The Major Design Project is divided into two equal parts. Module 2522, Designing and 2523 Making & Evaluating. The exam board states that each section is worth 90 marks and that each section should constitute 40 hours of solid work.

The marking criteria for the Designing section is split up into two areas. Section 1 is research and specification, section 2 is ideas, development and working drawings. Below I have listed these sections, shown how they are further sub-divided, indicated how many marks are available, and translated them into 'pupil-speak' for your convenience.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you set out your design folder to follow out the structure shown below. Don’t hand in a wodge of research and expect your teacher to be able to sift out which bit is the 'examination of existing products' and which bit the 'identification of design constraints'. Use the sub-sections as titles for your design sheets.

1. Recognition, Investigation and Synthesis of Design Opportunities

* Selection and rationale of suitable design opportunity; [6]

This is where you give the background to the project, explain in detail why it has been chosen and state what opportunities it will offer you to meet the marking criteria. You should also present a detailed design brief and list the key issues for investigation.
As an example, if your project was to design and make a temporary bed, you could say how the increased cost in housing has led to people living in smaller houses without the benefit of a spare bedroom and the need to make better use of the space available. The key issues for investigation would be to look at existing products, consult medical experts to determine what makes a good bed, look at anthropometric data for human body sizes etc.


* Production of time plan with adaptations; [3]

We will help you with this by producing a grid that will allow you to mark all the dates by which you intend to complete key stages of this section of your project; from initial investigation through to working drawings. When you hand it in initially for marking I will not be able to award full marks. When you hand it in at the end of the year there should be evidence that you have adapted it because of changing circumstances. For example, you might mark on your plan that you intend to interview someone in the first week of October. You might then find that that is not possible or that the person then recommends someone else that you have to add on to your plan.


* Identification of relevant sources of information; [3]

This is where you can expand upon the ‘key issues’ that you identified in the very first section. It can be useful to set this section out as a grid with the following headings at the top: ‘What do you need to find out’, ‘Where will you find it’ (include alternatives), ‘Is this a Primary source of information (information that you have gathered using your own initiative) or a Secondary source (information that someone else has found and then published in a book or on the web)’ and finally ‘What will be the value of the information’.


* Strengths and weaknesses in existing products; [6]

This should be fairly obvious - you did much of this sort of activity for your product study. Remember that your analysis might be objective - cost, weight etc. - or subjective - comfort, ease of use etc. This section should carry some form of conclusion, too. ‘As a result of this, I can see that...


* Identification of relevant design constraints; [9]

This is where you will earn the marks for all the other research that you do. There are a whole host of factors which will determine the final design of your product.
Environmental factors - Is your product necessary? Can it be made from sustainable materials? Will it use large quantities of energy in manufacture and use? What will happen to it at the end of its life?
Moral issues - Will the manufacture of your product impact negatively on others? Is it something that everyone might benefit from or only those who can afford it? Is your product necessary? Could your product be misused?
Social issues - Will your product have a negative impact upon those around you? Could it cause offence to other cultures? Would it exclude people with disabilities or people on low income? would it alienate the elderly?
User and manufacturer needs - What exactly are the needs for the user? (You can structure this as a list of priorities; it must.., it should... etc.) This is information that you can only obtain by speaking to potential clients. Make sure that you don’t simply ask your mates in the sixth form common room! This is where you can include relevant information on ergonomics and anthropometrics. What are the needs of the manufacturer likely to be? Does this conflict with the needs of the user in any way?
Cost factors - What are likely to be the significant costs in making your product? Does this match the costs that your intended user is prepared to pay?
Market opportunities - You might be targeting your product at a particular market, for example, the temporary bed (suggested above) might be for families who occasionally require an extra bed. But the same product, with a few alterations, might be suitable for students wanting to make better use of the space in their rooms, people who enjoy camping and want a more comfortable bed or even for emergency organisations such as the Red Cross. Alternatively, this might be a product which catches on and generates a range of alternative products that people will want to buy.

All of the above factors need to be considered. The mark that you get will be determined by how thoroughly you consider each factor and how useful the information is that you provide.


* Production of a design specification; [6]

I think you’ve done one of these often enough to not require further explanation. A list of possible criteria is available by clicking here. Remember that the criteria should be quantative if possible. ‘Must be able to fit into a space 150mm x 350mm x 800mm’ etc.


2. Generation, Modelling and Development of Ideas

* Innovative ideas to a final, justified proposal; [18]

There are a lot of marks available for this and there are a number of things you need to do to earn them!
A wide range of appropriate, innovative ideas is vital. These should be modified and developed as far as possible using simple 2D or 3D models (marks for which are available in the next section). You should be annotating these ideas referring to their ability to perform the function required, their ergonomic suitability, aesthetics, possible materials and manufacturing methods. That does not mean swamp every sketch with a detailed essay on whether it meets the specification, but equally avoid comments like, ‘I like this design it looks nice’.
By the end of this section your range of ideas will be condensed into a final solution which you can confidently say meets all the main key criteria that you established in your specification.

* Production of ideas and models; [9]

I strongly suggest that this is something you do in conjunction with the above section. This is very much the Dyson way of doing things, combining sketches with quick prototypes made from cardboard (or whatever suits your needs). The models need to be photographed and it is this evidence that should go in your folder, not the models themselves. ProDesktop can be a good way of visualising ideas because you can explore the aesthetics and even see how components might move relative to each other.

* Evaluation and reasons for choice; [6]

Use your specification as a check-list for evaluating each of your ideas/models. It would be a good idea if the check-list was weighted in some way; the functional requirements are likely to be the most important so these need to have more of an influence over your final choice. Obviously, your final solution should be the one that provides the best match and you should include a brief conclusion saying ‘I have chosen this idea because..


* Additional research; [3]

Once you have produced your final idea, it is likely that you will need to conduct further research to further develop your ideas. This might include, as appropriate;

  • available materials,
  • types and properties of materials appropriate to specific needs,
  • suitable components,
  • costings,
  • ergonomics,
  • manufacturing processes.

If your final solution for a temporary bed included a series of individually sprung slats, you would need to conduct research into different types and availability of springs. You might also want to look into the most suitable material to make the slats from. It would be unrealistic to expect you to have found out either of these bits of information in your initial research, but this is vital data now.

* Influence of relevant design constraints; [6]

Sometimes with this exam board, you can feel like you are going over the same things again and again. This section is a good example of that. Look back through your section on ‘Identification of relevant design constraints’ (see above). Now look at your final solution and for each of the factors, state how your design stacks up.


* Production of CAD drawings; [9]

If you have been using ProDesktop to generate scale models of the components used in your design, this is where you can afford to be very smug indeed. ProDesktop allows you to generate proper working (orthographic) drawings to a high quality with just a few clicks. These drawings should be to a quality such that a manufacturer would be able to understand them with no further explanation. Your only alternative to ProDesktop is to draw each component using 2D Design. Pencils, set squares and a drawing board = 0 marks.

* Production of design folio; [6]

You do not get marks for making your design folder look nice. I repeat, no marks for using coloured card, fancy borders, arty-farty page titles. You do get credit for presenting a fluent, informative design folio in which you have demonstrated different graphical communication techniques and the ability to use ICT where appropriate.

And that concludes 2522: Designing. 90 marks available for approximately 40 pages.

What your design folio should not contain...
Material simply pulled of the internet, CD-ROMs, photocopies of textbook materials or similar, pamphlets, brochures, etc. in their entirety.
Word-for-word records of any interviews
Copies of completed questionnaires