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Product Design

Product design is a strategic problem-solving process that drives innovation, builds business success, and leads to a better quality of life through innovative products, systems, services, and experiences. It combines aesthetics with the utility of objects. Values, ideals, and aspirations of a culture are expressed through material objects, systems and now digital footprints; these become imperative to understanding our current circumstance and to inventing our future.

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What is Product Design?

Also known as industrial design, product design takes a holistic approach to the development of new or improved products and processes, involving research, identification of problems and/or potential opportunities, rapid prototyping and iteration, user experience and interface design, and more.

Product design appeals to students who are interested in a trans-disciplinary profession that harnesses creativity to resolve problems and co-creates solutions with the intent of making a product, system, service, experience or a business, better. It links innovation, technology, research, business, and customers to provide new value and competitive advantage across economic, social, and environmental spheres.

Career paths for product designers include: vehicular, medical, electronics, housewares, athletic gear and clothing, smart textiles, furniture, hardware, toy design, packaging and more.


Update: June 3, 2020 – Listen to Dean Vernon’s WUKY interview about the new Product Design program and the College of Design’s upcoming move to the repurposed Reynolds Building.


See Curriculum

image of da Vinci surgical robot

The da Vinci Xi® by Intuitive Surgical, designed to facilitate complex surgery through a minimally invasive approach.

Apply to the Product Design Program

We get it. Applying to college may be one of the biggest decisions you’ve had to make so far in life. Luckily, we’ve streamlined this process down to a “1, 2 & done” routine.

1. Apply to UK.

2. Apply to the Department of Product Design.

Get started today:

Apply: Step 1 Apply: Step 2

The new Product Design program will officially launch in Fall 2020 with its first cohort of students.

“No other institution of higher education in Kentucky offers a degree in industrial or product design,” said Dean Mitzi Vernon. “By providing this new program, UK will be a magnet for Kentucky high school students who would otherwise have to travel outside the Commonwealth to experience such an opportunity.”

Students will obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in Product Design upon completion of the four-year curriculum, which includes a diverse array of special topics courses from contemporary technology, healthcare, professional development to furniture design and more.

For more information or to apply, please contact Director of Recruitment Amy Foulkes at amy.foulkes@uky.edu or 859.257.8870