Product Design and Technology Units 3 and 4


In this subject you will design for others i.e. you design and make a product for end-users. The major project (SAT) is worth 50% of the final assessment; it starts in Unit 3 and continues in Unit 4. It consists of a folio of design and developmental work and a product.

Other theory tasks about design, industry, products and sustainability contribute 20% to the final score. A final examination contributes 30%.

Who is it for?

This subject is for students who not only like to create but who like the discipline of design. You learn to solve design problems, a skill that can be applied throughout your life.

What do you do?

You will:

  • develop drawings and ideas from research
  • make the product you design
  • decide on end-user/s to solve a personal, local or global design problem and follow the Product Design process. This includes presenting information and ideas visually, putting forward multiple ideas, developing the best idea, planning its construction and producing a finished product.
  • learn about design in industry and research specific companies
  • consider sustainability in product design.

What skills do you need?

Thinking is a great skill for design. The willingness to research widely, try things, look for help and use critical and creative thinking to propose creative solutions to a problem are all necessary skills.

Drawing is extremely helpful but can always be improved on. Practical skills for construction are necessary but can also be developed.

What skills do you develop?

You will develop skills in following processes – particularly the Product Design process – to solve problems, as well as learning to “think outside the square” and to question everything. E.g. Why has something always been done this way? What if …? What are the problems with …? What are the benefits of … ?
Others skills include planning and time management, critical and creative thinking, designing by using sketches or digital tools, the ability to choose appropriate materials, processes and tools and use them safely, and file management and general organisational skills.




This is an online course. Students access the content and submit work online on a weekly basis.

Students are expected to purchase their own materials. Photographs of work need to be taken as evidence, so a digital camera or mobile device is required.

Students working in:

  • wood, plastics or metal – need access to a fully equipped workshop with all safety equipment and a supervisor who has completed DET safety requirements (essential)
  • textiles – need access to sewing machines in either the classroom or at home.

A textbook can be purchased (optional) – Nelson Product Design and Technology VCE Units 1-4 4th Edition by Jacinta O’Leary and Jill Livett

Things to think about

Self-motivation is helpful here as it’s not a matter of right or wrong answers. Students need to be comfortable with a blank page, where they create their own project according to the requirements. Asking for help along the way is vital.

Things you can do now

Practise drawing with bold outlines and colour. Learn the language of the design elements and the design principles to explain your drawings and ideas.

Read about designers or design traditions.

Depending on the material category you will be working in – wood, metal, plastics or textiles – you can research and practise further skills. Make something over the holidays. Try something you haven’t done before.

There are many instructional videos and websites on the internet. Below are just two examples:

Learn about the Product Design Process and the Product Design Factors on pages 9-11 from the 2018-2022 Study Design.

Go to the VCAA website for more information about this subject.





Things to have a look at

Idea sketches

Idea sketches exploring design elements and principles by Daniel Roberts

Working drawing

Working drawing for a skateboard by Daniel Roberts


Journal of construction processes by Sophie Allen