Product Design


Packaging and marketing

The functions of packaging

Protection-packaging protects the product from damage in transit and prevents tampering.

Informing-information for buyers and users can be printed on the packaging.

Containing-some products are made up of lots of tiny pieces that must stay together.

Transportation-products must be able to be packed in bulk for transporting in lorries.

Preservation-many products need to be prevented from deterioration due to temp changes.

Display-enables the buyer to find the product easily on the shelves.

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Packaging and marketing

Printing on packaging


  • Most common form of commercial printing
  • Works on the principle that water and oil do not mix.


  • A form of relief printing used on packaging labels, tape, bags, boxes and banners.

Screen printing

  • Uses a mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil.
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Packaging and marketing

Types of packaging

Blister packaging

  • Inexpensive, durable, transparent and tamper-proof.
  • Clear plastic blisters are used in conjunction with either a cardboard backboard or inlay to enable the consumer to examine the product.
  • Example-medicine in a foil *****.

Skin packaging

  • Sealing a product between a layer of heated plastic and a layer of adhesive coated paper.
  • The hot plastic melts the adhesive, and the paper and plastic are bonded together.


  • Polystyrene sheets provide effective insulation for products, as does corrugated card.
  • Insulation provides protection for fragile items.
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Design in the human context

Human factors

Physiological factors

  • Ergonomics-the study of relationships between people, products and their environment.
  • Physiological-relating to the body and its movement.

Psychological factors

  • Psychological-relating to the mind and its behaviour.

Sociological factors

  • Sociological-human problems in relation to environmental factors.
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Design in the human context

Inclusive and exclusive design

Exclusive design

  • These products are designed to exclude certain people. The products are aimed at specific groups, known as target markets. This helps designers, manufacturers and retailers in the design and sale of a product.

Inclusive design

  • Designers should aim to make products inclusive and accessible to all sections of society and exclude as few people as possible.


  • The study of people's size.
  • To avoid excluding people, designers tend to use mathematical data known as the 5th to the 95th percentile.
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Design in the human context

Thinking about quality

Quality assurance

  • An overall approach to ensure that products attain a consistently high standard.
  • Throughout the manufactoring process, materials, equipment, production processes and training of staff need to be checked and monitored.

Quality control

  • As a product or its component parts are manufactured, a series of samples may be taken from the production line and checked to make sure that each part meets a specific, previously set standard.


  • Tolerances are the acceptable range of differences from the agreed standard. For example, minimum and maximum measurements.
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Product manufacture

How many products?

One-off production

  • Involves designing and making a single product for a specific purpose.
  • Usually expensive and involves highly skilled workers.

Batch production

  • Products are identical and made at the same time in either large or small numbers.
  • Manufactoring aids (jigs+formers) are commonly used so that each part can be repeated.

Mass production

  • Involves the product going through many stages of a production line.
  • Workers tend to specialise in a small range of tasks.

Continuous production

  • The production line never stops and there are very few workers.
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Product manufacture

Organising production

Just-in-time production

  • Each part of the product is planned to arrive on the production line just in time for its assembly.
  • Adv-less money is tied up in the storage of parts.
  • Disadv-late deliveries of goods, which stops the production line.

Electronic data interchange

  • Involves the transfer of structured data from one computer system to another without human intervention.
  • Adv-shorten the supply chain by speeding up the time given to initiate and agree customer orders.
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Product manufacture

Stock control

Managing stock

  • Stock control requires careful planning to ensure that the business has sufficient stock of the right quality available at the right time.
  • Stock out-if a company does not have the necessary stock to meet orders, this can lead to a loss of sales and a damaged reputation.

Product data management

  • The control of data in business process automation, allowing businesses to manage complex product development that can be shared across many organisations.
  • Adv-easier to manage business processes.
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The use of ICT in production

Computer aided design and manufacture


  • Computer-aided design can create, modify and communicate product ideas.
  • Computer-aided manufacture is used in various manufacturing processes to monitor and control production.
  • Adv-accuracy, repitition, reduced labour cost, saving of planning and development time

Rapid prototyping

  • Used to replicate injection-moulded components.
  • It allows complex forms to be tested for fit prioir to investing in costly mould-making.


  • Produces realistic models and working prototypes.
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The use of ICT in production

Automating large-scale production


  • Automation involves CNC, which reduces the need for human intervention and drives the use of robots or materials handling systems to carry out repetitive or dangerous tasks.
  • Adv-increased productivity, improved profitability and sustained quality.

Flexible manufacturing systems

  • Flexible manufacturing refers to the organising of production into 'cells' of machines performing different tasks.
  • An FMS allows saving in time and effort.
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Manufacturing processes

Shaping metals by casting

Sand casting

  • Hot metal is poured into the sand cast and the sand holds the metal in place.
  • Example products include manhole covers, metalwork vices and engine blocks.

Lost pattern casting

  • This technique is used to form more complex shapes. The pattern is made from polystyrene foam or wax. The hot metal is poured into the mould and burns away from the polystyrene foam, filling the space with molten metal.

Die casting

  • Used to manufacture large quantitiesof metal products.
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Manufacturing processes

Casting processes

Slip casting

  • Used to manufacture ceramic products.
  • Examples are teapots, fruit bowls, toilets and washbasins.

Casting food

  • Some foods can be cast into shape using temperature and setting agents.
  • At school you can make your own food moulds using a vacuum former and food-grade polystyrene or PET.
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Manufacturing processes

Moulding thermoplastics

Injection moulding

  • Involves the heating of plastic granules until soft. These are then injected under pressure into metal moulds, where the molten plastic hardens into the desired shape.
  • A large variety of everyday products are injection moulded, including toys, television casings and car dashboards.

Blow moulding

  • It is used to manufacture hollow plastic products such as drinks bottles and shampoo bottles.
  • To make production faster, several identical moulds may be blown at the same time.
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Manufacturing processes

Ways of forming materials

Vacuum forming

  • Used with thermoplastic (for example, for supermarket food packaging.)

Drape forming

  • Used when rolling pastry, making hats and forming glass.

Compression moulding

  • Used with thermosetting plastics.
  • Forging is the shaping of metal using compression forces.
  • Hand forging is done with hot metal.
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Manufacturing processes

Techniques for cutting materials


  • The cutting or slicing action of a knife blade as it cuts a material such as sheet metal.

Die cutting

  • Used in many industries to cut sheet materials, such as card, fabrics, soft plastics and leather.
  • Simple die cutting tools can be manufactured in school using MDF blocks to hold the blade in place.
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Manufacturing processes

Finishing in print


  • Works on the principle that oil and water do not mix.
  • During printing the plate is kept wet so that the ink is rejected by the wet areas and adheres to the image areas.

Screen printing

  • A wooden or aluminium frame is used, with a fine nylon mesh stretched over it. The ink is forced through using a rubber ***** called a squeegee.
  • Used on textiles, plastics, timber and metal.


  • Used for printing on plastic, foil, acetate film and brown paper.
  • Applications include paper and plastic bags, milk cartons, disposable cups and envelopes.
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Sources and properties of materials

Mechanical properties

  • Plasticity-the ability of a material to be permanently changed in shape (casting).
  • Elasticity-the ability of a material to bend and flex when a force is applied, and to return to its normal shape and size when those forces are removed.
  • Strength-the ability to withstand force without breaking or deforming.
  • Hardness-how resistant a material is to wear.
  • Toughness-describes a material's ability to absorb a sudden impact before breaking.
  • Durability-a material's resistance to wear and tear, and its resistance to corrosion and deterioration.
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