AQA Product Design (4555)

Quick revise
Here is the AQA Exam Specification for GCSE Design and Technology Product Design (4555) which is divided into three main sections:
Click on the relevant links to access related revision materials.
Materials and Components:
Students should have a knowledge and understanding of the processes and techniques which aid manufacture and of the commercial and industrial applications of a range of materials involved in manufacturing their products in quantity. It will be important therefore that students can utilise a variety of suitable materials and components.
Classifications and Working Properties:
Students should study as a minimum Paper and Card and one other material listed below.
Timber based materials
Click here
Ferrous and Non Ferrous Metals
Coming Soon
Coming Soon
Electronic and Control Components
Coming Soon
Manipulating and Combining Materials
New Materials
Coming Soon
Design and Market Influences:
Students should develop an understanding of the broad perspectives of the designed world. This will include the appreciation of line, shape, form, proportion, colour, movement and texture within a critical awareness of aesthetics and ergonomics. 
Evolution of Product Design
Students should:
  • Identify ways in which products evolve over time because of developments in ideas, materials, manufacturing processes and technologies as well as because of social, political, cultural and environmental changes;
  • Have a basic knowledge and understanding of major design movements since 1900 e.g. Arts & Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus, Modernism, De Stijl, Memphis, Post Modernism;
  • Recognise that design movements and cultural influences are still influencing new product development;
  • Have a knowledge and understanding that manufacturing industries are involved in continuous improvement (CI) and this is a major influence in product evolution;
  • Have a knowledge and understanding that sometimes new products are developed because of marketing pull and sometimes because of technological push. 
Product Development
Students should:
  • respond creatively to briefs, developing their own proposals and producing specifications for products and associated services
  • discuss and analyse the situation/problem;
  • know how to gather and respond to research, evaluate and select information and data to support the design and manufacture of products;
  • consider the factors involved in the design of a product which is to be produced/manufactured in quantity;
  • consider a wide range of users and create designs which are inclusive;
  • determine the degree of accuracy required for the product to function as planned, taking account of critical dimensions and tolerances in determining methods of manufacture;
  • understand how graphic techniques, ICT equipment and software, particularly CAD, can be used in a variety of ways to model aspects of design proposals and assist in making decisions;
  • have a knowledge and understanding that design ideas are protected in law through copyright, patents and registered designs.
Communication and Representation
Students should:
  • use a range of graphical techniques such as annotated sketches, formal drawing conventions, CAD to communicate design details in a clear and appropriate manner;
  • develop a range of presentation techniques and media to portray materials, texture or finish such as mood boards, presentation drawings, digital photography, CAD;
  • use line, tone, colour rendering using a range of media;
  • use formal page layout techniques as an aid to planning and presenting drawings and information;
  • use a range of prototyping and modelling methods in order to explore design alternatives during the design process as well as a means of communicating proposals which can be used for evaluation purposes;
  • use a range of ICT equipment and software to communicate, model, develop and present ideas.
Design Methodology
Students should:
  • understand that designing is not a linear exercise but is iterative. The traditional design cycle is just one of many methods for successful designing;
  • understand that empirical problem solving, a systems approach and intuitive designing are all valid approaches to designing;
  • experience a variety of design approaches.
  • Be able to use the following as starting points for designing and making:
    • natural form, pattern and structure
    • geometry and mathematics
    • the work of well known artists, designers, craftsmen and technologists
    • detailed product analysis
    • religious and cultural influences.
Students should:
  • have a knowledge and understanding of a variety of materials and processes used to package products and to be able to balance the likely impact upon the environment in terms of social responsibility and sustainability;
  • understand the different basic functions of packaging such as protect, inform, contain, transport, preserve and display;
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the need for product labelling and the common symbols used to indicated hazards, storage and handling, maintenance, disposal and design protection.
Product Marketing
Students should:
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the power of branding and advertising and the effect that they have upon different consumer groups;
  • be able to promote their own products using a variety of techniques, e.g. leaflets, flyers, point of sale, packaging and digital media.
