B.F.A. in Product Design

  • Product Design Students
  • product design student setting up in a critique space
  • Product Design Student

The Richmond Institute for Design + Innovation exists to advance pioneering, positive, and productive design solutions to real-world problems by partnering learners with professionals in support of the creative economy in southwest Michigan and beyond. Through immersive coursework at the intersection of art, design, engineering and entrepreneurship, the Product Design program aims to prepare the next generation of industrial design innovators. Join us to shape how humans interact with technology and collaborate with international corporations in the industry to develop creative solutions for real-world problems and create the future of design.

The product design program was created with the mission of meeting current and future manufacturing needs in southwest Michigan and beyond. Through coursework in the Frostic School of Art, the Haworth College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, in addition to cooperative educational components which place students within industry settings, product design graduates will be uniquely equipped to create the future of design. The first cohort of students began coursework in the fall of 2017.

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The freshly renovated 28,000 square foot industrial design facilities accommodate all manner of contemporary and traditional processes while remaining committed to providing a healthy, non-toxic working environment.  The Product Design program equips Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students with a personal workspace that includes adjustable height desks and Mac Pro computers.

Richmond Institute for Design and Innovation

WHAT IS PRODUCT DESIGN?

Product Design can be understood as a career path within the larger discipline of industrial design. The Product Design program at WMU brings together entrepreneurship, engineering, and fine arts coursework to train future generations of product designers interested in innovating specific products and global systems.

WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL DESIGN?

According to the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), industrial design strives to elevate both the function and aesthetics of all things made, from automobiles and medical instruments to household appliances and office furniture. Take a look at the IDSA website for more information on the profession. 

WHY IS THE PD+I PROGRAM BEING CREATED?

With international companies like WhirlpoolTeknaNewell BrandsStrykerFabri-KalLandscape Forms and Eaton here in our backyard, it only makes sense for WMU to have a program like this. These leading manufacturing and design companies are in constant need of talent to advance their products through creativity and innovation. The world-class programming in our engineering, business, and fine arts areas render WMU uniquely equipped to provide cutting-edge training and produce the type of innovators these companies seek.

WHAT WILL THIS PROGRAM LOOK LIKE FOR ME AS A STUDENT?

The first year of PD+I will have you focusing largely on developing, if not refining, your aesthetic sensibilities by having you take a foundation sequence in the School of Art. This sequence will lay the groundwork for drawing, history, and ideation skills vital to your success in the profession. We know this because we consulted with top designers at local leading corporations in the field in the process of creating this program. You will also begin both your engineering coursework and your PD+I coursework in this first year. Because of our two-tiered admissions process, once you are accepted into both the program and the university, you have earned the privilege of starting your major courses in your second semester here. Unlike similar programs across the country, there is no waiting until your sophomore year.

The second-year immediately builds on your foundational experiences in engineering and fine arts and elevates expectations by moving you into areas of study such as ergonomics, manufacturing processes and materials, entrepreneurial studies, and hopefully the first internship of your time in the PD+I program during the summer following year two.

Year three continues to bolster your entrepreneurial studies, enhance your understanding of art and design history, and augment your work within areas such as sculpture or painting or metals-jewelry fabrication. The need for product designers with a solid grounding in related art forms has been a consistent request of our corporate partners as we have gone about developing the program.

The final year of the program is structured to prepare you for the transition out of your studies in PD+I and into your first job out of the program.

Product design sophomore studio workstation with sketches and prototypes on table.

HOW DO I APPLY?

To be a part of the PD+I program’s next cohort of students and create the future of design, you must first apply to Western Michigan University and then submit a portfolio and apply directly to PD+I.

APPLY NOW

CURRICULUM: BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS IN PRODUCT Design

Basic Studies Requirement12 credits 

  • ART 1040 Object Drawing (3 credits)
  • ART 1050 Drawing Studio (3 credits)
  • ART 1070 Form and Surface (3 credits)
  • ART 1080 Form and Space (3 credits)

Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement3 credits 

  • ART 3250 - Writing About Art (3 credits)

Art History Requirement12 credits

  • ART 2200 History of Art (3 credits) OR ART 2210 History of Art (3 credits)
  • ART 2220 Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (3 credits) OR ART 2230 Introduction to Asian Art History (3 credits)

And

  • 3000-4000 level Art History Topic Course (3 credits)
  • 3000-4000 level Art History Topic Course (3 credits)

