Highest Honors: Top Design Schools
In our last edition, GDUSA published its annual Students To Watch roundup. The students were so interesting – and so many readers have asked to learn more about the schools which nurture them – that we’ve compiled a roundup of the institutions represented – as well as a handful of other favorites. The theme: education is more important than ever as the lines between the studio and the classroom, the office and the academy, continue to blur.
ACADEMY OF ART UNIVERSITY, SAN FRANCISCO
With more than 18,000 students, Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design university in the nation. Founded in 1929, the school offers accredited AA, BA, BFA, B. Arch*, MA, MFA and M. Arch degree programs in 23 areas of study, as well as continuing art education and pre-college programs for high school students. Flexible online degree programs are available in most areas of study, including graphic design. What makes Academy of Art University’s School of Graphic Design rise above the rest is its emphasis on portfolio development. From the very first class, students are encouraged to create an exceptional portfolio that demonstrates their skill in traditional drawing and painting as well as their well-rounded education in typography, print and editorial design, branding, information design, web design and packaging. When graphic design graduates venture into the highly competitive graphic design industry, they are not hoping to gain experience, but rather build upon the experience they have already accumulated at the Academy. Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WASC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD) and NAAB (B. Arch, M. Arch).
T 800.544.2787 (U.S. only) or 415.274.2200
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL + GRAPHIC DESIGN
The Auburn Graphic Design Program prepares students to practice visual communication in a competitive global environment. Auburn’s nationally-regarded Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design is NASAD accredited and emphasizes visual/digital interface design, packaging, exhibitions, publication design, logos, identity development, illustration, and fine arts. Students experience personalized hands-on design instruction in a professional studio environment with a strong sense of community among students and faculty. The program is housed among other prestigious design disciplines within Auburn University's beautiful traditional campus setting.
CALIFORNIA COLLEGE OF THE ARTS (CCA)
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is an independent art college offering 22 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs in the areas of design, fine arts, architecture, and writing. It has campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, and currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students. The college educates students to shape culture and society through practice and critical study. Graphic design at CCA is a media-blind discipline that engages the mind and the senses by translating ideas – from simple to complex – into the communication of information, emotion, and reflection. Taught by some of the most recognized practitioners, scholars, and theorists working today, our graphic design students learn to identify problems and find solutions that move people to think, feel, and act. Finely honed and constantly self-evaluated, our program has been recognized for its consistently high level of teaching as well as for its remarkable, award-winning student work.
DREXEL UNIVERSITY, ANTOINETTE WESTPHAL COLLEGE OF MEDIA ARTS & DESIGN
Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers sixteen undergraduate and six graduate degree programs all of which are predominantly studio based. The College maintains an award-winning faculty of industry practitioners who emphasize the use of the latest technologies. Westphal College is home to the Mandell Theater, the Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel’s television (DUTV) and radio (WKDU 91.7 FM) stations, the Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies, MAD Dragon Records and Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection. The Graphic Design program prepares students to inform, persuade and entertain through the creative use of word and image and a balance of traditional and technical artistic studies. Graphic Design students learn to conceptualize, design and produce visual communication in books, magazines, posters, ads, packaging, web sites, interactive media, information systems, exhibition design, motion and many other forms of media. Students use this work to develop an expansive portfolio, which, along with six-month co-op experiences, prepares them for successful employment after graduation.
FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
Full Sail University is an educational leader for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industries. Founded in 1979, it currently provides 44 degree programs for 17,000 students, and boasts 42,000 graduates. Full Sail has been recognized as one of the “Top Five Game Degree Programs” by Electronic Gaming Monthly and one of the “Best Music Programs” by Rolling Stone Magazine. It has been similarly recognized as among the best in the country for film, new media, and social media, and was recently named the “School/College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges. Full Sail offers on-campus and online Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree programs in areas related to animation, art, business, education, graphic design, film, marketing, web development, music, recording arts, sports, and video games. A program of particular interest to GDUSA readers is the Media Design MFA that can be earned online in 12 months. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR, Emmy, GRAMMY, ADDY, MTV Video Music Award, and Spike Video Game Award nominated and winning projects.
KANSAS CITY ART INSTITUTE (KCAI)
Founded in 1885, the Kansas City Art Institute is one of the oldest colleges of art and design in the United States. Today, KCAI is a premier private, fully accredited, four-year college of art and design. Students studying for the B.F.A. degree can choose from a variety of majors, including animation, art history, ceramics, creative writing, digital filmmaking, digital media, fiber, graphic design, illustration, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Notable graduates include multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg; ceramic artists Richard Notkin and Akio Takamori; graphic designer April Greiman, and sculptors Robert Morris, Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler. Walt Disney took Saturday art classes at KCAI, his only formal training in art. Consistently recognized for its rigorous, diverse curriculum, the school’s academic programs are strengthened by first-rate support services, technology and practical learning opportunities. KCAI’s scenic 15-acre campus situates students between the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the college’s gallery, the H&R Block Artspace, is located about two blocks from main campus.
