copyright University of Minnesota,
all rights reserved, 2015

Toy Product Design - PDES 3711/5711

Instructor: Barry Kudrowitz, PhD, barryk [at] umn.edu, 15 Rapson
TAs:Krystianna Johnson (joh09014), Teddy Russell (russe700), Klevis Deva (devax001)
TA Email List: productdesign@umn.edu goes to all three TAs, this is the preferred method of contacting us

2019 Team Lab Instructors

Alexandra Eninsche, enins001 [at] umn.edu, (TPD 2015)
Andrew Beyer, andrewjonbeyer [at] gmail.com
Ashley Morgan, ashleymfesus [at] gmail.com
Audrey San Diego, sandi050 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Ben Pedrick,bpedrick [at] gmail.com
Cassie Connery, conne427 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2017)
Caitlin Dippo, dipp0008 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2013)
Connor Gunsbury, gunsb002 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Dan VerBockel, verbo005 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Ellen Hughes, hughes.ellenk [at] gmail.com (TPD 2015)
Ingrid Carroll, carro448 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Jeff Carter, jeff.carter [at] target.com
Jes Rosenberg, jessica [at] adventuresofsuperstretch.com
Joel.Mulholland, joel.mulholland [at] target.com
Joseph Haynes, hayne171 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Kelsey Sievert, sieve138 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2016)
Kristina Woodburn, kristina.woodburn [at] azulseven.com
Liz Wolner, woln0037 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2014)
Mira Meier, meier310 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Neal Barnes, neal [at] blackboxdesign.net
Peyton Garcia, peytonrgarcia [at] gmail.com (TPD 2015)
Rory Alt, altxx045 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2012)
Sara Pedersen, sara.pedersen [at] target.com
Sarah Sheber, ssheber [at] umn.edu
Taia Morley, tmred [at] mac.com
Tony Morley, tm [at] redracerstudio.com

Floating Lab Instructors

Claudia Dubé, dubex019 [at] umn.edu (TPD 2015)
Taylor Hill, quoteradar [at] gmail.com (TPD 2011)

Lecture: M W 4-5:30 Rapson 56
Lab: Thursday 6-9 PM, Rapson 56
Office Hours: Thursday 1-3, Rapson 15
Credits: 4.0, A-F only

Overview . Readings/Materials . Instructors . Shop/Lab . Purchases . Play Testing . Grading . Schedule

Course Overview
Toy Product Design is an introduction to an integrated cross-functional product design process. It is a project-centric class. Students work in small interdisciplinary teams of 5 or 6 members to design and prototype new product concepts with the assistance of industry mentors.

Technical Elective Credit for Mechanical Engineers
It is possible to get technical elective credit if you register for PDES 5711 instead of PDES 3711. For petition information, see Jeanne Sitzmann in the Mechanical Engineering Student Advising Office, MechE 1120.

All students need a dedicated design notebook for this class. The brand is not critical, but it should have a robust cover like the Maker's Notebook or the Moleskine Plain Large Notebook.  It should contain blank, grid or dotted pages. The pages should not easily be removed.  Spiral bound notebooks are not allowed. You will be required to bring this to class and lab every day.  Large notebooks are sometimes difficult to work with on crowded shop tables and tiny notebooks are difficult for drawing.  

Optional Readings
Bjarki Hallgrimsson - Prototyping and Modelmaking for Product Design
Kevin Henry - Drawing for Product Designers
Alex Milton - Research Methods for Product Design
Douglas Bryden - CAD and Rapid Prototyping for Product Design
Charles Platt - Make: Electronics
Mike Ashby - Materials and Design
Scott McCloud - Understanding Comics
Donald Norman - Emotional Design
Simon Monk - Programming Arduino
Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger - Product Design and Development
Michael Michalko - Thinkertoys
Kritina Holden - Universal Principles of Design
Scott McCloud - Making Comics
Donald Norman - The Design of Everyday Things
Nancy Duarte - Slide:ology
Johan Huizinga - Homo Ludens
Brian Sutton-Smith - Toys as Culture

There will be two lab instructors assigned to each team. Both have experience in product design and will be a part of your team during the labs on Thursdays. They are volunteers and are taking off work to be there for you. Although they have experience in some areas related to product design, they may not be experts in all areas related to product design.  They are not expected to do work for you, but they are expected to provide advice and help when needed. If you create your own team discussion board or messaging group, you should include them.  They will be on your team email list.

