If designing products to improve the lives of people is your passion, then there’s no question that you should take up industrial or product design as a major in college. The question you should be asking yourself now is, what are the best industrial design schools that I should study in?
To answer that question, you must check out Core77, arguably the best place to find information, events, and career opportunities about industrial and product design online. More importantly, the site has a vibrant community that constantly discusses the different industrial design schools in college. By browsing through its forum, you can get a better idea from former college students about their experiences from the different college programs they attended.
If you want to cut through the meat and just see what people have to say about some of the best industrial design schools, then check out their comments below.
Click on the links below to go straight to the opinions about the specific fine art program.
“Let me begin by noting that Pratt has always been very well recognized for Industrial Design. It certainly stacks up well against the other other schools that you mentioned and might indeed be better than either RISD or Calfiornia College of the Arts.
“The program is VERY intense. Not only is it fairly hard to get into,but they make it very hard to stay in. There is a lot of weeding out, especially in the freshmen year. However, I think that this happens in a lot of art/design programs.” — click here for the source
“I am a recent graduate from Pratt (’09) in Industrial design bachelor’s program. I cannot say more..the program was really great, and prep all the students in finding a job. I consistently worked at various design places interning, freelancing and part-time design related positions, and now landed a full-time in what I had interest in for two years. Pratt gives and takes (tuition.). But it’s definitely worth and I have no regret in going there.” —click here for the source
“I graduated from Pratt’s undergrad, and am going to be undertaking studies at art center in january. Pratt will blow your mind if you have one, they have a really solid theoretical approach to both process and 3d aesthetics, however not a lot on the analog presentation skills end, they’re way to heavy on the Alias to make up for poor drawing ability. I’m going to AC to blow up my presentation ability and to get a more solid handle on rapid prototyping technologies and advance model-building technique, although I didn’t notice a lot of substantive ideas behind all of the glamour which the school is well known for. Anyway, that’s my take.” — click here for the source
“As an alumni of University of Cincinnati, my vote would be for UC. I’ve said it before in other posts, but you really can’t beat their co-op program. Sure, other schools ‘allow’ you to take internships, but UC requires you. At the end of the day, you graduate with 6 quarters (a year and half) of real world experience under your belt. UC has longstanding co-op relationships with some of the worlds top companies: Motorola, Nike, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Fisher Price, P&G, etc.” — click here for the source
“Cincinnati=I have met or interviewed around 10 people who went to that school and participated in their very relevant internship program. These designers are by far the best, most prepared and most realistic designers I have ever met. They are infact rock solid. The internship program there prepares the students with real world experience. No school will prepare you like a semester at a professional design consulting firm. Every other semester students return to the class environment with real world experience that they then share with other students.” — click here for the source
“RIT’s program stresses functionality and you get plenty of opportunities to learn whatever 3d modeling program you’re into. RIT also has the School of American Crafts, which is highly rated, so if you are into furniture you can couple furniture and woodworking classes with your ID courses. They also offer ceramics, metals, glass blowing, and all that stuff
“They’ve also recently started working with the engineers on campus. RIT’s engineering program is HUGE so there is a lot of opportunity there too, not only to learn from another discipline but also to teach the engineers what ID is all about.” — click here for the source
“Just a short opinion on CCS.
“Gives you very good foundation on skills that gets you into the door, meaning sketching, rendering, CG and model making. However before I continue, it totally depends on you to master those skills. The more effort you put into them, the more you can get out of it. I have seen students who are great and those who are weak. It’s not the school, but the individual. The school provides you the environment and resources, it’s up to you to utilize them.
“Internships? I have had 2, planning for 2 more before I graduate. That led me to believe that one don’t have to depend on the school’s co-op program to get internships. Why wait for the school to set you up? Do it yourself!
“If you work hard, there is no reason why you should be afraid of not getting an internship.
“Teachers? They change all the time. I may tell you that there is a great instructor today, but may be gone tomorrow. However signing up for the right instructor is extremely important. Also, famous doesn’t mean good. There are some famous designers that are hired, but can’t teach for nuts. There are those less well-known, but have been here for a long time for a good reason.” — click here for the source
“I am an alumni of the Academy of Art University and all I can say is DON’T go there! Nobody cares about you. You are just a paycheck. This school is a greedy money machine geared only to make money and care nothing for education. I won’t say I didn’t learn anything there but I feel that I learned despite them and not thanks to them as they were making it very difficult to learn when you constantly have to fight them over money, and the way they deal with it, jacking up their prices every semester and you rarely see it being invested back into the program. When you take the tour they seem very impressive but its one big sham. I am drowning in student loans over 100,000$ and I wish I could say :”well, it was worth it! I had fun! I learned! I got what I wanted” but unfortunately I can’t and if this post will save one person from making that mistake I would feel that I did something good. Of course I had some good times, of course some classes were awesome, but it wasn’t worth it. I did the work, I totally invested myself, financially, mentally, emotionally and I am very proud of my accomplishments and my portfolio but I will not give the, credit for any of it. They have no career center worth mentioning because once you are an alumni and not paying them anymore they don’t really care about you unless you got published somehow then they will be the first to find out and take credit for it (like what happened to me with a project they failed me on and I had to fight the whole department for a better grade and failed again) but after it won international competition and got noted they published it as exemplary student work on their website! Imagine how that might feel..” — click here for the source
“VTs ID program is growing and getting stronger, even from when I was a freshman to when I graduated five years later (only cool kids go to college for five years). All the faculty members are passionate and truly care about the advancement and education of the students, and for the price you can’t really beat it (in-state, anyway).
“Faculty: All of them have practical real-world experience from a variety of backgrounds, several are active IDSA members. I had classes with each and every one of them, and while all of them are different I didn’t meet one that I truly disliked. Some I liked better than others, but overall all of them were excellent educators and all would set aside time (and even be in the studio late into the night if needed) for meeting with students.
“Coursework: Now that I’ve been out in the “real world” as a designer, I’ve only run into one issue where I was wishing I’d learned more in school: 3D modeling programs. Virginia Tech teaches SolidWorks with an optional 6 week class in Rhino, and that’s it. If I had not had internships that used Rhino and taught it to myself, I probably would not have gotten my job. We also use 3DS Max at my company, and I have no earthly clue how to use it and the other designers learned it in school. When they asked what I was taught in school as far as 3D modeling goes, they were appalled that all they teach is SolidWorks. Yeah you can learn the others on your own time, but honestly who has that kind of time/money to buy a license and learn while not working on actual school projects?” — click here for the source
“Both RISD and Carnegie-Mellon offer summer programs for high school students. They are rather pricey, but they do give the students a good idea of what pursuing a design major in college would be like. My son attended RISD’s pre-college program; that’s how he fell in love with both the major and the school! You might also look into summer art classes held at your local community college, or classes sponsored by community art centers and artists leagues.” — click here for the source