Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


Exploring a human-centred design process in their work, students who successfully complete this course should be able to: 

- make use of a human-centred design approach for decision making and argumentation when designing. 
- identify suitable ways to communicate design ideas, processes, and outcomes. 
- understand how design can impact, interact with, and improve socially relevant problem areas.  
- implement their work in Aalto workshop spaces using a variety of acquired skills and tools.
- organize individual and group design processes.
- coordinate their own experimental and creative design process.
- generate, explore and evaluate ideas and concepts.

Credits: 12

Schedule: 12.01.2021 - 16.04.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Anna-Marie van der Lei, Teppo Vienamo

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Oscar Person, Anna-Marie van der Lei, Teppo Vienamo

Contact information for the course (valid 18.12.2020-21.12.2112):

Anna van der Lei,

Teppo Vienamo,

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    In this studio course, the students explore contemporary phenomena through thematically-framed design projects. The project is organized in two stages: an initial group exploration followed by individual design work. The course introduces students to practices for designing for someone or something else. The course builds upon the fundamentals from ‘Digital design with people’ (period II) by covering Human-Centered Design (HCD) as a methodological approach. The course encourages students to rethink and challenge the limitations of HCD in their practice. The course also introduces students to Aalto workshop spaces and provides them with the basic knowledge and skills needed to produce their designs. The course is organized in tandem with Thematic studio II with the same themes being explored collaboratively by students in the two courses.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The final grade for the course is based on the work students produce individually and in groups throughout the course and which they present in the mid-project and final presentations as well as the learning diary that students develop in tandem with their work. The assessment of the work covers the process, the quality of the final production and the student’s reflections upon the work. Active participation is expected and a minimum of 80% attendance in the contact teaching is mandatory.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The total workload for the course amounts to 324 hours (I ECTS credits = 27 hours).  

    - Contact teaching (including mid-project and final presentation) 189 hours
    - Individual and group work 103 hours
    - Personal reflection 32 hours 


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    A reading list is provided at the beginning of the course.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Students need to have completed ARTX-C1002 Digital design for people or hold equivalent knowledge about human-centered design.


SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption