BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design: IMO

BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object, (IMO) is an experimental design course that seeks to explore ideas through objects, spaces and experiences.

Creativity comes in many different forms and is often separated into categories such as ‘art’, ‘design’, or ‘craft’. IMO looks at all of these areas [and many others] as sources of inspiration – intentionally interlinking and overlapping them. Over the three-year course students develop their making skills and hone their design ability to turn abstract ideas into physical products. IMO is a course for students who have the ambition and curiosity to question the world around them, driven to experiment, explore and reinvent.

Why choose this course?

The course develops each student’s personal design process with an emphasis on the act of making as a means to realise ideas.

Design projects cover a range of materials and scales – work may be made by hand in the studio, constructed in the workshops with the help of skilled technical staff or rendered on a computer and produced on a 3D printer.

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About the course

Explore a breadth of materials and processes in supportive, well-equipped workshops.

Become a versatile, empowered designer or maker

Develop your design practice through professional industry and community projects.

In this BA (Hons) 3D Design course you’ll explore a range of design briefs, materials and scales; from jewellery, lighting and furniture to interactive museum installations and experiences. We’ll encourage you to bring together ideas, materials and processes (both traditional and digital) in new ways, in our extensive range of workshops.

You’ll develop excellent professional skills through frequent ‘live’ industry and community projects. You’ll graduate with a strong portfolio of experience, industry knowledge and personal vision.

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Explore how design and making can change how we live. You’ll work on a variety of purposeful and challenging projects, applying your creativity to different scales, audiences and products. You’ll have your own workspace in a thriving studio environment, and opportunities to work on projects with external organisations such as Dyson, ASOS and Hakwood. We emphasise material experimentation as we believe this is a strong basis for innovation.

You’ll develop skills and ideas in supportive well equipped workshops including wood, digital processes (such as CNC routing and 3D printing), metal, plastics, ceramics and casting. You’ll develop a foundation of knowledge around manufacture processes, as well as the visualisation skills that enable you to expand and communicate your thinking.

We’ve got lots of experience and will help you establish personal direction; you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in one discipline. You’ll graduate as a versatile designer and maker; an important quality in the professional world.

We’ll introduce you to methods of thinking critically about materials and making and encourage you to take inspiration from across art, craft and design, reflecting cutting-edge interdisciplinary design practice. This is supported by tailored study visits (local, national and international) and designer-led workshops, developing your global industrial awareness.

You’ll gain valuable experience of teamwork, negotiation and leadership and leave with a list of exhibitions, professional skills and personal network that is a launchpad to a career in the creative industries.

Course Structure and Content

Year 1
The first year starts with a technical foundation including hand and machine processes and digital manufacture, and exploring possible applications. We’ll introduce you to methods of idea generation and expansion, and you’ll learn to translate your abstract thoughts into physical outcomes.
We’ll introduce you to drawing techniques and model making, as well as digital programmes such as Rhino and Photoshop. You’ll develop your presentation skills, and learn to research effectively. We debate key issues such as materials resourcing, new technologies and sustainable production, and identify pivotal designers.

Year 2
Explore your potential career path through work experience and live projects. Industry and community projects may include an interactive installation at the Holburne Museum, or Fixperts’ international design platform.

You’ll learn how to approach companies, collaborate, manage projects and explore marketing and branding, underpinned by skills such as photography and film. You’ll explore applications and scales for your ideas and deepen your theoretical engagement. This helps you to identify personal themes for critical and material investigation.

Year 3
Focus on your professional future. You’ll learn to write project briefs that allow you to explore ideas in a way that strengthens your own interests. This helps you establish the direction for your career.

With expert support you’ll develop personal industrial networks and find appropriate opportunities and platforms (physical and digital) for marketing and showcasing your work.  With other students you’ll organise and build an independent exhibition. A written dissertation enables you to deepen your knowledge and critical thinking about the context for your practice.

Course assessment

You’ll present your work at the end of a module, through display and presentation, supported by development work.

You’ll receive formal feedback so you’ll know how to improve or develop particular aspects of your work. Throughout the module you receive feedback through individual and/or group tutorials, peer seminar sessions and group critiques.


We have a thriving ‘studio culture’, which means you work from the course studios, reflecting professional practice. Most learning and teaching takes place in the studios.

You’ll have plenty of one-to-one interaction with tutors in the studio, which supports your creative individuality. You’re taught by experienced experts, including module tutors who you see regularly, and visiting lecturers from the design industry who contribute different perspectives and energy. You’ll also be supported by experienced technical staff.

While the majority of teaching is one-to-one or group tutorials, talks and crits (constructive critical discussions of student work), you’ll also have lectures and seminars, particularly in contextual studies. You’re also expected to study independently outside of taught sessions.


Field Trips

Field trips are an essential part of developing industrial awareness and seeking inspiration. We regularly go to major design industry events such as Milan Design Fair and Dutch Design Week, make trips to cultural venues and studios in London, and to cultural and industry sites and designer makers in the region.

Work placements, industry links and internships

The 2nd year of the course includes a work experience module and industry live projects, and overseas exchange opportunities. We run industrial and community projects such as HAKtion Factory interactive installation. Live projects and clients have included Hakwood, The Furniture Makers’ Company, Dyson, ASOS, The Holburne Museum, Bath Abbey, MoreySmith, Bisque Radiators and Forest of Imagination.

List of current alumni careers

Our graduates work for international design and manufacturing companies, contemporary designers and design marketing agencies. Others are self employed and put their designs into production, exhibiting internationally. We also have graduates working successfully in curation, publishing, design research, computer aided design, and working as studio assistants in ceramics, jewellery and architectural glass.

Staff Profiles

  • Kerry Curtis

    Assistant Dean
  • Sonny-Lee Lightfoot

    Technical Demonstrator: 3D Digital Design
  • Jonathan Sturgess

    Associate Lecturer
    BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object
  • Tim Wright

    Technical Demonstrator Three Dimensional Design: Plastics

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