Studying Design – A Look at Roles and Top Schools

Design is a part of everything that we see around us. Fundamentally, it influences the way we experience the world and everything in it. And because it is an integral part of our world, we look at it in depth here.

Here’s a look at – the roles a designer can take up and also some of the best design schools around the world.

What is design?

What is design?

Design is when a plan or an idea is brought to life through various processes. It is the creation of things that are either physical or virtual. Of late, design has come to define things that are done to improve user interfaces on applications. However, it must be noted that design isn’t necessarily restricted to this. A quality design may intertwine with business, engineering, and art.

A great design communicates to its audience without words.

Ideas, visions, and concepts can be presented through designs which can help in recreating environments that we may or may not experience in the real world. Design can be of many types including user interface design, fashion design, graphic design, marketing, sound design, architectural design, and industrial design among others. Design has evolved over the years from merely viewable and usable components to more user-centric experiences that promote brand value.

Design career options

Design and art are used in a variety of fields across industries. Along with functionality, design is key when it comes to creating new goods and services. There are many roles related to design across industries.

Let’s look at an example of a

design-related career path


  • Architect – Architects take care of project planning and design construction projects using models, drawings, and graphics. These designs help to create functional and aesthetic models of buildings that will be constructed.
  • Graphic Design – Graphic designers design visual media that is used for advertising, marketing, information sharing, and other purposes.
  • UX/UI Design User experience (UX) designers are expected to develop software that improves customer experience and satisfaction. They focus on developing a smart design that enhances functionality. User interface designers, on the other hand, develop interfaces that the users interact with. These may be a part of websites, games, and software.
  • Multimedia Artist From creating effects for television to working on developing models for games, multimedia artists do it all. They use various materials such as paper, graphics, or even sculptures for creating models.
  • Fashion Design Fashion designers design clothing and lifestyle accessories. They create the looks of garments and guide manufacturers on how to make original pieces. Fashion designers make use of different mediums for developing designs.
  • Editor Editors play a pivotal role in fine-tuning films for public viewing. They convert raw material into a finished product that is embellished with the necessary design elements.
  • Game Design Game designers create gaming environments, create interesting gameplay and develop models that will be part of games. Becoming a game designer requires knowledge of both design as well as programming.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of opportunities in the design discipline. As we might have noticed by now, design is an integral part of everything around us and it has many more applications than we give credit for.

Top global design schools

Most people tend to believe that art and design are one and the same.

They couldn’t have been more wrong!

Art is the creation of things to portray an emotion while design is the creation of elements to cater to very specific purposes. But art and design are taught together across different institutions because the two are interconnected somewhere and draw inspiration from each other most of the time.

QS rankings have curated the top institutions across the world to art and design from. Let us take a look at them.




1 Royal College of Art London, United Kingdom
2 University of the Arts London London, United Kingdom
3 Parsons School of Design at The New School New York City, United States of America
3 Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Providence, United States of America
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, United States of America
5 Politecnico di Milano Milan, Italy
6 Aalto University Espoo, Finland
7 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, United States of America
8 The Glasgow School of Art Glasgow, United Kingdom
8 Pratt Institute New York City, United States of America
10 Art Center College of Design Pasadena, United States
Source -

1. Royal College of Art –

One of the oldest schools of art and design in the world, Royal College of Art boasts of a large array of prominent artists. The school’s departments have been divided into architecture, arts and humanities, communication, and design.

2. University of the Arts London –

It is one of the largest universities that specializes in art and design and it boasts of having more than 19000 students from across the world. University of the Arts has six locations across the city of London with each of them offering programs at the undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels.

3. Parsons School of Design at The New School –

New York’s own Parsons School of Design is world-renowned for imparting education that translates innovative concepts and code into design. Parsons accepts close to 5000 students every year. The institution offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs for those interested in a career in design.

3. Rhode Island School of Design –

The institution has quite a number of famous alumni who are currently working as designers including the founders of Airbnb. Rhode Island has an annual intake of around 2,400 students. The institution is well known for its inclusion of studio-based education.

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology –

The Media lab at MIT has often been the subject of discussion amongst designers due to their highly innovative demonstrations. The institution is also famous for its notable alumni who work across different disciplines including films, graphic designing and creative media.

5. Politecnico di Milano –

It is one of the most popular universities across the world and is among the largest universities across Europe. With more than 40000 students studying at the university at any given time, it has one of the largest student communities on campus amongst design schools.

6. Aalto University –

Aalto University is well known for its clear-cut divisions in terms of arts, design, and architecture. The university produces some of the finest artists and designers. Aalto is famous for bridging the gap between art and business technology.

7. School of the Art Institute of Chicago –

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the biggest independent art schools in the U.S.A and has over 3500 students. The institute is known for constantly trying to push the boundaries of design to achieve the best innovations in terms of both ideas as well as its portrayal. The institution offers merit-based scholarships for international students who are interested in studying design.

8. The Glasgow School of Art –

An independent art school in the U.K, it is one of the oldest art schools in the world that produces some of the best designers, artists, architects, and content creators. It provides a wide range of creative courses as part of undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs across its five campuses.

9. Pratt Institute –

Pratt’s training is more than just imparting knowledge about design – they also try to help budding designers to re-imagine the mundanities of everyday life. With an intake of more than 4000 students, Pratt has one of the largest enrollments amongst design schools.

10. Art Center College of Design –

The Art Center College of Design is a private institution in Pasadena, California and is considered to be one of the leaders in art and design. One of the plus points of the institution is the quality of education that they impart for a fraction of the tuition that the other institutions across the United States charge.

What's next in a designer's career path?

A visual experience helps us to process complex information much more easily. No matter what industry a designer works in, the impact that they will have on the lives of the people who interact with their products and services is huge.

Design is not about just being creative but is more about being creative with a purpose. Good design means better perspectives and an improved relationship with your customer base. The ultimate focus of every designer should not be to complicate things but to solve problems and simplify lives. If your calling is to be an artist, design careers should definitely be on your checklist.

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