3.8 Three-dimensional design

Three-dimensional design is defined here as the design, prototyping and modelling or making of primarily functional and aesthetic products, objects, and environments, drawing upon intellectual, creative and practical skills.

Areas of study

In Component 1 and Component 2 students are required to work in one or more area(s) of three-dimensional design, such as those listed below:

  • architectural design
  • sculpture
  • ceramics
  • product design
  • jewellery and body adornment
  • interior design
  • environmental/landscape/garden design
  • exhibition design
  • 3D digital design
  • designs for theatre, film and television.

They may explore overlapping areas and combinations of areas.

Knowledge, understanding and skills

Students must develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills specified in the Subject content to realise personal intentions relevant to three-dimensional design and their selected area(s) of study.

The following aspects of knowledge, understanding and skills are defined in further detail to ensure students’ work is clearly focused and relevant to three-dimensional design.

Knowledge and understanding

The way sources inspire the development of ideas relevant to three-dimensional design including:

  • how sources relate to historical, contemporary, cultural, social, environmental and creative contexts
  • how ideas, feelings, forms, and purposes can generate responses that address specific needs be these personal or determined by external factors such as the requirements of an individual client's expectations, needs of an intended audience or details of a specific commission.

The ways in which meanings, ideas and intentions relevant to three-dimensional design can be communicated include the use of:

  • figurative and non-figurative forms of representation, stylisation, simplification, exaggeration, the relationship between form and surface embellishment, constructional considerations and imaginative interpretation
  • visual and tactile elements such as:
    • colour
    • line
    • form
    • tone
    • texture
    • space
    • proportion
    • decoration
    • scale
    • structure
    • shape
    • pattern.


Within the context of three-dimensional design, students must demonstrate the ability to:

  • use three-dimensional techniques and processes, appropriate to students’ personal intentions, for example:
    • model making
    • constructing
    • surface treatment
    • assembling
    • modelling
  • use media and materials, as appropriate to students’ personal intentions, for example:
    • drawing materials
    • clay
    • wood
    • metal
    • plaster
    • plastic
    • found materials.