Top 10 – Best Graphic Design Schools in the World 2016

The Best Graphic Design Schools in the World

Today, graphic design artists not only have to have the fundamental skills of drawing and evoking emotion, but they also need to have a global and cultural awareness that infuses their problem solving skills. Nearly all programs on this list include real-world exercises, collective debriefing, critique and exercises in problem solving.

There is no doubt that beginning a journey in graphic design requires a fairly clear idea about the kind of path one wants to take. If nothing else, a quick perusal of these programs will highlight the main trends in modern graphic design education. One detail to consider is that most of the tuition costs listed in this article do not include housing expenses. While some of these programs do offer on-campus housing, others do not but can help with finding a host family, or other kinds of housing.

Best Graphic Design Schools in the World

Read More:

Disclaimer: This ranking was made through available information to author and is meant to be another source of information only.  It is not advisable to solely rely on this article for decision making.


1. Florence Design School, Florence, Italy

Best Graphic Design Schools in the World

FDS offers undergraduate and graduate programs in graphic design that are presented in 1, 2 or 3 year lengths. The programs are roughly the equivalent of a certificate, Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree respectively. FDS prides itself on offering a traditional education in areas like drawing, and studying great works of art in Italy’s renowned museums, coupled with the digital education artists need for today. There is a heavy emphasis on portfolio building for all students.

Best Graphic Design Schools in the World

Best Graphic Design Schools in the World

All courses are taught in English, but students have access to free Italian language courses. Instructors at FDS are working professionals in the areas of traditional graphic design, graphic art, digital design, 3D graphics, 3D animations, character design, and comic art.  Software used throughout the program is up-to-date and includes 3D Studio Max, V-Ray, Sketchup, Flash, Rhino 3D, AutoCAD, PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, GoLive, Acrobat, Indesign, Revit, Inventor, Alias and more.

There are a number of unique options in this program, for example a course on how to use Venetian plaster, as well as other obscure skills that can give your portfolio an edge.

Enrollment is quite simple, just fill out the form and provide the necessary documentation.  Yet do not let this fact detract from the quality education this program provides.

Enrollment information is available here


2. Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, USA

This prestigious school has been at the forefront of graphic design for 85 years. The graphic design program at Pasadena takes seriously the fact that graphic design today forces students to become competent with traditional skills, as well as with motion, culture, and various media which are fluid. Emphasis is placed on teaching students how to change with an industry that refuses to stand still.

This program integrates design with modern business elements; a great choice for artists who are also entrepreneurs.

The program spans over 8 terms with classes in narrative sketching, motion graphics and transmedia just to name a few. The program offers unique exchange student opportunities both in the US and in the EU.

Nearly all faculty are working professionals and many are graduates of Art Center themselves. There are two campuses, both in Pasadena.

Cost is comparable to many private schools in the USA at about $40,000 per year. The other nice feature of this school is that it offers classes to the public at reasonable costs, and has a highly diverse international student body.


3. Pacific Design Academy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

This program offers an in-depth education in graphic media design including courses in, illustration, typography, copywriting, marketing principles, photography, image manipulation and classic manual illustration.

While providing this, state of the art Adobe and other software programs competency is integrated.  One unique aspect of this program is that it offers a course in sound design and videography.  Tuition is approximately $22,000 per year (including all major program expenses). Housing costs are separate. Full and part-time programs are available.

Part time program appear to be offered “a la carte” with courses such as Adobe, pattern works and vector drafting. The graphic design program offers a thorough education in design concepts, illustration, typography, copywriting, marketing principles, the business of graphic media and creative problem solving.

Photography, image manipulation and classic manual illustration techniques are applied to projects using current industry design software programs: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Dreamweaver. Students are required to complete projects in advertising for print media, posters, corporate identity, package design, and self-promotion.



4. The New School, New York, USA

One of the finest schools in the world, this program can be completed online or on campus. Students can earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. A great feature is the ability to select an accelerated program that allows students to finish an Associate’s degree in about 1 year. This program focuses on building a professional portfolio and provides a complete education in design. Suited for students with no design experience or those who already have a portfolio.

Students can take courses from anywhere through the school’s online learning portal. Online courses offered for credit comply with all university academic guidelines and policies, and many online classes fulfill Parsons’ certificate requirements.

The New School heralds an impressive faculty of over 1,100 full and part-time instructors. All represent the highest skill levels in their fields. Tuition is approximately $23,000 per year (about $1600 per credit).



5. Aalto University School of Design and Architecture, Aalto, Finland

This graphic design program focuses on training students to create user-centered designs that are feasible in a global and sustainable environment. Students use various technologies including three-dimensional expressions.

Emphasis is placed on helping students prepare to be design professionals in an industry with rapidly changing tools and needs. This program teaches students the concepts and methods of the arts and sciences of design, with emphasis on communication and collaborative skills. This program appears to allow students to create their own list of skills they want to master, which could be useful for students who already have an idea about what kind of work they want to do.

Graduates become design professionals with international versatility for working in the many areas of design and are prepared to be entrepreneurs for businesses, cultural institutions and other private industry jobs. Students are encouraged and trained to be creative artist professionals who are able to collaborate and problem solve critically and responsibly. This program offers students competence in basic design tasks within experimental design, mass product packaging and service design.



