustrator: very professional but, in fact, doing a different job. The industrial designer must be curious, alert, intelligent, always willing to get involved and to experience. This mix you must be add the desire to work hard, a little bit of ‘healthy’ competition and a spirit of globetrotters always looking for the most exciting news.

Competitiveness? Is there a competitive environment in IAAD?

We are not in the desert or in the jungle; there are no wild animals or enemies with machine guns. Simply, everybody is like you and has the desire to express the creativity that explodes inside, to become somebody, to stand out and be noticed. Not sabotage, theft or plastics set on fire during the night: only healthy rivalry that pushes everyone to work hard and give their best. And then, let me say, without a little competition you will get bored.

Is competitiveness a problem when working in a group?

Will you be one who gets angry just because someone has dared to do better than you? We must stop thinking that teamwork and competition are mutually exclusive. We work together, cooperate, we help each other while everyone tries to do better than others, to contribute more. What’s the harm? The best teams are a blend of respect, cooperation and antagonism.
If there is no solidarity, you will go nowhere because it is difficult to make talents agree factor, if there is no competition, the group often has a tendency to slow down, to be self-inhibited thinking that everything goes well, that each team member is an inimitable genius, that every idea is wonderful. Unfortunately not always universal love and creativity go hand in hand.

What kind of projects will I work on?

We start from very simple objects. One of the first tasks, for example, consists of designing a seat in cardboard realized only through joints, without the use of glue or other materials. It must be in 1:1 scale and has to work, in the sense that during the presentation the students have to sit on proving that it supports. Never a failed project has been so directly experienced! It is an easy and effective way to help you think in 3D, to ‘touch’ and figure out where you went wrong. And if you fall, never mind! Here you will learn to get up, shake the dust off and start again aware of the mistakes you committed that you won’t repeat in the future.

Other projects?

As time passes the projects become more complex and articulated: tools, clothes, appliances, boats, literally everything will happen. During the last year, then, you’ll be working in close collaboration with the companies that sponsor projects being both customers and external mentors. The sooner you know what it means to have a client, the better it is. Furthermore, it often happens that, once they leave IAAD, the company with whom they have developed their thesis projects recruits students.

Exactly: is there job security?

There are no guarantees. Never. However, the industrial design is broad enough to provide opportunities to anyone who proves to be a valuable professional. Some people are more proficient with the computer, some others with drawing, some with presentation and communication, some others with working group management. Locate your specific talent, exploit it, figure out what you should focus on and what does not is critical. If you know this, you already know a lot.
Furthermore, during the years you have been given not only a theoretical preparation, but also a technical and practical one, that you have been taught to work with your hands, you’ve learned to build and to present your portfolio at best.
Also keep in mind that in this job the willingness to travel makes the difference: do not just look for a job close to home. Look beyond, the world is big, rich, mysterious and exploring it worth giving up the noodles of mothers (although …). And if you’re really good, you will notice it all and you will start with interesting internships to pass over.

Then after IAAD can I directly enter the world of industrial design?

You enter the design world the first day of class. The rest is accordingly: internships, projects with companies…