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The Library: Product Design

Material and product databases

Free material sources


A building product information website that includes 10,500 manufacturer listings by alpha or CSI section, 7000 BIM Models, 900 specs all in the CSI 3 part format, 300 SpecWizards for automated spec writing and 7,000 CAD Details. Free to use and no registration required.


A showcase of over 120,000 design products and materials, linking architectural projects with the furnishings, materials and fittings that have been used in their execution.

Barbour Product Search

A building products directory featuring thousands of UK building products and construction material manufacturers. Useful for finding building products, construction materials and interior design ideas.

Building Products Index

UK online database of building materials, including links to company websites. You can search by company and brand, or by product or material. Requires free registration.


Created with government funding so independent of companies or trade, GreenSpec promotes sustainable building products and materials.

Working across five environmental sectors, offers the broadest mix of supplier and product information on the market, combined with insightful articles and case studies to keep architects up to date with sector innovations.


A knowledge centre for developments and innovations in materials, and their applications for architecture and design. Materia includes a search engine to their knowledge bank of materials.


Find and compare materials and connect directly with suppliers.


Search for building product information and manufacturers by keyword or Masterformat. Fast-track design, specifications, and document creation with downloadable, insertable product information.


Online catalogue and expert knowledge of new materials and the latest high-tech and environmentally friendly products. Aims to inspire architects and designers looking to transform the structure, spaces and surfaces of their projects.

Books to help you prepare for jobs in design


Includes statistics such as:

  • Number of individuals employed full-time in design occupations in the UK
  • Employment in product, clothing and related design outside the creative industries in the UK
  • Annual turnover of arts, entertainment and recreation enterprises in the UK
  • Distribution of creative art and design graduates in the UK
  • Value of services exported by the product, graphic and fashion design industry from the UK

Other statistical databases


Find detailed market research reports on a range of categories such as food and drink, household products, health and nutrition, automative, etc.

Other market data sources

Creative Review



A patent protects new inventions and covers how things work, what they do, how they do it, what they are made of and how they are made. Patents can also give valuable technical information.What is a patent and what does it mean? is a handy introductory guide to patents.

  • Intellectual Property Office Ipsum - Online Patent Information and Document Inspection Service this is a UK Patent Office resource which allows you to check the status of UK patents/patent applications.
  • GB Esp@cenet covers all GB applications published by the Intellectual Property Office under the Patents Act 1977, plus GB patents granted by the Intellectual Property Office since June 2002.  The GB database is one of a number of databases available through esp@cenet through which patents from Europe and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and information about patents worldwide, are available.
  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) produces the Patent Public Search Database. Coverage is from 1790 onwards for issued US Patents, full-text from 1976 onwards. Google Patents also searches information from the USPTO.
  • There is a network of Patent Information Centres offering information and advice. Contact the PatLib Centre Leeds to find out what help is available locally.