Product Design Sequence37 credits

  • ART 1600 Design Seminar (1 credit - repeatable for credit, minimum of 4 hours required)
  • ART 1610 Drawing for Design (3 credits)
  • ART 1650 Product Design I (3 credits)
  • ART 2650 Product Design II (3 credits)
  • ART 2660 Materials and Processes (3 credits)
  • ART 3620 Product Design III (3 credits)
  • ART 3680 Special Topics in Design (3 credits)
  • ART 4640 Design Internship (3 credits)
  • ART 4650 Product Design IV (3 credits)
  • ART 4670 Thesis Project (3 credits)
  • ART 4980 Product Design V (3 credits)
  • IEE 3420 Ergonomics and Design (3 credits)

 Art Studio Electives12 credits 

  • Art Elective course in sculpture, metals/jewelry, or ceramics (3 credits)
  • Art Elective course in sculpture, metals/jewelry, or ceramics (3 credits)
  • Art Elective course in any art discipline (3 credits)
  • Art Elective course in any art discipline (3 credits)

 Supporting Engineering Requirement7 credits

  • EDMM 1420 Engineering Graphics (3 credits)
  • EDMM 1500 Introduction to Manufacturing (3 credits)
  • EDMM 1501 Processes and Materials in Manufacturing Laboratory (1 credit)

Entrepreneurial Studies Requirement15 credits

  • Entrepreneurial Elective (3 credits)
  • Entrepreneurial Elective (3 credits)
  • MGMT 2140 Exploring Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • FIN 2420 Entrepreneurial Finance (3 credits)
  • IEE 3010 Entrepreneurial Engineering II: Product and Service Design (3 credits)

SUMMARY OF BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS IN PRODUCT DESIGN

  • Product Design Core Courses: 37 credits
  • Supportive Courses—Art and Design: 27 credits
  • Supportive Courses—Engineering: 7 credits
  • Art History: 12 credits
  • Entrepreneurial Studies: 15 credits
  • General Education: 27 credits
  • Total credit hours: 125 

Students should consult the WMU catalog for the product design program course descriptions and requirements.

course descriptions

APPLICATION DEADLINES 

Prospective students interested in majoring in product design must submit their application and portfolio no later than February 10. You must submit your application and portfolio prior to attending an Interview Day on-campus. 

Interview Days, On Campus: 
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
 

FACULTY

STAFF

FACILITIES

The freshly renovated 28,000 square foot industrial design facilities accommodate all manner of contemporary and traditional processes while remaining committed to providing a healthy, non-toxic working environment.  

STUDENT PORTFOLIOS

Danialle Baumgardner

https://www.behance.net/daniallemb8340

Scott Bridges

https://www.behance.net/Scottwbrid30a7

Madison Dempster

https://www.behance.net/madisondempster

Alexa Dyer

https://www.behance.net/alexadyerportfolio

Jake Faculak

https://www.behance.net/Jacobjfacu64b5

Sarah Hansen

https://www.behance.net/sarahjhanscabd

Lane Kempf

https://www.behance.net/mfs63869dd4

Nick Koch

https://www.behance.net/nzw6551bd65

David Bulley

https://www.behance.net/ciwsbulley3d08

Race Natta

https://www.behance.net/Raceperson5f82

Robert Snell

https://www.behance.net/bobbysnellc2d4

Kylie Stroub

https://www.behance.net/kyliemstro5749

Cole Troia

https://www.behance.net/coletroia

Emily Tuskan

https://www.behance.net/etuskan12447c7

Lucas Zuleta-Acosta

https://www.behance.net/lucaszule96a27

Carl Anderson

https://www.behance.net/carlfanderson

Krista Bartholomy

https://www.behance.net/kristabarthol

Sylvan Benton

https://www.behance.net/krogers494ba42

Kendra Blossfeld

https://www.behance.net/kendrablossfeld

Maria Catenacci

https://www.behance.net/mariacatenacci

Kendall Collins

https://www.behance.net/kendallcol42a0

Bridget Dahlinghaus

https://www.behance.net/bridgetdahae00

Maxine Grippo

https://www.behance.net/mmgrippo566a

Ava Hansen

https://www.behance.net/avaihansen748d

Yan Hernandez

https://www.behance.net/yanhernand4f3a

Callie Shensky

https://www.behance.net/callieshensky

Kyle Shields

https://www.behance.net/kyledshields

Ben Sommers

https://www.behance.net/bensommers

Dominick Wainwright

https://www.behance.net/dominickjw8249