Industrial Design is a professional field developed with the emergence of Industrial Revolution and consequently the replacement of traditional artisanal production methods with machine production. The development of industrial design as a profession also coincides with mass production and consumption becoming the widespread and dominant economic model throughout the 20th Century. In this process, industrial designers emerged as people who are able to design products suitable to be produced in big quantities and more to the point reconciling the profit expectations of producers with the “value” expectations of users/consumers. Although the value received out of products is primarily linked with their utilitarian function, we know that it also points out to a symbolic value as products are also the carriers of identity elements that brands and people want to convey to the society at large. Brand identity, packaging and all other aspects influencing the user’s perception and usage processes constitute parts of user experience and therefore experience as a whole becomes the product.
This situation necessitates that future design professionals to be provided not only with knowledge of the field such as the principles of product design, methods and production methods but also with skills and understanding of human behavior and expectations, the historical and contemporary contexts of design. The advancement of technology in the first of half the 20th century which led to mass production and mass consumption currently enables limited number of products to be produced with minimum labor input and cost. New business models and digital technologies transform products into mediums connecting people with all sorts of services and therefore bring such issues as user interface and experience designs into the agenda of industrial design education.
As design educators, all these developments require us to keep ourselves and education programs updated…
As the Department of Industrial Design at Istanbul Bilgi University, we are aware of the fact that we are situated in Turkey, Istanbul, at an industrial heritage site which is very near to the ancient production and trade districts. We connect with the local context and the existing craft production districts and apply a special apprentice program to enable our students learn directly from the masters in their workshops. In addition to introducing our students to different types of design problems through the industrial design studio courses which form the backbone of design education, we also try to enlighten them about the contexts of design function. Being aware of the social and environmental problems caused by the dominant mass production and mass consumption cycles throughout the 20th century and also the 21st century, we involve sustainability, system and service design in our curriculum. Critical design approach is another approach that we involve to explore fictive contexts and future scenarios.
In sum, we continue our work at BİLGİ Industrial Design with the aim of contributing to the sustainability of life at local and global levels through our graduates who can reflect on their practice, who are active, entrepreneurial, equipped with creative problem-solving skills and can take initiatives on social issues.