To meet the varied needs and desires of customers, the selection of materials for industrially manufactured products requires careful balancing of functional and expressive material requirements. However, the majority of material selection advice and resources continues to be oriented to functional and technical considerations. This paper provides a review and comparison of recently assembled research into user-centred materials selection, which seeks not only to bolster industrial designers' expertise in the area of expressively driven materials decisions but also to find a more confident place alongside utilitarian decisions. Five principal themes are identified from a collection of journal articles invited by the author for inclusion in a special file on materials and industrial design education: (1) development of a sensorial-expressive language of materials; (2) generation of materials knowledge via samples and product exemplars; (3) consideration of materials as a user interface; (4) awareness of contextual considerations; and (5) availability of new material selection tools. The intention is to inform design educators about how to shift materials teaching from a predominantly technical subject to one that has product experience at its core.