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 Design Contexts)

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 images).

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 inspirational work’(link).

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 section..

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 briefs)

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.

Finding clients.
We also offer some advice on how students might find clients for themselves. This can be found in the Clients section

Assessment criteria.
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.

Design Contexts
Developing design briefs
Images to stimulate students’ thinking (images still to come)
Advice on finding clients
Generic design contexts
Advice on specific design briefs
CAT specific design briefs
Loughborough University specific design briefs
ITDG specific design briefs
CAT support information
Loughborough University support information
ITDG support information