In September 1973, the school opened its doors for the very first time to a new class of future designers and visionaries. The Bachelor of Industrial Design at Carleton  offered a four-year comprehensive industrial design curriculum that has since graduated over 700 designers, many of whom now hold prestigious design positions in both Canada and around the world.

In September 2008, the school established a Master of Design at Carleton, advancing the knowledge of design by building on the school’s experience and strengths in the field of design education. The two-year program of study examines and incorporates multifaceted design principles and practices that contribute to the strategic value of design.

In Septmber 2013, the school established a Minor in Design. The Minor in Design provides an opportunity for students from outside the Bachelor of Industrial Design to integrate design concepts into their main field of study. Students learn about design thinking, design processes and user-centered design, along with innovation and idea creation for products, services, environments and systems. The design topics covered in the program relate to a wide range of disciplines that intersect with design.

Wim Gilles (1923-2002)


In 1973 Wim Gilles was appointed as the founding Director of the new School of Industrial Design at Carleton University. After his long term as Director, he founded the School’s Centre for Industrial Design Research in 1985, where he developed a design method for sculpted surfaces. In 1992 he was appointed Emeritus Professor of Industrial Design. In 1997 Carleton University granted him a Doctor of Engineering degree honoris causa.

Prior to coming to Canada, Professor Gilles was an industrial design pioneer in The Netherlands. In 1956, he was one of the founders of the Dutch association of industrial designers KIO, of which he was an honorary member. Gilles was instrumental in the establishment of the Bureau of European Design Associations (BEDA), in which the professional design organizations of the EEC still co-operate. During the 1960s, Gilles taught at the Eindhoven Academy of Industrial Design, where, in 1970, he became Director.