Connecting people and changing society through socially responsive design

This course nurtures the industrial designers who will create the appliances, vehicles, and everyday items that support our lifestyles and society in the future. Industrial design’s appeal lies in how the products that you create can be distributed and used by people around the world. In class, we study product materials, forms, and functions and learn how to conduct research to understand the needs of society and the process for coming up with new ideas. In addition, you will build the skills needed to use the latest software and hardware, such as 3D printers and Rhinoceros (3D modeling tools). Another feature of this course is that it often involves collaborations with private enterprises. Through these experiences, we hope to equip students with the planning capacity, production skills, and ability to understand socially responsive design.

Subject Highlights

  • How do you reinvent the tabi sock? Developing products with business in mind.

    [Design Fundamentals 3 / Year 2]
    This class is a collaborative class with a tabi sock maker. Students attempt to create new value within the market for tabi, a kind of traditional Japanese footwear. The goal is not simply to create a product but to design in response to the business as a whole and to make convincing product proposals through repeated prototyping and product inspection.

  • Students are challenged to think about interactive design in this university-industry collaboration.

    [Product Communication 1D / Year 3]
    This class is a university-industry collaboration with a company that manufactures measuring instruments and medical equipment. Students are challenged to think about how to connect people and society on the theme of interaction design. After a tour of the company and discussions with employees, students propose and develop products based on a given theme.

What You Will Study

  1. 1STYEAR

    Acquiring basic modeling skills for product design

    Through product sketches, students deepen their understanding of structures and materials before moving on to physical models. Students also learn basic skills such as drafting and how to use graphic software.

  2. 2NDYEAR

    Solving problems through design

    Working on the theme of home appliances, students propose ways of solving problems found in everyday life. Students also learn about color design, including the way color affects people.

  3. 3RDYEAR

    Learning from professionals in collaborative classes

    Students participate in collaborative projects with companies and learn about cutting-edge technology, designs that meet users’ needs, the process of product manufacturing, and marketing and promotion.

  4. 4THYEAR

    Completion of graduation work

    Students work on designing a product with the user in mind, one that will change society for the better, utilizing their newfound design abilities cultivated over the past four years.

What You Will Learn

  • The ability to conceive of ideas and realize them through sketching and modeling
  • The ability to create objects that combine function and beauty
  • The ability to identify issues in society and daily life

Student Works


Modeling studio

This studio is often used by classes where students handle plaster as a space for students to give physical shape to their ideas.


  • An advanced processing room equipped with the latest 3D printers and laser processing machines that can form complex shapes, process details, and generate detailed parts based on digital data.

  • A ceramics studio equipped with a potter's wheel for shaping and a kiln for firing.

  • Classes are also held in the labs set up for each year level.


  • KIDA Sojirohidenobu Current Student

    Learning from professional designers for four years changed my world.

    I like to draw pictures and had a vague longing to go to an art university, and then I learned about product design. I chose this course because I was fascinated by the idea of a job where something I made could enrich someone else’s life. The classes were very stimulating because I was learning new things all the time. The teachers, who are all professional designers themselves, will teach you how the journey of a single product, from planning to commercialization, involves many people and how everything is planned down to the last detail. Product design is not just thinking about appearance. In order to find out what situations a product will be used in and to discover what people need, we have to start by understanding their lifestyles and social backgrounds. It may seem difficult at first, but it's exciting how a whole new world opens up as you learn. It was the friends I met at university who helped me when I was stuck for ideas. My friend from the Faculty of Manga helped me loosen up my rigid thought process with fantastical ideas like, "Why don't you just fly into the sky?” After graduation, I plan to go work as a designer for a pet supplies manufacturer. I'm looking forward to proposing products that can help us meet the needs of pets in today's society, where the nature of the family is changing.
  • HIRATA Yoshihiro Academic Faculty

    Design not for yourself but for others.

    My field is industrial design, which is the pursuit of usability and beauty in industrial products. In addition to my research, I am involved in product development at my own design office and in projects to revitalize industries in Fukui Prefecture. As someone involved in manufacturing, I am always conscious of potential environmental impacts and aim to demonstrate the effects of design in every aspect of a product. One appeal of this course is that there are many subjects where students have the opportunity to collaborate with actual companies, many of which are based in Kyoto, which I think is very meaningful since traditional culture and advanced technology exist side by side here. The course is highly specialized, so it is easy to imagine your future while you're still in school. When you enter university, try to take an interest in what is going on in the world. Product planning and development can only be accomplished with a correct understanding of the times. Industrial design is not about self-expression but about doing things for the greater society, and this is what makes it so fascinating. We welcome students who feel that the products around them could be made easier to use, those who want to make use of the specialized skills they learned at technical high school, as well as people who have no specialized knowledge or skills but are simply full of ambition and curiosity.