Best Graphic Design School?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by videotape, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. videotape macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2007
    I can't seem to find a good list of the best schools for Graphic Design majors...Which are the most respected? Best education? Anyone have an opinion they would like to share? Any graphic design majors want to share their college experience? From what I've heard word of mouth some of the best are Art Center in Pasadena, Cal State Long Beach, and RISD. Thoughts?
  2. Sir SpemzR macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2009
    Inland Empire
    have u tried looking at FIDM in Los Angeles?
    i know the name sounds kind of not artsy (Fashion Institute in Design and Merchandising)
    But i went there to check it out as one of my options and i loved it.
    really nice. small classes wit huge Mac's :)apple:)
    i plan on attending this fall
    they are hugely respected and have A LOT of connections once u graduate

    Graphic Design @ FIDM

    check it out. :D
  3. videotape thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2007
    They don't have a bachelors degree program for graphic design though, do they? Just the two year one I think...could be wrong.
  4. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
  5. Sir SpemzR macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2009
    Inland Empire
    yea they dont. :(
    the bachelors helps over the designated associates degree
    but, i know a few people that hire graphic designers for companies
    and they say it doesnt matter what school you went to, its whats in your portfolio.
  6. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
  7. Sir SpemzR macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2009
    Inland Empire
    i looked at AI...i didnt like it thought
    the buildings out here were so plain and simple

    and where they placed they didnt have good atmospheres

    ...i look into all that because when ur doing something that takes a lot
    of creativity, u need to be able to look at your atmosphere for inspiration
  8. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    its not about "best" - that really does not exist anymore. You have to find a design program who's philosophy and interests match yours.

    Some programs are commercial, and have lots of corporate connections. Some schools are traditional. Some are print focused. Some are technology focused. Some are production oriented.

    Some very well known and well respected schools have struggled to update themselves in the face of new technologies. Some smaller, more nimble programs are coming up fast and making names for themselves.

    I will freely admit however that the NAME on on your diploma can open doors for you, even if the program is not as strong as it was years ago.

    This is open to debate, but I would push you towards programs that offer a BFA in design over those who offer BAs. BFA is considered a "practical" degree and requires more studio time credit-wise.
  9. Bimmi macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    I attended the Art Institute of Seattle from 1990 to 1992. Dreadful school, fantastically unprofessional in every way, and a degree that is pretty much looked on as a joke by employers. Worst decision of my life and a massive debt that I will NEVER be able to pay off.

    Granted, this was almost 20 years ago, but I felt I should throw that out there.
  10. melissarae macrumors regular


    May 2, 2008
    tampa, florida
    i got my associates in graphic design at the International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT) in Tampa... and i just signed up to start the online bachelors program in graphic design at the end of this month. i'm pretty excited!! it's an awesome school... that has grown so much over the past 8 years or so. i recommend it highly!
  11. Azin Squeeze macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    I go to Drexel University in Philadelphia. Its a decent sized school but also really expensive (roughly $40,000 a year). I'm loving my experience here but sometimes you just wonder because some classes you just ask yourself why do I have to take it, but somehow it all relates to the field and helps you to succeed.

    The graphic design program is also getting bigger and bigger each year. Plus its a very respectful program in the industry (at least they say it is, but from my experience it really seems like it is).

    Personally its one of the best decisions for me coming here. Check the website out.

    Here's the programs website
  12. kymac macrumors 6502a


    Nov 4, 2006
    a graphic design degree online.. that sounds like an awful idea! most of my learning and growth comes from the critiques and peer reviews.. i don't know how this could possibly be achieved online.. sure learning foundations or terminology can be done with out face to face contact, but then you may as well learn from the library!
  13. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Take a look at:

    This is the "Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design" and its 36 member schools are the best "freestanding" colleges of art and design in the country.

    freestanding means they are art schools - RISD, MassArt, MICA, Ringling, SVA, ArtCenter and more -- not art programs within a liberal arts college.

    Not on this list are "for profit" educational institutions like the Art Institutes, Full Sail and several other programs listed in this thread. Make sure you fully understand the difference between a regular college or university and "for profit" institutions like AI, etc.

    and on a final note: While many of the programs in AICAD would vie from year to year to be "best", many studio owners I know in the interactive industry (and advertising industry) actually prefer to hire liberal arts majors, not people with lots of studio arts training. The "art school" people (i'm one myself) are good with form, but increasingly do not have the broad education that is often valued in a company that works across multiple media.
  14. bluetooth macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2007
    Good point. For the most part it does not really matter what type of school you go to, as long as you have some decent formal design training.

    Your portfolio will be as important if not more, then any degree on the wall, be it undergraduate or graduate. Schooling is essential in your understanding of design fundamentals, but a lot of your development will come within the industry.

    Once you get out there and start working, you will learn a lot of things that are essential in this indstry, things you cannot learn in a classroom. If your program has a placement, or when applying for a first time design job, I strongly urge you to look for a position where you can work with or shadow a good, competent, decent, senior level designer. Working along side somone of this nature will teach you valuable skills both in design and the industry itself.
  15. JustLikeYou macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    I attend the Graphic Design program at USF St. Petersburg. Not a huge name by any means at all, and it's a small program with 18 admitted students per year and 3 teachers... but I wouldn't trade their knowledge for the world. I made it a point to meet the professors at the schools I was looking at, and I felt so comfortable with them against other schools. That's what was important to me - that the professors believed in my talent and would push me when they saw potential in a certain area. Some schools didn't seem to care that much.

    Also, schools like Ringling and SCAD are more concerned with "can you pay?" than "do you have talent?" Two of my professors taught at Ringling and SCAD, and the portfolios that come out of those schools are very cookie-cutter. You follow a formula and you produce a beautiful portfolio, but it's not personal.

    But that's just my pennies ;)
  16. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I got a bachealors in Industrial Design from UIUC (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and loved it there. Granted I believe our Industrial Design program was ranked higher than Graphic Design I believe, however I had quite a few friends in that program and they really liked it.

    It's a large large college, but it's a state school and not too expensive, but has a lot of opportunities to double major or minor in other areas and increase your marketability. You can come out with a good portfolio and a degree from a school that has a very high "public ivy" reputation and probably, if you so choose multiple other experiences and classes/knowledge on your resume.

    I am a fan of large schools with other very well known programs (like engineering and architecture at UIUC ranks very high too) as you have the opportunity to possibly partner with people in those programs and maybe even make connections beyond your scope of major. In a job market and economy like this, the more you can experience while getting the technical knowledge and building your design portfolio the better.

    Just my 2 cents. :)
  17. eleven2brett macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2008
    When I was still thinking about a career in motion graphics I considered going to Full Sail in Orlando. They have an amazing program there. I got to visit last fall. Their Campus is incredible. Their programs are set up for you to get your bachelor's degree in 2 years, so it's pretty intense. Defiantly on the pricey side though.
  18. xomissjaye macrumors newbie


    Jul 14, 2009
    East Coast
    hey awesome!

    Hey awesome! I'm going there this fall :] do you like it so far? :D
  19. Azin Squeeze macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2008
    I love it! You can really see how your skills increase from term to term. Plus nothing beats the social life.

    It was seriously my best decision ever.
  20. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    Check out the University of Wisconsin-Stout. They have a strong program.
  21. Jonathon71 Suspended

    Nov 23, 2014
  22. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2015
    on the land line mr. smith.
  23. Larry-K, Feb 13, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016

    Larry-K macrumors 68000

    Jun 28, 2011
    No, no no!

    You may not know this, but their largest group of graduates are in the "Culinary Arts".

    These places are diploma mills, We had a girl intern who had gone there as a cheaper alternative to Art Center. Four years late she was $105K in debt with a diploma nobody takes seriously. An Art Center Degree might have cost a little more, but she would have gotten a top notch design education and a way to get her foot in the door at top studios.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2016 ---
    You don't find it odd, that according to this list, all the 'World's best graphic design school" are in the United States?

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