The labs are taught near the shop as we believe it is best to have access to prototype facilities during your team lab time. The workshop website has a lot of helpful information including hours, tutorials, and material lists. Kevin Groenke [groen004] and Justin Kindelspire [kinde035] are two of the members of the shop staff that are familiar with the course. They will be assisting us during lab, but please keep in mind they are also supervising other students outside of this class.

Purchasing Materials
Each team will be given a starting budget for buying prototyping materials for the entire semester. This budget includes purchases made both inside (workshop store, computer lab, 3D printing) and outside the university (retail stores, online). The budget is for all prototypes made by all members of the team and so your team should make a plan on how to allocate funds. One member on each team will be responsible for managing the budget and collecting receipts. All receipts must be submitted—even if the item is returned for refund.  Receipts from purchases during the week must be submitted before the end of lab on Thursday to the TA, Klevis. Submitting receipts is crucial so we know how much budget each team has left in their accounts. Individuals that delay receipt submission are subject to grade deductions. Any online purchases that do not require immediate action should be submitted to the Toy Design 2019 Order Site to order for your team. Orders placed with the Toy Design 2019 Order Site will still deduct from your overall team budget and you should keep track of these purchases. If you are placing orders with the Toy Design 2019 Order Site, all order requests received by 3pm, Monday-Friday, will be placed the same day. Amazon orders will use 2-day shipping. You may request items to be shipped to Rapson Hall for pick up.  Purchases at the Rapson Hall shop, computer lab or ECE will be handled differently. Students will give the name and team name to the attendant and each of the individual "stores" will have the class list. These purchases will be deducted from your allocated budget. You are responsible to record those purchases on your weekly purchasing log.  It is not acceptable to use class/lab time to purchase materials off campus.  You should come prepared to labs with materials.

User Testing
Feedback is essential to the design process and it is important to test the ideas. Throughout the semester you will be required to present your work to potential users at regular intervals to receive feedback on your designs. This feedback will be helpful in making design decisions.

Class and lab participation grades are based on both attendance and peer evaluation scores. This is a hands-on, team-based class and attendance is mandatory. Tardiness will also count against the attendance grade. Being on time is critical for the team-based nature of this class. If you are late you will be delaying your team’s progress. Only in certain circumstances as described in the UMN Policies page (https://policy.umn.edu/education/makeupwork) will an absence or tardy not affect the grade. Here are some things that do not constitute an excused absence: going to hear a talk, attending an event for another class, job interviews, going to a career fair, having a headache. Late work is not acceptable or of use to the team. This class is on a tight timeline and all assignments build on each other.

Absence Protocol and Policies:
Notify us, notify your team, provide documentation

  • Let us know about any absence prior to class starting and your reason for missing class (productdesign@umn.edu). If there are extenuating circumstances, let us know as soon as you are able.
  • In order for an absence to be excused, formal documentation of legitimate excuse is required (doctor’s note, athletic note, etc.) This must be emailed to the TAs at productdesign@umn.edu within three business days of the absence. If you receive a physical note, scan it or take a picture and email us - physical notes will not be accepted. Email documentation will ensure all parties have a record of it.
  • It is also important that you notify your team of any absence using your team email. They will then help determine the best means for you to make up your missed time.
  • UMN policy allows for one excused medical related class absence without verification of a doctor’s note. You still need to email the TAs and your team as soon as you are able and make up the missed time.
  • In accordance with the UMN policy, this one time excused absence without verification cannot be used on lab working days or milestone presentation days. These dates are marked on the online syllabus calendar with * or **.  Verification of a note for a legitimate absence is required if an absence is on one of these dates.
  • If you are absent from class and did not notify us ahead of time it will be marked as an unexcused absence. An unexcused absence for a lecture (Monday/Wednesday) will result in a half grade deduction (5% of overall class grade). An unexcused absence for a lab (Thursdays) will result in a full grade deduction in the class (10% of overall class grade).
  • Any three unexcused absences will result in an F in the course.
  • If you have a note from the DRC (Disability Resource Center) see “DRC section” of syllabus.

You will be expected to put in an average of 12 hours a week outside of class time.  Weeks approaching a milestone review will require more hours than other weeks during the semester.  If you are not putting in this amount of time, you are likely putting your team at a disadvantage. Approximately half of the total grade is based on individual work and the other half is based on teamwork. Graduate students will be graded on a higher standard than undergraduate students.   Note that 30% of the grade is based on attendance and partcipation.  This class has a final exam which is in the form of the final presentation called “PLAYsentations” which occurs during our scheduled exam time during finals week on Thursday May 9th from 6-8pm.