6. Rhode Island School of Design, USA

Offering both a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and a Masters, this program is one of the most prestigious in the USA.

The BA degree is 4 years and RISD offers a 2 or 3-year MA program. The curriculum is steeped in foundational skill classes for the first 2 years, and then veers more toward accentuating student’s personal interests and strengths.

Courses cover everything from book design, magazine and posters, websites and packaging design. RISD touts a design center with studios for students to work in. Here, there is access to traditional and digital printing, bookbinding, screen-printing, paper making and more resources. The program is proud to host visiting designers each year in addition to the regular faculty. Full time tuition is approximately $46,000 per year. Courses are offered on campus.



7. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, USA

The graphic design program here is entitled ‘communication design’, where students may earn a bachelor’s degree.

What makes this program different from many others is what is called the Communication Co-op Program. This is an optional program students can pursue in addition to their BA. It includes professional development coursework and three semesters of paid cooperative education work in communication.

For the Bachelor’s degree, years one through three of studio work for Communication Design is comprised of courses such as foundational drawing and design, typography, design ideation, photo design, and kinetic communication. Along with these, students take general education requirements, directed electives, design history, and interdisciplinary courses in design thinking and user-centered design.

There are three campuses and tuition varies from $6,000 to $11,000 per year.




8. University of Arts London, London, UK

Unlike many other programs, some programs at UAL require a strong portfolio prior to admission. This makes this program more difficult to enter. For those who do have a “strong” and varied portfolio which demonstrates competence in various foundation skills, UAL is a great program. But even if you do not have a portfolio, UAL has a program to suit you. Students can apply to participate in The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. This is a year-long course where students explore various art and design disciplines and build a portfolio. UAL offers many specific specializations for those who are very clear about what they want to do in the graphic design field. Tuition is 12,000 British Pounds per year.



9. Cranbook Academy of Art, Detroit, USA

At this school, the graphic design department is called “The 2D Department”. It prides itself on overlapping between communication and art. This program appears to include a heavier element of critique and debriefing than some of the other schools in this article. Students are encouraged to talk about their design and problem solve at a number of levels. As one reads the descriptions, they will see the phrase “at the threshold between design and art” used over and over. The focus of this program is on “making”, the process, the event of creating. The program includes much studio time for students as well as writing about and evaluation their own and others creations. Tuition is approximately $35,000 per academic year.



10. Creapole Ecole de Creation Management, Paris, France

Settling in a career of your choice with advanced graphic learning features covered in this French college will let you ultimate features in an exceptional manner. Instead of settling with your learning requirements without any positive results obtained, you need to consider the best available features as per the ultimate priorities you got.



Special Mention :


The Design School Southern Africa, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, South Africa

Best Graphic Design Schools in the World

Offers a 3 year program Bachelor’s degree on campus.  There are three campuses to select from: Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.

Best Graphic Design Schools in the World 2016 : Top 10 Today, graphic design artists not only have to have the fundamental skills of drawing and evoking emotion, but they also need to have a global and cultural awareness that infuses their problem solving skills. Nearly all programs on this list include real-world exe

The focus of this school is to foster artists who are able to think creatively to solve problems in a field that changes quickly because of advances in technology and design needs. Emphasis is on training artists who can “do it all”, from concept to design to product.

Students learn to apply the correct equipment, materials and techniques for various situations using both computer graphics and traditional graphic design skills. Integration and experimentation across subject areas are actively encouraged and students are offered the opportunity to develop a professionally tutored portfolio of work suitable for application to the industry.


Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, PRC

As the department description reiterates “this program is NOT a visual arts program”. Instead the focus is on purposeful design. Heavy emphasis is on critical thinking and problem solving to design successfully under given real-world constraints.  Students explore how typography and imagery evoke emotions and cause reactions from viewers. Studio work focuses on design for information, identity and experience. This is a 6-year program for a BA in Communication Design.  All classes are conducted in English. Estimated costs are HK$120,000 per academic year.


University of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland


Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå, Sweden


Apart from gaining the unique distinction of reported as one of the top design colleges in the field of graphics in Business Week, this college is best regarded for the exciting range of features provided to the students.

Creapole Ecole de Creation Management, Paris, France

Settling in a career of your choice with advanced graphic learning features covered in this French college will let you ultimate features in an exceptional manner. Instead of settling with your learning requirements without any positive results obtained, you need to consider the best available features as per the ultimate priorities you got.

Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

An astounding figure of 44,000 students will let you realize the caliber of this technological university in Australia, which is known to offer best results in a diverse fashion. Diverse international program offered to the students in a comprehensive manner is something that proves to be highly beneficial for the students in precisely the same way as one anticipates.




3 thoughts on “Top 10 – Best Graphic Design Schools in the World 2016

  1. James May 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    thanks for including Rhode Island on this list!

  2. Kelesy February 9, 2015 at 11:44 am

    my school it’s not here oww
    realy awsome .. thanks 😉

  3. free Printable sheet music for piano August 17, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Hi there, everything is going perfectly here and ofcourse every
    one is sharing facts, that’s really excellent, keep up

Leave a Reply

Name *
Email *