DEVELOPING DESIGN BRIEFS
This section is devoted to helping students develop and
work through a design brief for a project either at AS level or at A2 level.
We have not attempted to differentiate between contexts at AS and A2 in
the belief that teachers are best placed to advise students on the suitability
of their ideas for different levels.
Generic design contexts.
The first stage of developing a design brief is to
use generic design contexts. These are intended to
be starting points from which students can brainstorm
ideas about appropriate design briefs.
Generic contexts are listed separately to enable
you to give these out to students to help them generate
their own ideas before moving
on to something more specific. Students can work
as a group to generate ideas.(see Generic
You will find images in the website to help students
when they are brainstorming possible design briefs.
The images relate to each of the generic contexts,
where appropriate. They are for use
at teachers’ discretion. For example some have found cartoons
helpful, others not. They are included in the belief
that some students may be stimulated to think of
their own design briefs after looking
at them rather than having to rely on partners’ specific briefs(Useful
The European images may seem negative. They show examples of how we
use the planet in an unsustainable way at the moment. Teachers may wish
to balance this with more positive images. These are included throughout
the sections on ‘Reduce,
Re-use, Recycle’(link), and in ‘Current
You may wish to include some work on creativity when
students are thinking of design ideas. Activities
to encourage creative thinking are found in the Creativity
Specific design briefs.
The more creative and innovative students may well
be able to develop ideas from generic contexts. Some,
however, may still find it difficult. A series of
specific design briefs has therefore
been provided, each relating to the generic context.
The specific design briefs are supported by back-up
information, provided on the website
but not in this pack.(specific design
Clients and stakeholders.
For most of the overseas design briefs there is a specific
client. However, both time and cost mean it would be impossible to
contact the ‘real’ client every time a student needed information.
However, other people, who we refer to as stakeholders, are usually
able to answer the questions that arise e.g. on the materials available
abroad, the skills and machinery available etc.
For the UK briefs we have often not included specific clients, believing
that students should be able to find their own. However, again there
are stakeholders who will be able to provide students with much of their
required information because of their general expertise. Thus Loughborough
University and the Centre for Alternative Technology have a wide range
of expertise on many issues of sustainable design. They will be a student’s
first point of contact.
We also offer some advice on how students might find
clients for themselves. This can be found in the Clients
Once students are under way with their research, they
will find the assessment criteria useful as a checklist
to ensure they are considering sustainability issues
throughout their work. Details
of the criteria and suggestions on how to use them
are included in the Assessment
section. An example of a completed assessment
of a pilot student’s work is also given.