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The Best Design Schools in the World

To get the best possible education in creative design, you need to attend a school with high standards that delivers an experience that prepares you for work in the industry. The 2015 CG Student Awards declared these ten institutes of higher learning to the best in the world.

Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games and Animation

Dubbed “the MIT of visual effects” by Fast Company magazine, Gnomon provides a curriculum that focuses on creativity. The 30,000-square-foot facility is located right on the Television Center Studio lot in Hollywood, California and features realistic production studio elements with the latest technology to give students valuable real-world experience.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Locations in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Lacoste and Savannah make the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) a good choice for students that require flexibility. Boasting “more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university,” the goal of SCAD is to provide an “exceptional education and life-changing experience for students.”

Think Tank Training Centre

Offering courses in visual effects, 3D animation and game design, the Think Tank Training Centre in Vancouver, Canada is “dedicated to providing relevant, current and effective training” with the goal of securing industry employment for its graduates. A 98 percent placement rate speaks to the success of its use of the latest technologies and a mentor program that pairs students with professionals from the local entertainment industry.

Media Design School

A six-story facility in Auckland, New Zealand houses the Media Design School. Each floor is dedicated to a different creative department, and all programs make use of software recognized by the industry. With programs in graphic and interactive design, game design, 3D animation, motion graphics and more, this highly awarded university is a top choice for design students from all over the world.

The Animation Workshop

Located in Viborg, Denmark as part of VIA University College, The Animation Workshop offers programs in computer graphic arts, character animation and graphic storytelling for students looking to break into the creative industries. Professionals who wish to update their skills can take advantage of courses in 3D animation and VFX that focus on honing “talent and craft.”

Vancouver Film School

Billed as “immersive and comprehensive,” the Vancouver Film School provides an intense one-year live in production program that promises more studio time than most four-year schools. All campus resources are in line with the highest industry standards so that students graduate with a portfolio or reel that reflects professional training.


ArtFx in Montpellier, France bills itself as the “only school in Europe specializing in digital special effects.” Students learn both the foundational aspects of design and the technological disciplines that the industry is currently looking for and are given the chance to become proficient with new software before it hits the mainstream.

Ringling College of Art and Design

Thirteen different majors make the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida attractive to students who love design but don’t know exactly what to major in. An online visualization pairs talents with programs to help aspiring designers choose the best path. Once in school, students get the chance to work with clients from the entertainment industry in collaborative settings that could open the door for future employment.

Academy of Art University

Established in 1929, the Academy of Art University brings a diverse collection of design majors to the San Francisco area. The school promises an “atmosphere of support and deep collaboration” for all its students and emphasizes the importance of passion in the realm of creative design.

Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg

The learn-by-doing atmosphere at this design school in Ludwigsburg, Germany is headed up by instructors who are “experts from the film and media business.” Along with teaching every aspect of film and TV production, the school works with an associated Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction to give students the option of learning how to put the finishing touches on creative industry projects.

Formal design training prepares you to deliver the professional-quality results that the industry is looking for. Whether you work in film, in animation, at creative agency or as a freelancer, the education that these universities provide gives you the tools to be the best in everything you do.

Melissa Wilson • February 4, 2016

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