How can I prepare for my Product and Furniture Design course?

So, you’re about to study Product and Furniture Design with us – what can you do to prepare? We’ve got a whole host of ways you can get stuck in before starting your course. From checking out some recommended reads, to exploring Birmingham’s independent scene for inspiration.

What to read:

Product and Furniture Design Course Director, Jason Nicholson, has given us his must-reads:

Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals book by Rob Thompson

This is a great book about production processes; it’s a useful insight into how things are produced across various scales of manufacture. You make a lot of objects on the course, so it’s useful to start investigating how things are made.

Drawing for Product Designers book by Kevin Henry

It’s always useful to practice your drawing skills, and this book covers many visualisation techniques. Maintaining an active drawing practice is equally beneficial; keep a sketchbook and sketch anything that interests you, from natural forms to urban landscapes and the products and furniture that surround you.

Material Matters podcast by Grant Gibson

Take a listen to this series to discover how designers and makers use materials within their own design practice. In parallel, explore sustainability to comprehend the significance of eco-conscious design practices. Familiarise yourself with environmentally friendly materials and design strategies that minimise ecological footprints.

Where to visit:

Birmingham is an ever-evolving creative hotspot, with several pockets of the city offering inspiration to independent artists. These areas include Digbeth, Edgbaston, Moseley, Kings Heath and Solihull - to name a few. Why not check out these unique product and furniture stores around the City? 


Minima is an independent company that houses a showroom full of mid-century modern furnishings, modern lighting fixtures, and upscale home decor and accessories. Go and check them out in the Jewellery Quarter, and even grab a coffee at their in-house cafe while you're there!


Located in the charming heart of Edgbaston, Kin is an independent furniture and design store that stocks an assortment of items from renowned Scandinavian design labels. Its bright, aesthetically pleasing store is a great spot for gaining some creative inspiration for your projects.

You should aim to keep up with contemporary design trends and explore museums and galleries to draw inspiration from both historical and modern design pieces. This is also a great opportunity to explore some of Birmingham’s most iconic destinations: IKON Gallery and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, to name a few!

Who to follow:


This is the official course page Instagram for all things product and furniture design... follow them to never miss an update and stay clued in with any extra opportunities.


Amelia is a current Product and Furniture Design student; follow her to keep up with her unique projects and wonderful creations.

What to watch:

Grand Designs available on Channel 4 On Demand

Grand Designs is a British TV series that showcases ambitious and innovative building and renovation projects. Hosted by Kevin McCloud, the show follows homeowners and architects as they embark on extraordinary journeys to design and construct unique and often boundary-pushing, groundbreaking homes. 

Amazing Interiors available on Netflix

Amazing Interiors offers a fascinating look at homes with extraordinary and creatively designed interiors, showcasing unconventional and unique living spaces transformed by homeowners. The series explores the imaginative world of interior design and personal expression through remarkable and unexpected home transformations.

The Great Pottery Throw Down available on Channel 4 On Demand

The Great Pottery Throw Down is a fun, competitive pottery series where participants, both amateurs and experienced potters, showcase their skills and creativity in crafting intricate ceramic pieces. The show offers a captivating blend of competition and artistic expression, providing a unique and entertaining window into the world of pottery.

Above all, maintain an open mind. Design is a dynamic field, and your adaptability and eagerness to learn are pivotal to your success.

What should you do next?

Find your new home

Our portfolio has a range of halls of residence offering on campus and inner city living, with various facilities and features including three-quarter beds, en suites and even gyms - meaning we have something for everyone.

Book your accommodation

Check out our support services

Starting university can be challenging for many people for all kinds of different reasons, but we're here to help! See how our support services can assist you in making settling in easier.

Student support

Life in Birmingham

Birmingham is an exciting, ever-growing and diverse city, making student life here a fun experience. Why not explore what's on offer in the city you'll be calling home for the next few years?

Explore the city

Applicant Taster Day

Once you've applied, it's useful to come to one of our Applicant Taster Days to get an in-depth feel for what it's like to study your course, right before you start with us. You’ll find out more about your course through taster sessions and have the opportunity to meet academic staff and current students.

Find out more about Applicant Taster Days