Professor Truijen’s young staff made a self-confident start on a new plan for the degree programme, which would be put into operation in 1971 as the “Boerakkerplan”. The core of the new plan comprised design exercises, supported by problem-analytical research. This approach was derived from the book entitled ‘Structure of Design Processes’ by the celebrated British design theorist, Bruce Archer.
“Although the association with Architecture was still new, the degree programme in ID quickly developed a very different character”
In the same year, the programme officially became independent and continued as a Bridging Department, now on the Ezelsveldlaan. Although the association with Architecture was still new, the degree in ID programme quickly developed a very different character. After all, product design involved massive differences in scale, manufacturing methods, types of use and thereby also a different debate. At this time, the Bridging Department was recruiting practitioners such as the graphic designer Wim Crouwel (1972) and the product designers Aat Marinissen (1971), Wim Groeneboom and Wim Rietveld (1973).
With the focus on product manufacturing and use also came a very different kind of research tradition from that which prevailed in architecture. In short, the greatest difference lay in the amount of attention paid to the relationship between products and people. With respect to this, the Leiden-based psychologist Hans Dirken was appointed to teach ergonomics (1972), and the Groningen-based historian Henri Baudet was given a lectureship that focused not so much on the cultural history of design, but on the social and economic aspects of the use of products. The first research carried out within the degree programme concerned the typological development of the telephone apparatus, a research theme that was to feature in the degree programme for a long time.