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Specialised Art & Design Institutes

Specialised Art & Design Institutes

Article : Ian Tsang          Edited : Konrede Limited           Date : March 2019

Most students would look for universities’ information online with parents before applying. Ranking lists such as “QS World University Rankings” and “Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings” are very reputable. They serve as convenient platforms for comparing universities across the world, sorting them by subject, region, study level and more.

Although ranking lists can speed up the information searching process, however they all have slightly different criteria and weightings, hence it is best to avoid relying solely on one list. For example, a list may value research result more, which is only important to postgraduate students. Institutes need to fulfil a number of criteria for these lists to consider them, such as:

1.Teach at multiple academic levels.

2.Contribute works in more than one academic area.

3.Produce sufficient research papers every year.

For example, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) is an university which fulfil all these criteria. Well known for its scientific courses, but it is also a top architectural school globally.  Another example is University College London (UK), an all-rounded university excelling in multiple academic principles, running a top architectural school as well. Some top art institutes may not satisfy all these requirements, since they can be extremely focused on one particular area, which means they might not appear in the popular ranking lists:

North America

1.Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, USA), notable alumni including:

a.Michael Kors.

b.Calvin Klein.

2.Sheridan College (Canada), notable alumni including:

a.Dean DeBlois – film director, producer, screenwriter and animator.

b.Jon Klassen – writer, illustrator and animator.


1.*Architectural Association (UK), notable alumni including:

a.Will Aslop – architect and professor.

b.Zaha Hadid – first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

2.Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Belgium), notable alumni including:

a.Peter Philips – creative and image director of Christian Dior makeup.

b.Bruno Pieters – former art director of Hugo Boss.

3.ESMOD (France), notable alumni including:

a.Catherine Malandrino – fashion designer.

b.Damir Doma – fashion designer.

4.Istituto Marangoni (Italy), notable alumni including:

a.Franco Moschino – founder of Moschino.

b.Domenico Dolce – co-founder of Dolce & Gabbana.

*AA is an independent school but it is the most prestigious architectural school globally.


1.Bunka Fashion College (Japan), notable alumni including:

a.Y-3 (Yamamoto Yohji) – fashion designer.

b.Takada Kenzo – fashion designer, founder of Kenzo.

All these institutes are highly specialised and have excellent connections and the most updated information, because the lecturers are very experienced in these fields. These lists reflect that the alumni benefited a lot from the learning environments. Since these institutes are very career-oriented, students can focus on their interests and decide the most suitable paths for themselves.

Other factors such as teaching style, culture, fees should be considered as well. Statistics can only provide an overall and subjective view of an institute’s performance, but it lacks the ability to interpret the institute completely. If possible, visit the institutes that you apply to. Most universities host open days to let prospective students and parents to take a look at the campuses and facilities. Selecting an university is a personal choice and there is no definite right or wrong answer. However, choosing the most suitable one may alter an artist’s career. If you have decided what to study, you should definitely consider these specialised art & design schools, they will help you to shape your career and future.

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