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Career Graphic Design

Graphic Design Schools Around the Globe

Are you planning on following a career in graphic design? It would be advised to get informed about your options when studying graphic design. This article is going to present the top 10 options you have when it comes to graphic design schools.

It is a widely-known fact that when you are following better courses in a domain and when you graduate from schools with a particular reputation,,, you are improving your chances of finding a place to work in a famous international company.

Even though graphic designers can work without graduating from a university or graphic design school, the positions you can opt for when having higher academic studies are paid much better.

Investing in your studies is a must when desiring to expand your possibilities. First of all, you will learn new things and learn how to use specific tools and concepts you probably had no idea about beforehand. Secondly, you will obtain a diploma that might weigh more than you think when being interviewed for a job position.

Of course, studying at one of the top universities and schools of graphic design means that you have to be pretty good at what you are doing. Building a compelling portfolio and paying attention to each school’s admission requirements are steps you must go through.

Until then, look at this extensive list of graphic design schools with a tremendous global reputation.

10. Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture

For the 10th university of this graphic design school, here are some details about the Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture in Finland.

Aalto University includes many studies for all types of degrees. This is an internationally-known school, considering the many performances of its students, the strategic cornerstones it applies, and the educational programs it offers.

In 2016, the Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture hosted no less than 2400 undergraduate students, 300 postgraduate students, and 60 professors.

Students can get their Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degreMaster’sDoctoral degrees in arts, design, or architecture by following one of the studies and programs available at Aalto University.

More than that, the students have the opportunity to choose what language they want to study in – Swedish or English.

The most famous studies they offer are Game Design and Production, New Media Design and Production, Product and Spatial Design, and Collaborative and Industrial Design. Besides these, students can opt for joint master’s program UCLA Design Media Arts

The UCLA Design Media Arts school occupies 9th place in the top graphic design schools you can choose from.

The department of design media arts is focused on individual exploration, meaning that students should be actively involved in the process of learning. In this sense, UCLA emphasizes practice over theory.

Students can engage in lectures, workshops, and extra-curricular events that allow them to apply the notions they learn during the courses. This school works with books, galleries, game consoles, and all sorts of technologies that encourage gaining experience and promote students’ creative spirit.

The University of California offers numerous programs for high school graduates and transfer students.

student sharing notes

In order to apply to one of the UCLA programs, you must fill in an application for a major. You can find all the details on the official website of UCLA.

The art programs are very complex, and they cover a lot of topics. At UCLA, students will study form, color, space, motion, typography, interactivity of design elements, and other design-related topics.

Students will also learn about video, visual communication, network media, and so on. Also, students can choose their area of interest at the end of the academic year and focus on one topic only.

8. Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design

The graphic design school top continues with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, also known as CIID.

This school considers itself an international hub dedicated to creative minds. Business Insider mentioned that this school offers one of the best interaction design programs worldwide.

This school is different from the others mentioned in this top because it promotes an innovative model of education that combines the requirements of the academic environment with the one that graphic designers usually struggle with within the industry.

Most schools focus on theory, while the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design focuses on practice. Students are exposed to real-work concepts, and are required to create projects they might encounter later while working in the design industry.

Plus, CIID organizes numerous summer camps where students can apply what they’ve learned during the year in a series of modular workshops.

CIID recently signed a cooperation agreement with another school in Denmark that showed excellent performances in the field of art in the past few years – The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design, and Conservation, also known as KADK.

This way, the students can profit from the expertise of two different design schools at once. All these features propel this school to number 8 in the top of worldwide known graphic design schools.

7. Cranbrook Academy of Art

This school occupies 7th place in the top graphic design schools known internationally.

They offer programs for students who want to get a Bachelor’s Degree in arts, including a graphic design subsection. They also allow students to apply to a professional practice program to improve the knowledge they already have or gained during previous years.

student drawing

The subsections offered at the Cranbrook Academy of Art are 2D design, 3D design, architecture, painting, photography, print media, and several programs that work with various fabrics and materials such as ceramics, fiber and metal.

The fact that the activities are sectioned this way allows the students to focus only on the subjects they are interested in. The academy involves reading, discussion groups, guest artists and critics visits, and other activities that help students understand the notions they are working with.

More than that, the academy offers clear information about admission requirements, fees, and so on. Also, people interested in following these courses can find a series of good practices to follow when putting their portfolios together.

If you can’t afford to pay the tuition fee, you can ask for financial aid at Cranbrook Academy of Art. You can choose between a non-need-based aid or a need-based one and cover the tuition fee for the studies.

Depending on your specific situation, you can obtain a scholarship, a grant, or a loan.

6. School of Visual Arts—New York City

Number 6 in the graphic design school’s top is represented by SVA, the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

SVA offers undergraduate and graduate programs for students from all around the world. At the same time, you can choose to continue your education in the arts or apply for a particular program.

SVA offers summer residency and pre-college programs for students who want to apply what they already know or previously studied.

Anyone interested in applying to SVA can do it by simply accessing their official link and following the instructions they find there. The online application is the first step toward getting admitted to SVA.

From their many programs, some would be worth mentioning:

  • Design Research
  • Writing and Criticism
  • Art Practice (which is a research-based program that involves autolearning and putting theory into practice), Computer Arts
  • Design (where students can learn more about visual, verbal, and textual approaches to design),
  • Fine Arts
  • Illustration
  • Interaction Design (prototyping the ideas and concepts that students come up with and transforming them into actual products and services)

Most programs are four-semester long, and include summer residencies for applying the theory learned.