T 800.522.5224 W www.kcai.edu
MARYLAND INSTITUTE COLLEGE OF ART (MICA)
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls 1863 undergraduate and 306 graduate students from 48 states and 54 countries, offering programs of study leading to BFA, MA, MFA and MPS degrees, as well as post-baccalaureate certificate programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/ Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists. All of the above have earned MICA top rankings by U.S. News & World Report, The Chronicle of Higher Education, ID magazine, GDUSA, and others.
T 410.669.9200 W www.mica.edu
OTIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN
Established in 1918, Otis is the first independent professional school of art in Los Angeles. The City of Angels is a cultural capital and its 524 cultural institutions and more than 100 different languages evince its diversity, and make it a stimulating place to study art and design. When students graduate, they join the professional communities of entertainment, art, design and fashion. Alumni and faculty are leaders in these communities and support recent graduates. Graphic Design majors concentrate on research, formal application and experimentation, technological proficiency, and innovative outcomes. The goal is to develop critical thinking and visual communication tools for careers in a changing and competitive workplace. During senior year students explore conceptual, theoretical, and experimental projects through individual proposals. They meet in cross-disciplinary teams led by faculty advisors and guest critics. The research and production methodologies developed during this year integrate personal vision with professional goals. Graduates value structure, surface and form, but also consider the engagements and interactions of design with clients, audiences, and the culture at large.
T 800.527.OTIS W www.otis.edu
PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN
Based in New York but active around the world, this leading institution offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Parsons’ five schools, which encompass 27 rigorous undergraduate, associates and graduate degree programs, offer options for both focused training and interdisciplinary study. The School of Art, Media, and Technology embodies the frisson between art and design, with programs in Communication Design, Design and Technology, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. The AAS in Graphics Design can be completed on campus, online or in combination and goes beyond basic technical knowledge to provide a complete design education. Students will gain the tools to launch a professional career in graphic design and be challenged to take their skills to another level. The program investigates up-to-the-minute tools and trends of the trade, including web design, while providing a solid foundation in the traditional practices and concepts of graphic design.
T 212.229.8989 W www.newschool.edu/parsons
PENNSYLVANIA COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN
Pennsylvania College of Art & Design is a non-profit, professional art college offering four-year BFA programs in Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Photography, and beginning in Fall 2014, a major in Digital Media. The program attracts aspiring professional artists who want to study in an urban environment, and within a community that actively supports the arts. The College’s graduates are strong thinkers, strong makers and strong communicators; 97 percent of those in the Class of 2012 are employed or pursuing additional education. In 2010, PCA&D opened the new 9,200 square foot design center, which consolidated and enhanced all of the digital aspects of the College under one roof. Students from all disciplines connect their creative energies in one dynamic environment which has been named the Suzanne H. and Ronald D. Schrotberger Design Center in honor of the Schrotberger's generosity toward the College. Today, PCA&D is an economic driver in the city of Lancaster PA and a leader in the art, education and business communities. During the 2011-2012 year, the school marked its 30th anniversary.
T 717.396.7833 W www.pcad.edu
PHILADELPHIA UNIVERSITY, KANBAR COLLEGE OF DESIGN, ENGINEERING AND COMMERCE
The mission of the Graphic Design Communication program is to cultivate design strategists with an innovative spirit and superior critical thinking skills applicable to a diversity of human needs. Consistent with the University’s mission to provide professional training with a rigorous Liberal Arts and Business core, the Graphic Design Communication curriculum fosters an appreciation for design as a cultural craft with a relevant historical background, and a rapidly evolving future across multiple disciplines. The program develops students who can contribute intelligently and responsibly at a global level to further the common good. The program is conceptually based as a designers’ highest value is to be able to generate ideas – that a designers’ intellectual property is his/her creative capital. The curriculum culminates with a B.S. degree: it embraces design thinking and strategic planning; features real-world assignments based on hands-on learning; and emphasizes traditional design skills and the ability to create and develop visual and verbal responses to complex visual communication problems across a variety of media. Students develop the ability to articulate these responses both orally and in writing. Student work regularly has won awards or been recognized by major design competitions, exhibitions and publications.
