Course syllabus


MPP111 – Form Theory and Exploration

Autumn term 2023


Number of credits

7,5 hp 

(7 hp = 200h, 70 class hours=53 h, expected time for self studies 147h)



Grades are given according to the scale: fail, 3, 4, and 5


Teaching language




Q2 (30st October – 12thJanuary 2024)


Given for programme

Masters Programme in Industrial Design Engineering IDE/MPDES


Contact details

Examiner and lecturer

Johan Heinerud (JH), M.Sc. in Industrial Design Engineering, 076-174 60 32


Course purpose 

The course is intended to provide the students with a superior understanding of product form generation and formal aesthetic concepts. The student is given tools and training for advanced form design and configuration of forms and formal systems. Based on theory and methods presented in lectures and course literature and translated in to practical exercises the intention is to make the student comfortable working with abstract form oriented processes, link content function and semantic messages and be able to implement these in form-oriented design applications. The aim is also to explore, experience and reflect on the correlation between form design approach and formulation of a specific form-language.

Learning objectives

After accomplished course, the student shall be able to:

  • Analyse, specify and discuss the content and structure of product forms.
  • Scan and monitor similarities/analogies/citations in existing product forms.
  • Carry out a form-oriented design process with systematic formgiving methods.
  • Demonstrate an expanded understanding of the form, formgiving methods and their possibilities and limitations.
  • Evaluateand reflect on generated product forms with different analytical tools and from different perspectives.




TimeEdit (Links to an external site.)


Course literature

Literature will be provided via the course homepage.


Course design

The course covers the areas of perception, analysis, experience and creation of form. The course is built around four boxes/modules with different content to guide your project work:

  • MODULE 1 – ORIENTATION: analysis of existing products, formulating visions and market needs to formgiving;
  • MODULE 2 – EXPLORATION: concept generation based on systematic formgiving processes;
  • MODULE 3 – ELABORATION: finalisation of concepts with systematic methods;
  • MODULE 4 – EVALUATION: systematic evaluation of the outcomes.

All MODULES start up with seminars and lectures, and continue with hands-on work, supervisions, crit-sessions and peer reviews. The four modules include assignments that guide your design process from formulating visions and market needs to formgiving, concept generation and evaluation of your concepts. These assignments are carried out both individually and in groups of four.

The students will work with developing product concepts with a focus on form and expression, using systematic methods for form explorations. At the end of the course, you are expected to deliver a paper that presents your results and evaluation of the outcomes based on Form Grammar & Syntax, and evaluations with experts and end-users.

The course includes:

  • Theoretical lectures, literature studies and seminars to get familiarised with terminology and theories on from and grammar syntax and systematic methods for form exploration;
  • Workshops/assignments/practical work to gain hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the theories;
  • Peer reviews within and between groups to help improving the quality of outcomes;
  • Evaluative studies with users and experts to gain a deeper understanding of form and perception of form.


Changes made since the last occasion

Apart from that the major changes in the course include: 

  • Introduction of a design brief that spans over the course (instead of four mini-assignments).
  • Removal of self-reflective diaries and portfolios for each MODULE (earlier pronounced as boxes) assignment.
  • Addition of evaluation lecture, assignment, and final paper. 
  • Increased focus on individual work.


Examination form

The grading is based on the project work on both individual and group levels. The project work is evaluated throughout the course in seminars, presentations, as well as through the final paper. Participation in project presentations is compulsory. The grading criteria are provided in connection with the project description and the final paper. An individual course evaluation has to be filled out at the end of the course.

Course summary:

Date Details Due