Student projects
When you are asked to undertake a ‘client-based’ project in as part of your design and technology education it normally means undertaking a project, which is targeted at people who are not ‘you’. Designing for yourself is a good way of getting started, but ultimately you must learn to design for others’ needs and requirements. That is part of learning to be a designer.

All the people with an interest in the design are sometimes known as stakeholders. Stakeholders include manufacturers, distributors, retailers, users, market researchers, dismantlers - anyone who has a role within the life-cycle of the product.

In order to begin to work out who might act as a client for your project, try answering the following questions.

• How would your design be made if it was to be produced commercially or in quantity?
• How would your design be distributed to the markets where it is sold? Or given away?
• Who would be the retailers? Or the people who would be the direct interface between the public and your product?
• Who would use your product?
• Are there any organisations that understand and research the market or use for the kind of product you are designing?
• What happens to the product at the end of its useful life? Who has to deal with it when it is no longer useful?

You should discuss with your teacher who you are expected to get feedback on your project from for the Awarding Body assessing your AS/A2 project, but generally it is understood that for student project work, people from any stage of the product life-cycle can act as clients. If you are getting feedback on your design, then you should get feedback from as many stakeholders as possible.

Clients for professional designers
The term ‘client’ is borrowed from the professional practice of design. Professional designers work for clients, who pay them for their work.

Clients, in the professional sense, fulfil a role between the designers and the users, understanding and interpreting the users’ needs and requirements. In the modern world clients will use market researchers and might, for example, be major retail or distribution organisations.

Clients for sustainable design
However for sustainable design, it is important to remember that there are other important stakeholders in design, which are future generations. Sustainable design is about meeting the needs of existing people without compromising the capability of future generations to meet their needs.

In relation to the Sustainable Design Awards (SDA), it might be initially most useful to refer to the ‘Problem Originator ’ (eg CAT. ITDG or LU), but also remember that there are other stakeholders from whom you could get feedback. It would be good practice to get feedback from all stakeholders, but we must rely on current generations to take account of the needs future ones!

Learn to use the sustainable design tools which the SDA scheme introduces you to as well as you can - particularly for the sake of those who follow.

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