Designers deal in ideas. They give shape to ideas that shape our world, enrich everyday experiences, and improve our lives. Where there’s confusion, designers fashion clarity; where there’s chaos, designers construct order; where there’s entropy, designers promote vitality; where there’s indifference, designers swell passion; where there’s mediocrity, designers imbue excellence; and where there’s silence, designers lend voice.
Design at Cranleigh offers students the opportunity to build a set of skills and way of thinking that transcends our subject. The problem-solving and lateral-thinking techniques developed through Design empower students to make decisions and well-conceived solutions in their wider lives, within both education and their later professional worlds. The design process involves channelling creativity, ingenuity and originality into a multi-staged system of development, which culminates in an elegant and sophisticated solution to a problem or need.
The Design Department is a well-resourced facility housed within the Rhodes Faculty of Art and Design. The Department has three design studios equipped with Apple Mac and PC suites, three fully equipped workshops (including our CAD/CAM and prototyping suite comprising an industrial standard Rapid Prototype machine, laser cutter, vinyl cutter and CNC router), the department foyer and main office area. The department is wirelessly connected and is linked through to the Art School.
In addition to providing academic courses the department also runs a range of activities that include Media club (film and video), design activity slots to allow students in to further their work for exam submission and other design related opportunities that we feel will benefit Cranleighans. Participation in national design and technology-based competitions is encouraged and Cranleighans have participated in Design Ventura with the Design Museum, Young Engineers (SATRO) and the Toyota Design challenge.
The Design Department offers AQA Design Technology: Product Design at both GCSE and A Level.
The fundamental aims of these specifications are to assess a student’s design and engineering capability and to reward imagination, creativity, innovation and flair. We welcome any student, whether they’ve previously experienced design and technology or simply shown an interest and passion for the subject. It should be noted that the courses are quite demanding of a student’s time.
This subject is valuable for a career in any sphere of Product or Industrial Design, Engineering, Architecture, Graphics, Fashion, Media or Marketing. It is also a good supporting A Level for degree courses in any of the Pure or Applied Sciences. In 2014, more than 70% of our Design A level students went on to study design-related degree courses.
This course is referred to in Department as the foundation year. Students take part in competitions including the Design Venturer contest and work on short and exciting projects, aimed at developing interest and an inquiring mind in our youngest cohort. Students are introduced to the design process, working with new materials, techniques and processes. Some projects are undertaken as teams, with individuals given specific roles, culminating in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch on completion. Other projects require students to work alone, in a focused manner, to solve design problems.
The GCSE course encourages students to think laterally as well as develop their own personal sense of style through drawing, 3D rendering, ICT, design history and manufacturing. An understanding of materials and processes is delivered through theory teaching as well as an awareness of contemporary designers and their work. Students need to be creative and original in their work and are rewarded for the aesthetic form, as well as the technical success and sophistication, of their products. Throughout the course students build up a foundation of practical skills alongside an understanding of materials and processes. In their second year they submit a major piece of practical coursework worth 60% of the final mark and take a theory exam worth 40%.
The Product Design A Level requires students to study materials and processes as well as develop a portfolio and practical project, in both the LVI (AS level) and UVI (A2). The marks are split 50/50 between theory and practical work. The course aims to instil a thorough understanding of the role of the designer and the techniques and skills required to conceptualise and realise elegant design solutions for the 21st century. Students use: hand drawing; research; photography; 3D rendering; and model making, including 3D printing, to develop an idea. They then perform market research and peer-group questioning to advance their initial ideas before moving on to the manufacture of a full prototype. In the LVI the brief is set by the Department, but in the UVI students have free reign to investigate any field of interest. It is a demanding, but ultimately rewarding, course which provides an excellent preparation for further education.