Emerging Technologies & Design

Test yourself

Evaluation of Emerging Technologies and Design Decisions

Designers/manufactures are becoming more aware of the ethical and environmental impact of their design decisions. Consumers are also taking responsibility for the waste they create and are demanding more environmentally friendly products.

Illustrative background for Planned obsolescenceIllustrative background for Planned obsolescence ?? "content

Planned obsolescence

  • Products are manufactured to last a specific length of time before needing to be replaced.
  • Consumers will then need/want to buy a new version of the product.
  • Sales will be maintained.
Illustrative background for Achieving planned obsolescenceIllustrative background for Achieving planned obsolescence ?? "content

Achieving planned obsolescence

  • This can be achieved by:
    • Using materials that break/wear out easily.
    • The cost of repairing being more than replacing e.g. washing machine.
    • Upgrades in software e.g. mobile phones.
    • Aesthetic upgrades to match fashion trends e.g. mobile phones.
Illustrative background for Environmental impactsIllustrative background for Environmental impacts ?? "content

Environmental impacts

  • This has a negative effect on the environment as more waste is created in the manufacture of new products and the disposal of old ones.
  • An awareness of planned obsolescence and the responsibility of the designer can influence the design decisions.
    • For example a disposable coffee cup that is a single use product. The designer could use a compostable material made from plants.
Illustrative background for Design for maintenanceIllustrative background for Design for maintenance ?? "content

Design for maintenance

  • Products are being designed with easily accessible, replaceable parts.
  • New software can be uploaded onto existing products to update them.
  • Companies usually arrange the replacement of parts to ensure safety and reliability.
  • These products are becoming more popular with people who are increasingly more aware of reducing waste and the shared responsibility for global warming.

The Environment and Ethics

Designers, manufacturers and consumers are becoming more aware of the ethical and environmental impact of their design decisions and purchases.

Illustrative background for ConsumersIllustrative background for Consumers ?? "content


  • The impact of social media, celebrity influencers and access to a wide range of information through the internet means people have increased awareness about the impact they are having on the environment.
Illustrative background for Consumer demand Illustrative background for Consumer demand  ?? "content

Consumer demand

  • Consumers are realising their responsibility to help reduce waste.
  • This is leading to an increased demand for more environmentally friendly products.
  • There is also an increase in demand for “upcycled” products and second-hand products.
Illustrative background for End of lifeIllustrative background for End of life ?? "content

End of life

  • At the end of life of a product, the consumer has increased accessibility to:
    • Recycling schemes with councils for household rubbish.
    • Returning electronic products to companies for disposal.
    • Repairing parts of a product rather than throwing it away.
    • Refilling existing bottles to reduce waste.
  • The consumer has a responsibility to make use of these schemes.
Illustrative background for Designers and manufacturersIllustrative background for Designers and manufacturers ?? "content

Designers and manufacturers

  • The responsibility for designers and manufacturers to consider the environmental impact of their products has become a key part of the design process.
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be used to analyse all the stages in a product’s life and highlight the impact it will have on the environment.
Illustrative background for Life cycle assessment (LCA)Illustrative background for Life cycle assessment (LCA) ?? "content

Life cycle assessment (LCA)

  • The designer can then investigate different ways to reduce the negative impact at each stage of the design process.
  • The increased use of lean manufacturing systems reduces waste and creates an efficient product.
  • Products are designed for disassembly so that parts can easily be identified and re-used, replaced or recycled.

Jump to other topics

1Core Technical Principles

2Paper & Board: Specialist Technical Principles

3Timber: Specialist Technical Principles

4Metal: Specialist Technical Principles

5Polymers: Specialist Technical Principles

6Textiles: Specialist Technical Principles

7Designing & Making Principles

Go student ad image

Unlock your full potential with GoStudent tutoring

  • Affordable 1:1 tutoring from the comfort of your home

  • Tutors are matched to your specific learning needs

  • 30+ school subjects covered

Book a free trial lesson