How many of you faced up this dilemma? Take me for example; I left Italy for my journey to Pasadena (CA), precisely to attend Art Center College of Design. However, before leaving my parents (and myself) were confronted with this problem: University of Architecture or Design College? In my case (Transportation Design), the choice has been easier, my field was too defined. However, in case of Industrial/Graphic/Advertising/Interior/ Design it is not so easy to make a choice.
Because it is a cultural problem especially for European countries with strong, classical cultural roots like Italy, France, Spain…
When I started to work as designer in Italy (1989) I had many colleagues that had a degree in Architecture et/or Engineering…only few of us (new young designers) were coming from four Design Colleges (2 ACCD, 1 Pforzheim and 1 ISIA).
When I started to teach Transportation Design courses in Italy (IAAD Turin, 1991-1994 & IED Turin, 1994-2000) I had many students that during the daytime where following courses at the Faculty of Architecture and in the evening where following our Design courses to keep alive their dream about becoming designers. Their parents accepted to send them to Design school only if they would promise to get a degree in Architecture or Engineering.
You can imagine the amount of work and pressure those guys were going through naturally jeopardizing the quality of both courses…in fact; only few of them today have both degrees and are currently working as professional designers: Fulvio Fantolino is one of those.
Architect (Degree at Faculty in Turin) and Transportation Designer (Degree at IAAD Turin). Fulvio Fantolino is founder and owner of F&F Design Studio in Turin, and has a good panel of clients between Car Design/ Industrial Design/ Interior Design.
Since 1991, many things changed in better in the Design school environment and organizations, if at that time there was still little trust for a “Design degree”…today things are a lot better.
The Design schools have strong possibilities to help students to find a job thanks to their ties with the Industry world, for those that have the ambition to become Transportation or Industrial designers there is no doubt about choosing a design school Vs Architecture University.
The programs and methods are completely different between the two organisms and even if following a Design school means often to spend real money…I believe it is an investment for the future.
I would like to conclude giving a suggestion to all those young future design students:
Before you take your decision please take your parents with you to visit the Design school, let them discover the model shop, the labs, the computer lab, the classes, visit the gallery, understand the program year by year, control the Companies involved with that school, check if there are positive articles written about it, and once that everything seems to be smooth just GO FOR IT!
I hope you found this post interesting and useful.
Photo: Art Center College of Design Pasadena, CA