5. Institute of Design at Stanford University

Stanford is a name that doesn’t need much introduction. The developed by Stanford University represents the perfect opportunity for people who want to express their creativity without boundaries.

The classes at, the Institute of Design at Stanford University, are project-based and experiential, meaning that students get to work in teams and discover concepts generally presented theoretically in other universities and schools.

Students who previously studied at Stanford and those from other universities can take part in the studies at The classes are interdisciplinary, and they complement the studies that students already possess.

woman studying on a balcony

This school offers multiple classes that can be selected for credit depending on the student’s necessities and preferences.

Core classes use skills only instead of theoretical notions, to create projects. These classes help future designers practice their skills in a controlled environment.

Boost classes are theoretical classes that present new instruments and elements that could improve your design toolkit.

Finally, organizes pop-up workshops outside the working days, on weekends and vacations, where students can test their abilities in the real world.

These workshops feature different themes and topics each time they are organized and optional, meaning that they don’t offer actual credits.

4. The New School – Parsons School of Design

Number 4 in the top graphic design is occupied by The New School – Parsons School of Design.

This school has numerous collaborations with universities and industry partners around New York City. The Parsons School of Design is a center of design, art, and business simultaneously.

The school features non-degree programs everyone can apply, ranging from continuing previous education, summer programs, or even pre-college courses.

As for undergraduate studies, the Parsons School of Design offers academic studies in architecture, communication design, design and technology, fine arts, illustration, integrated design, interior design, product design, urban design, and many.

The programs at Parsons are numerous and diverse, they are interdisciplinary, and offer students the possibility to apply what they’ve learned.

Parsons encourages communication and cooperation between its students and professors. Besides the fact that it is a fantastic school with so many options for academic studies, it is also a center of art, organizing multiple yearly events that all people can attend.

The Parsons Festival takes place each spring, and hosts end-of-year exhibitions, presentations, and open studios.

As for admission, you can check out their website to learn all the details about applying, non-degree programs, or the options offered for international studies.

Parsons also has several external partnerships that emphasize the research sector. This way, students have the opportunity to participate in competitions, hackathons, and brainstorming events.

3. Rhode Island School of Design

The school that occupies the 3rd place in the graphic design school’s top is represented by the Rhode Island School of Design.

We should start by mentioning that this school comes with so many options in terms of academic studies that you will find it challenging to choose.

The options for graduate studies are so diverse that you will need time to decide what you like most. The studies are interdisciplinary and very niche-oriented, meaning that what you are going to study will be very specific, and it will help you in mastering the career you want.

opened books laying on the floor

Besides graduate academic studies, you can also opt for executive education, continuing education, pre-college programs, or summer programs.

The Rhode Island School of Design has a fantastic reputation worldwide, which means that admission is quite challenging.

You have to set up your portfolio as well as you can, and you might want to participate in the Portfolio Days that the school organizes to see what the representatives of the university art departments have to say.

Students will get advice regarding their portfolios to win their spot in Rhode Island without any issues.

As for student life, RISD emphasizes the wellness and safety of its community, offering great housing and dining conditions.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is in 2nd place in the global top of graphic design schools.

MIT focuses on 5 different departments, including architecture + urbanism, art culture and tech, building tech, computation or history theory and criticism.

The disciplines studied are diverse and they include both theory and practice. MIT emphasizes the use of technology in people’s everyday lives, managing to encourage the creative use of technology in order to help students express their ideas and expand their knowledge through complex machines.

All departments are multi-disciplinary, a merger between different disciplines that will help students achieve what they want.

MIT has a very serious reputation around the world and the admission process is quite strict. For each program, there are specific admission requirements that you should follow. They are available on the website and they are processed by the department you are choosing.

MIT is mostly focusing on faculty lectures, user-centered research, guest lectures, and design workshops where students can apply what they’ve previously learned.

Students will also be required to participate in biweekly activities on different sorts of topics that will end in team project work. In order to pass a class, students need to participate in the lecture, the workshop for the respective lecture, to complete their team project work, and to attend the seminar.

Students can choose between no less than 90 subject units and 24 thesis units.

1. Royal College of Art

Finally, the winner of the graphic design school battle is the Royal College of Art. This college is considered the most influential one in terms of the art of all kinds.

Talking about design only, the Royal College of Art offers extensive studies in design products, fashion, global innovation design, and engineering, intelligent mobility, healthcare & design, design pathway, service design, textiles, and many more.

The school of communication offers academic studies in animation, digital direction, information experience design, and visual communication.

study group from above

RCA emphasizes the variety of its courses. The application process is explained on their website, as well as the tuition fees. Students can apply for financial help in case they need it.

Besides undergraduate and graduate studies, RCA offers people the chance to take part in short courses. They are organized during the summer and finalized with a diploma considering the respective topic.

Some of them are worth mentioning: disruptive market innovation through design, future trends, global innovation, design thinking and innovation, and visual communication.

In addition to these short courses, the college also organizes summer schools, conferences, and workshops. Students have all chances to reach their maximum potential by attending the Royal College of Art.

Final thoughts: Top 10 Graphic Design Schools Around the Globe

Considering all of the universities mentioned above, you should thoroughly think about it and decide. High academic performances do make a difference in the way your career is going to evolve. As a graphic designer, staying up to date with the latest trends and permanent improving your knowledge and ski is important.

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