T 215.951.2700 W www.philau.edu/graphicdesign
Portfolio Center is a graduate-level communication arts school whose mission is to prepare students for creative practice and inevitable leadership. Thanks to a small, intimate environment, the school is able to break the boundaries of traditional instruction. The education is hands-on and interactive; there are no lectures, and no one gets lost in the crowd. Believing in the importance of good design, design that is useful and beautiful, students learn to render content with real meaning and to create innovative solutions that actually contribute to the culture. And, says Director of Design Hank Richardson, “Because great communication begins with sound reasoning, we train students to think.” As the first school of its kind, Portfolio Center has been around for more than 30 years. Portfolio Center offers both full time and part time intensive programs under the expert guidance of seasoned, working professionals and students graduate with a Certificate of Professional Studies in Art Direction, Copywriting, Design, Web Design, Illustration or Photography.
Globally recognized for its distinguished academic reputation, Pratt Institute is one of the world's most prestigious independent colleges. Founded in 1887, Pratt offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to 4,700 students from around the world in architecture, art and design, information and library science, and liberal arts and sciences. Pratt's programs are consistently ranked among the best in the country, and its faculty and alumni include the most renowned artists, designers, and scholars in their fields who collectively have produced some of the most innovative and iconic works of our time. Pratt's inspirational campuses in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn and in Manhattan on West 14th Street places it in one of the world’s cultural epicenters and provides its students with unparalleled training facilities. Pratt’s Undergraduate Communications Design department is the only program in the country to recognize and embody the convergence and integration of illustration, advertising and graphic design as the primary forces for the visual expression of ideas. And its Graduate Communications Design department has been educating graphic and package designers for over 40 years.
T 718.636.3600 W www.pratt.edu
PRATTMWP COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN
PrattMWP students spend their years immersed in, not one, but two strikingly different environments with lively art cultures. Students who select this route complete the first two years of their program on the Utica campus and are then guaranteed a seamless relocation to Pratt’s main Brooklyn campus at the beginning of their junior year. The PrattMWP campus allows students to achieve all the prestige and benefits of a Pratt art education at a location that develops their confidence, their individual voice and their insight into the world. PrattMWP shares its campus with the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, which offers collections, exhibits, classes and events that attract artists and art enthusiasts from around the globe. Focusing on foundations of art in an intimate creative community, PrattMWP offers majors in Fine Arts, Communications Design, Art Education, and Photography. It is the perfect choice for students who prefer to transition to the big city with advanced skills and a tight group of friends. Communications Design students have recently been recognized by GDUSA, Print, NOW, UNESCO, Creative Quarterly, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the United States Mint.
T 800.755.8920 W www.mwpai.edu
RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN (RISD)
Founded in 1877, RISD is one of the oldest and best-known colleges of art and design in the U.S. Each year approximately 2,300 students from around the world pursue a creative, studio-based education at RISD, which offers rigorous bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 19 architecture, design, fine arts and art education majors. The college is located in Providence, which offers its own vibrant art scene and is conveniently located between two other major cultural centers: Boston and New York. RISD has a long and venerable history, and has a deep and abiding belief in the value of a discipline-based, immersive art and design education with a strong liberal arts component. Its diverse programs in Architecture + Design, Fine Arts, Foundation Studies, Graduate Studies and Liberal Arts are rigorous, probing and supportive of learning and community-building across a broad spectrum of curricular and co-curricular options. Experts in their respective fields, RISD faculty are also extraordinarily dedicated teachers.
T 401.454.6100 W www.risd.edu
THE SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN (SCAD)
Offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university, SCAD is uniquely qualified to prepare talented students for professional, creative careers. SCAD is a private, nonprofit institution, awarding bachelors and master’s degrees. Class size is small, allowing each student the opportunity to receive individual attention. Faculty members have distinguished backgrounds in their fields. The international faculty and student body come from all 50 states and 100 countries. In Savannah GA, SCAD offers a full university experience, while their Atlanta campus hums with creative and entrepreneurial energy. International campuses in Hong Kong and Lacoste, France offer firsthand experiences at world-renowned festivals, visits to famed historic locations and close encounters with some of the most famous works of art ever created.
T 800.869.7223 (Savannah)
SCHOOL OF ADVERTISING ART (SAA)
The School of Advertising Art is a small college with one focus – graphic design. SAA offers personalized training to aspiring designers, preparing students for successful careers in the advertising industry. The SAA Associate Degree Program is a two-year program that leads to a degree in Applied Business in Advertising Art. The program consists of design courses that focus on creativity, typography, graphic design, photography, Web design, traditional illustration, digital illustration, 3D illustration, animation, video, art direction and professional development. Students learn the principles of writing for advertising, as well as presentation skills. SAA is committed to providing career services to recent graduates and alumni and with an average placement rate of 93%; SAA has a strong reputation among employers for educating designers who are creative and prepared for the demands of the advertising industry.
SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS (SVA)
SVA is widely recognized as one of the finest art schools in the country for its innovative and experimental program philosophies, its participation in the cultural life of New York City, and the accessibility it offers to its unparalleled faculty of professional artists. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. The mission of SVA is to educate future generations of artists, designers and creative professionals with undergraduate degree programs in art and design, rigorous and practice-based graduate programs in the visual arts and its allied fields and a continuing education program intended to meet the diverse needs of NYC’s professional art and design community. SVA is home to 11 undergraduate and 21 graduate degree programs in fields that range from fine arts to graphic design, photography to filmmaking, art criticism to art education. Together, the departments cover a broad range of creative endeavors, employ industry-leading professionals as faculty members and offer numerous and varied opportunities for students to engage with their chosen field.
SESSIONS COLLEGE FOR PROFESSIONAL DESIGN
Sessions College for Professional Design is a fully online school of visual arts offering degree and certificate programs in graphic design, Web design, digital media, and more. Founded in 1997, the school prepares students all over the world for careers in art and design by providing a thorough training in the technical, creative, and critical thinking skills required for professional practice. The Sessions College Graphic Design program is an intensive two-year Associate degree in which students build a foundation in design concepts and software skills and explore a range of media including page layout, print production, packaging, and branding and marketing.
Want to channel that energy and passion into a truly rewarding career? For over 15 years Shillington has been teaching people to kickstart a career in the graphic design industry. Starting with a foundation in design theory and processes, the course moves quickly to have students designing beautifully considered, effective design solutions for print and digital media. In three months (full-time) or within one year (part-time), graduates have with a commercially relevant portfolio marked by technical prowess and creative flair. The school’s objective: to create a positive and inspirational learning environment in which students are taught relevant industry skills, ensuring they have the best possible chance of employment as a designer.
T 212 682 6611 W www.shillingtonschool.com
THE ART INSTITUTE OF TAMPA, MIAMI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF ART & DESIGN
The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, is one of The Art Institutes, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Institute offers programs and degrees in Culinary Arts, Digital Image Management, Fashion, Web Design & Development, Graphic Design, Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, Digital Photography, Game Art & Design, Interior Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics and Interactive Media. Coursework is reviewed and influenced by industry leaders and prominent employers who determine what skills are needed in the workplace. Many of the University’s faculty members also are working in their respective fields outside of the classroom. The Graphic Design programs at AI Tampa teach students to combine form and function into a concept or product that is visually compelling and meets consumer needs.
T 866.703.3277 W www.artinstitutes.edu/tampa
THE COLLEGE OF SAINT ROSE, CENTER FOR ART & DESIGN
The College of Saint Rose Center for Art and Design encourages freedom of expression and challenges students to reach the fullest potential. The College’s BFA in Graphic Design provides the tools and opportunity to complete extraordinary design solutions. The full-time graphic design faculty has earned the highest degrees in the field and come to the classroom as published designers and experienced teachers. The College has been named one of the top design schools in the country by the Art Directors Club NY. Students have secured internships and job placement at nationally acclaimed design firms such as MTV, Abercrombie and Fitch, Anthropologie, Converse, Fox Studios, Nike, ESPN, and Hallmark, as well as with renowned designers such as Michael Beirut, Alexander Isley, April Greiman, Woody Pirtle, Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser. Almost 100% of graphic design graduates achieve full employment in their field, within one year of graduation. Prospective employers are invited to campus to meet students and view portfolios, and the seniors attend job fairs and portfolio reviews. Additionally, graduates have been accepted into prestigious graduate programs including Yale, Stanford, Tyler School of Art, SVA, SCAD, RISD, VCU, RIT, Syracuse and Kent State, the program has alumni living and working in 33 states and abroad.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI COLLEGE OF DESIGN, ARCHITECTURE, ART, AND PLANNING (DAAP)
The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) houses nationally top-ranked programs in architecture and design that highlight the college’s award-winning faculty (many with industry experience) as well as the university’s renowned cooperative education program. Via the university’s co-op program, ranked in the nation’s top 10 by U.S. News & World Report, all design students are required to work professionally paid semesters with design employers around the globe. These students graduate with 20 months of such professional experience on their resumes and in their portfolios. Graphic communication design students at UC earn an average of $48,000 over their five co-op semesters, working for in-demand, global employers like LPK headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio; Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif.; Doblin of Chicago, Ill.; Gallagher & Associates near Washington, D.C.; Pentagram Design headquartered in New York City; Target Corporation in Minneapolis, Minn.; and sporting goods company Salomon, headquartered in Annecy, France.