Using the talks by Seymour Powell – “Good Design for Everyday Living” –  is a great way to start off a Design Technology Diploma course – especially when some students may be very experienced in Design and others may have never followed any Design Technology course. You can use the videos as topics for discussion – as a whole class activity or as I often do introduce and watch some of the first video and then direct students to the Youtube channel to watch and answer a series of questions at home.

Then come back and discuss some of the main topics – and specific terminology that links well with many areas and definitions within the DT Diploma syllabus :-  design process, divergent and convergent thinking, invention and innovation…

As suggested the videos are kindly hosted on a Youtube channel by the National Library Board – Singapore. Seymour Powell runs a world renowned design agency and actually at their website there are a number of example design Case Studies that can also be great 5 minute discussion activities looking at the products and analysing them in terms of materials, type of design etc. In the UK he often runs talks for students at the Design Museum in London.

Watch the first of the videos below: –


Note these are the sort of questions I use with a class of students to get them to really watch and observe the different videos – although obviously you could use many of your own questions and activities.

1)What is design really all about?
2)What three elements are most important within a design process – explain these?
3)What does feasible mean?
4)What does Powell think the term ‘design’ means?
5)What is a C5 – was it good design?
6)Why is knowledge for a designer most important, and how would a designer gain more knowledge?
7)What is a brief?
8)What is most important to observe and watch when you start designing a product?
9)Is the design the middle ground between Art and Engineering?
10)‘We see things as not as they are but as we are.‘ – explain why this quotation is important?
11)What is the holy grail for designers?
12)What is a creative event?
13)Should you be looking for big ideas or lots of small ideas?
14)What does Einstein say about design?
15)What does Paradigm mean and why is it important?
16)What should you always keep as a designer – whatever someone says?
17)What can you learn from the example of Microsoft’s iPod packaging designs?
18)What can you throw away and why?