Class Participation (attendance based) Individual 15
Team/Lab Participation (split into 3 scores) Individual 15
Brainstorming Assignment Individual 5
Idea Presentation Individual 5
Pair Sketch Model Individual 5
Team Sketch Models Team 10
Final Presentation Team 15
Final Prototype Team 20
Design Notebook Individual 10

All grades for academic work are based on the quality of the work submitted, not on hours of effort. Instructors have the responsibility and authority to determine how final grades are assigned, including, in classes where they use numeric scores, the method that will be used to translate numeric scores into letter grades. (For example, the instructor may decide that 90% equals an A, 80% a B, and so on, or the instructor may decide that the top 10% of the scores will receive an A, the next 20% a B, and so on.) In courses with graded group work, instructors are expected to make efforts to ensure that each student’s grade accurately reflects the degree to which they have met the stated goals of the assignment.  

Information about UMN grading policies can be found at https://policy.umn.edu/education/gradingtranscripts

Students understand that enrollment in this course grants consent for their work to be selected for inclusion in college or departmental publications (online or in print). Your instructor may select to use your work to represent her/his skills as an instructor in a teaching portfolio (online or in print) and for research studies (with further consent).

Accepting and Returning Assignments
Feedback on assignments and milestone reviews will be returned approximately one week after submission and grades will be posted on Canvas.   Late work is not acceptable or of use to the team. This class is on a tight timeline and all assignments build on each other.   Unless resulting from an excused absence, late work will not be graded.  For excused absences, as this is a team project, you will have to discuss with your team as to what extra work would be appropriate for you to do to make up for missed time.

Course Schedule

Date   Class/Lab Theme
Additional Info
Jan 23 Wed Course Overview
Rapson 56
Jan 24 Thurs Meet and Greet**
Rapson 56
Jan 28 Mon User Research
Rapson 56
Jan 30 Wed Severe Weather - No Class
Rapson 56
Jan 31 Thurs Theme Introduction + Idea Generation*
Rapson 56
Feb 4 Mon Team Introduction
Rapson 56
Feb 6 Wed Market Research Rapson 56
Feb 7 Thurs Team Brainstorm**
Rapson 56, HMWK Due
Feb 11 Mon Presenting Visual Information
Rapson 56
Feb 13 Wed Poster/Pitching Workshop (and Finances)
Rapson 56
Feb 14 Thurs Concept Selection and Poster Design**
Rapson 56, HMWK Due
Feb 18 Mon Shop Safety Introduction
Rapson Hall Shop
Feb 20 Wed Shop Safety Introduction

Rapson Hall Shop

Feb 21 Thurs Idea Presentation** Rapson 56
Feb 25 Mon Sketch Modeling (Feedback/Foam)
Rapson 56
Feb 27 Wed Sketch Modeling (Digital Prototyping) Rapson 56
Feb 28 Thurs Sketch Model Construction**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 4 Mon Estimation and Energy
Rapson 56
Mar 6 Wed Sketch Model Construction*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 7 Thurs Sketch Model Construction**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 11 Mon Sketch Model Construction*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Mar 13 Wed Sketch Model Photos

Imaging Lab

Mar 14 Thurs Sketch Model Presentations**
Rapson 56
Mar 25 Mon Product Design Aesthetic
Rapson 56
Mar 27 Wed Concept Development and Team Contract*
Rapson 56
Mar 28 Thurs Sketch Model 2.0 Construction** Rapson 56
Apr 1 Mon Build Day*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 3 Wed Build Day* Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 4 Thurs Sketch Model 2.0 Construction**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 8 Mon Build Day*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 10 Wed Design Consultation**
Rapson 56
Apr 11 Thurs Gantt Charts - Planning - Team Roles**
Rapson 56
Apr 15 Mon Plastics and Manufacturing
Rapson 56
Apr 17 Wed The Business Plan
Rapson 56
Apr 18 Thurs Prototyping**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 22 Mon Presentations and Packaging
Rapson 56
Apr 24 Wed DFM/Business Plan/Presentation Coaching
Rapson 56
Apr 25 Thurs Prototyping**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
Apr 29 Mon Presentation Practice/Prototyping*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
May 1 Wed Presentation Practice/Prototyping*
Rapson Hall Courtyard
May 2 Thurs Prototyping**
Rapson Hall Courtyard
May 3Fri Product Photos
May 6


Dress Rehearsal and Clean Day**
Coffman Theatre
May 8 Wed Study Day
May 9 Thurs Playsentations (Final Exam)**

6PM, Coffman Theatre