Human Factors
Students should understand:
  • that for products to be effective, designers, manufacturers and craftsmen need to take account of a wide range of human factors in an attempt to produce inclusive rather than
    exclusive designs i.e. access, cultural values;
  • that anthropometrics and ergonomic considerations affect many design decisions;
  • that design decisions for large scale manufacturing often aim to cover the needs of the 5th–95th percentile;
  • the effect of colour used in product design to reinforce messages such as "danger" or to help to produce moods such as "warmth";
  • social, economic and ethnic groups of people often have specific values and needs which can be an aid to focused designing, i.e. disabled, elderly, religious groups;
  • that efficient manufacturing systems result from the layout of materials, equipment and controls, such as working triangles in the kitchen, production lines, assembly lines.
Students should understand:
  • the relevance of safety with regard to themselves, the manufacturer and the product user;
  • that designers and manufacturers have both a moral and legal responsibility for the products that they create;
  • how to undertake simple tests to ensure that the products they make are safe for the specific user group they are designed for;
  • the importance of risk assessment at all stages of designing and making.
Students should:
  • ensure that their products are of a suitable quality for their intended user;
  • understand that many judgements regarding quality are subjective and will be dependent upon various criteria e.g. cost, availability of resources and other social factors;
  • have a knowledge and understanding of commercial methods which are used to improve quality assurance e.g. quality circles, team working, BS EN ISO 9000;
  • be able to devise and apply test procedures to check the quality of their work at critical points during development and manufacture, and to indicate ways of improving it.
Ethical and Environmental Issues
Students should:
  • take into consideration the ethical , environmental and sustainability issues relating to the design and manufacture of products i.e. fair trade, product miles, carbon footprint, product disposal, and the following related principles: re-use, recycle, repair, reduce, rethink, refuse, etc.
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the main factors governing environmentally friendly products, or "Green Designs" and be able to identify a range of these;
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the main factors relating to recycling and/or reusing materials or products i.e. material identification, material separation, collection, processing, energy costs, subsequent usage, wastage.
Consumer Issues
Students should:
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the work of consumer groups and pressure groups and the way products are evaluated – e.g. Which? reports;
  • have a knowledge and understanding of the work of standards agencies (BSI, ISO etc) and how these standards affect product design and manufacture and  subsequent testing;
  • have a knowledge and understanding that a wide range of legislation exists to protect consumers and that designers and manufacturers need to conform to it.
Processes and Manufacture
Product Manufacture
Students should learn:
  • how a range of materials are cut, shaped and formed to designated tolerances;
  • the difference between quality control and quality assurance techniques;
  • to produce detailed working schedules, e.g. flow charts, production plans, identifying critical points, i.e. QA and QC, in the making process and providing solutions to possible
  • to evaluate the quality of their personal project work and to devise modifications that will improve their products.
Methods of Production
Students should:
  • understand that products are manufactured to different scales of production i.e. one-offs, batch, mass, continuous, just in time (JIT);
  • design and make for one-off, batch and mass production;
  • work as part of a team on the batch production of products and/or components;
  • work as part of a team and experience different functions within simple batch production systems;
  • use a range of procedures including CAD/CAM, where appropriate, to ensure consistency in the production of their products;
  • use both hand and machine methods of cutting and shaping materials appropriate to the scale of production.
Manufacturing Systems
Pupils should understand that commercial manufacturing is a system, or group of sub-systems which requires:
  • special buildings or places of work;
  • the organisation of people;
  • the organisation of tools and equipment;
  • risk assessment and compliance with health and safety regulations;
  • the organisation of materials;
  • information systems to help people communicate with each other reliably;
  • ways of changing the shape and form of materials to increase their usefulness;
  • ways of using tools and equipment to transform the materials into products;
  • the design and production of many products in a systematic way;
  • quality assurance procedures and quality checks to be made;
  • efficient working methods;
    ways of safely taking care of the unwanted;
  • outputs of manufacturing i.e. disposing or recycling of waste materials, and ways of looking after the environment.
Use of ICT
Students should:
  • understand how ICT facilitates a wide range of manufacturing functions, e.g. just in time (JIT), video conferencing, software sharing, stock control, data transfer and remote
  • have an understanding of the application of CNC (Computer Numeric Control) in modern manufacturing as appropriate to a specific material area;
  • understand how computer-aided manufacture (CAM) is used both in manufacturing in quantity and in the production of single items and small batches;
  • understand how CAD/CAM allows for higher levels of accuracy, repeatability and efficiency.