Material Driven Design


Admission requirements

52,5 hp inom huuvdområdet Produktdesign varav samtliga 30 hp från kursen Produktdesign: Designmetodik, eller

60 hp inom området design.


Syllabus for students spring 2022, spring 2021, spring 2020, spring 2019

Course Code:
PD179A revision 1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of ratification:
24 January 2018
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
21 January 2019

Entry requirements

52,5 hp inom huuvdområdet Produktdesign varav samtliga 30 hp från kursen Produktdesign: Designmetodik, eller

60 hp inom området design.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

This course is a part of the B.A. programme Product Design’s second year


Material Driven Design (MDD) is a creative and explorative design method that facilitate design processes in which materials are the main driver. By working with an explorative approach, the student understands the material in depth e.g. experiential qualities, technical properties and the material’s purpose within a situational whole. In the course the MDD-method will be used for working with semi-developed or exploratory materials, designing new materials from e.g. waste streams or renewable and organic raw materials. During the course, the student is expected to develop an in-depth understanding of technical properties and experiential qualities of materials as well as manufacturing techniques, from a design perspective. The student is expected to demonstrate the ability to present a well-argued selection of material and manufacturing techniques based on the underlying reasons of the users’ material experiences. The course is based on a group project with materials as the point of departure in the design process.


Material Driven Design: theory, method and project

Learning outcomes

After completing the course students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. conduct a line of reasoning about the relevance of a material’s sensorial qualities, technical properties and manufacturing techniques, and thereby show the ability to reflect on the complexity of material exploration and selection processes in design projects
  2. explain how material properties are affected by different manufacturing methods
  3. explore and analyse the sensorial characteristics of a material through user studies
  4. explore and analyse technical properties of a material by performing a tinkering process with the material
  5. qualify a material for what it is and for what it does; what it expresses to us, what it elicits from us, and what it makes us do, and to perform a critical reflection on the materials expected environmental effects

Learning activities

Instruction consists of lectures, a workshop, guided tinkering sessions, design criticism, supervision and self-study. It is considered important that the student takes active part in teacher directed learning and actively contributes to student lead course activities. In the course, the student practices to reflect on one’s own process i.e. reflective practice.


Material driven design: Theory and method (4,5 hp). Assessed by design documentation in groups, and active participation in critique sessions (expected learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3) Material driven design: Project (3hp). Assessed by design documentation in groups, active participation in critique sessions, and active participation in a final presentation (expected learning outcomes 4 and 5).

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

  • Elvin Karana, Materials Experience: Contemporary Issues In Materials and Product Design, Butterworth Heinemann, 2013, ISBN: 9780080993591
  • Karana, Barati, Rognoli & van der Laan, Material driven design (MDD): A method to design for material experiences, International Journal of Design, 2015, 9, 2, 35-54
Other recommended literature:
  • Michael F.Ashby, Kara Johnson, Materials and Design, Butterworth Heinemann, 2009, ISBN: 9781856174978
  • Rob Thompson, Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2007, ISBN: 9780500513750
  • Rob Thompson, Martin Thompson, Manufacturing Processes for Textile and Fashion Design Professionals, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2014, ISBN 9780500517413

Course evaluation

he University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course is no longer offered or has undergone major changes, students will be offered two re-take sessions based on the syllabus in force at registration during a period of one year from the date of the implementation of the changes.

Other Information

Undervisningsspråk: engelska


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Studentservice, K3 - Malmö universitet,


18 January 2021 - 28 March 2021 Day-time 50% Malmö This course is offered as part of a program

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 23000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 23000 SEK

17 January 2022 - 27 March 2022 Day-time 50% Malmö This course is offered as part of a program