Designing Home Decor Products for Umbra, within the International Collaboration format as an Academic Experience for Undergraduate Students
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Mar, Alejandra
Institution: Universidad EAFIT, Medell
Product Design Engineering at Universidad EAFIT offers a special undergraduate course that allows students to have their curriculum in a flexible way. The main goal is to design home decor products for a world leading company: Umbra. This paper presents a case description of a university-industry collaboration (taking into account previews experiences with other local industries) in which outlines the course’s methodology based on Umbra’s design contest: to explore fresh and original designs, within the international format collaborations.umbra.com. It describes the company’s briefing, the design process and the feedback from the company. One of the biggest motivations is that students have the opportunity to design for an international company and have the possibility that their products could be chosen to be produce by Umbra. Among the skills students develop are the ability to read the company’s language to understand its brand identity, as well as to increase the application of design tools such as mood boards , emotional design , the use of semantic adjectives  and the use of the formal referent as an inspiring element. The new product must fulfil three requirements: original, practical and keep brand identity, in order to fit Umbra’s brief. The most relevant aspect of the course is the professional training students receive in refining the product’s form and aesthetics –to adjust the design to the consumer preferences- and how the methodology course enhances student skills, such as creativity and sensibility, in order to get prepare for their out coming mandatory industrial semester.