Penn College Introduces New Design Major

Published 04.13.2010

Engineering & Industrial Design Technology

Adding to its portfolio of design-related studies, Pennsylvania College of Technology initiated a degree that will help prepare students for a growing field in product and systems design across the globe.

Students can begin enrolling in the college's new industrial and human factors design bachelor-degree major for the Fall 2010 semester.

In line with the modern marketplace in which consumers no longer want products that simply get the job done, but expect goods that are also ergonomic and beautiful industrial and human factors designers synthesize creativity and an understanding of aesthetics with a knowledge of usability concerns and cultural norms to develop products that people use every day.

"Industrial and human factors designers make beautiful things that work well," said Thomas E. Ask, associate professor of industrial and human factors design.

Industrial and human factors design is employed in the creation of nearly every product we touch, such as designer luggage that must be both beautiful and functional, power tools that must be safe and fit properly in a person's hand, athletic and fitness equipment that must conform to human movement, and consumer electronics or automotive interiors, whose controls must be both intuitive and sleek. A degree holder could work in a variety of industries, designing objects from toys to office or medical products.

In addition to visual design courses, students study kinesiology, ergonomics, cultural anthropology and marketing, all of which are important to designing a product that will appeal to consumers in terms of both its look and its usability.

They also will take courses in engineering and sustainability principles, computer aided drafting, materials and manufacturing.

Unique among bachelor-degree programs in industrial and human factors design, Penn College's program will include study in interaction design, which accounts for end-user psychology and how consumers interact with products.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to continue growing, based on an increased demand for new or upgraded products that are easy and comfortable to use, as well as the quick-paced development of high-technology products in consumer electronics, medicine, transportation and other fields.

Because quality product and systems design is essential to a firm's success, many jobs in the field are expected to remain in the United States, where designers understand trends and cultural sensitivities in the domestic market.

To learn more about Penn College's bachelor's degree in industrial and human factors design, visit online or call 570-327-4521.

For general information about the college, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.