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November 2, 2017updated 22 Jul 2021 3:08pm

Best design schools in the world

By Spear's

Best design schools in the world

Over the past few decades, previously non-existent design strands have come to life as technology has enveloped the world around us, from motion to interaction and communication design.

Digital, product, fashion, graphic or industrial designer, there’s genuinely never been a more exciting – or crucial – time to be involved in the industry.

Here Spear’s takes a look at a diverse selection of some of the best design schools from around the globe, responsible for generating the next crop of designers and innovators who will shape the world we live in.

Read on to discover some of the Best Design Schools in the World…

The Royal College of Art, London

The world’s oldest art and design school, The Royal College of Art – or the RCA as it’s more commonly known – is renowned for its leading design programmes.

The university offers the opportunity to specialise in product, interaction, service and vehicle design – among others – and has enviable industry links, with many students going on to work for multinational corporations including Apple, Sony and Unilever.

Its new Global Innovation Design Masters – in collaboration with Imperial College London – offers students the chance to study at both Keio University in Tokyo and the Pratt Institute in New York within their first year.

Parsons The New School for Design, New York

Situated in Greenwich Village, Parsons The New School for Design has been a global leader in design innovation for over a century.

Part of liberal arts university The New School, Parsons consists of five schools – including one exclusively dedicated to ‘design strategies’. Here, students can study design business and management as well as a unique MFA in transdisciplinary design.

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Parsons Paris – a European sister school – opened its doors in Autumn 2013 and offers bachelor and master degree design programmes.

IIT Institute of Design, Chicago

Founded in 1937 by a former Bauhaus teacher, the IIT Institute of Design was the first school in the US to offer a PhD in design back in 1991.

Part of the Illinois Institute of Technology, the graduate-only school is one of the leading facilities in the world for design research.

It offers a PhD in Design as well as a Master of Design degree program which encompasses product, interaction design and strategic design.

The school is also responsible for an unprecedented dual Master of Design and MBA degree program in collaboration with the IIT Stuart School of Business.

Aalto University School of Arts Design and Architecture, Helsinki

Formed via the merging of Finland’s leading architectural and arts institutions, Aalto’s world renowned arts school is a leader in the field of design research.

‘Sustainable development’ is an overarching research theme and the school is also home to the Aalto Studios – a media centre that weaves together the players of the creative economy.

A wealth of academic resource and activity means Aalto is a thriving hub for innovative contemporary design and the school regularly collaborates with global brands such as Nokia, Toyota, Panasonic, Kodak and Canon.

Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands

Regularly cited as the best design school in Europe, Design Academy Eindhoven is a totally unique institution.

All of its 150 tutors are working professionals, giving students an authentic glimpse into the realities of contemporary design.

The undergraduate programme spans architecture, art, fashion design, graphic design and industrial design and students are encouraged to collaborate and explore a variety disciplines with an emphasis on the practical.

In addition, the school’s ‘Friends of the Academy’ programme – which includes Nike, Volkswagen, NS and Forbo Flooring – offers students the chance to experience the challenges of the industry first hand.

China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

In 1950, the National Art School in Beijing and the fine arts department of North China University merged to create one of China’s most prestigious art academies.

Still under the direct control of the Ministry of Education, the School of Design and College of City Design at the academy advocate a modern, multi-disciplinary approach.

Students can study from undergraduate through to post-doctorate research level across a broad range of areas including: product design, graphic design, fashion design, design theory and design management.

Pratt Institute, New York

With one of the highest ranked art and design schools in the US, New York’s Pratt Institute has managed to keep apace of what is a quickly moving industry.

Offering both undergrad and post grad programmes in digital, graphic, package, interior, motion and communications design, the institute is also widely regarded as having one of the best industrial design degree courses in the country.

Students come from over 60 countries and all 50 states to study at Pratt, with an alumni list that includes notable names such as fashion designers Ben de Lisi and Betsey Johnson.

Stanford Design Programme, Stanford University, California

With a highly selective intake of just 10 to 15 students per year, Stanford University is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious addresses at which to study innovative design in the US.

Its university design programme also has close links with Stanford’s ‘‘, a collaborative project set up in 2005 between Stanford and the University of Potsdam, with an emphasis on human-centred ‘design thinking’.

Here, students from a wide variety of disciplines are given the opportunity to work in partnership with worldwide brands like Google, Facebook, Procter & Gamble, WalMart and Electronic Arts on design briefs, with many going on to create successful start-ups.

More from Spear’s

Best fashion schools in the world

Best architecture schools in the world

From modern design to the First World War: highlights of the London Art, Antiques and Interiors Fair

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