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The Best Advertising & Commercial Design Schools in the U.S. 2017

Advertising design schools educate students in the principles and processes of artful marketing and advertising from both a creative and a business perspective. Enrollees develop a wide variety of skills for communicating verbally, visually and effectively in both design work and marketing initiatives; all of which will appeal to clients and target customers. Through mastery of elements in areas such as: persuasive composition, copywriting and typography, brand communication, digital illustration, color psychology and use, commercial design, creative media, marketing and business principles; graduates are prepared to create and manage an entire ad campaign from start to finish.

The best advertising design schools are those whose faculty have developed real-world skills from their participation in the field, have state-of-the art materials and instruction, and an overall, well-rounded blend of artistic instruction, marketing-skills development and delineated business methodologies. Knowing how tedious the process of selecting a school can be, we have done the legwork for you. The following is the result of our research and survey data- it presents to you with a comprehensive list of the very best advertising design schools across the country.

  • School Name

    18 schools ranked

  • With a Department of Art and Art History; the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music; the Department of Theater and Dance, and the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies; UT has it all.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 50,950
    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 43,651
  • PennDesign hosts a community of scholars, rich in diversity and talent. Emphasizing thoughtful inquiry, innovation and creative expression; the college is committed to local and global well-being in design, art, preservation and planning.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 24,876
  • Michigan State University - School of Art, Art History & Design (AAHD) offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Textile Design, Apparel, Studio Art, Art Education and Art History. Focusing on both the aesthetic and conceptual elements of education in the visual arts, the Department is committed to developing an appreciation for both its creative and historical aspects. Students are challenged to embark on the learning adventure of a lifetime by experiencing the cultural life of the community, student exhibitions and the visiting artist and scholar lecture series; just to name a few.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 50,538
    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 14,354
    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 8,484
  • Tisch School of the Arts at NYU is famous not only for its ability to develop scholars, artists and entrepreneurs, but also for the well-known success of its graduates. The accomplishments of alumni are annually recognized by world-renowned achievement at festivals, awards and via fellowships.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 50,027
  • The School of Art at Carnegie Mellon is ranked globally as one of the world's best art schools and is integral to one of the nation’s leading research universities. The School offers students the experience only a well-respected program can provide by effectively bridging the fundamentals of classical studio practice with leading-edge technology and program-based methodologies. The school’s esteemed faculty fosters a progressive learning environment within state-of-the-art-facilities which remain open for students 24-hours a day.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 12,963
  • The graduate and professional programs at Weinberg College (Northwestern) are world-famous for the breadth and depth of their multidisciplinary and intellectual approach to education. Students enroll from over 30 countries.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 21,655
  • Established in 1906, the College for Creative Studies is a small, private, fully-accredited institution of higher learning. Diversity and inclusion characterize the student body: undergraduates hail from 35 states and 24 countries; while the graduate population is comprised of 81% international enrollees from 8 countries. Located in Midtown Detroit, students enjoy the long-established, rich culture of the city. From the Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts; to the libraries, galleries and famous restaurants; both college and students can leverage the educational opportunities provided by the urban community.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,487
  • The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts encompasses 3 distinct entities, each rich in history: The College of Art was established in 1879, and is the nation’s only art school to have fathered a major metropolitan art museum. Founded in 1910, the College of Architecture was one of only 10 members who created the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The third entity is the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum founded in 1881; and is famous for being the 1st museum of art, west of the Mississippi River.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 14,688
  • Remarkably, more than half (56%) of students graduating from the University of Florida have no student loan debt. The college offers over 200 research, service, bureaus, institutes and education centers; and has been recognized by Forbes as #2 in the “Best Value Public Colleges.” U.S. News and World Report also applauded UF by ranking it #14 of the nation’s public universities.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 50,645
  • University of Miami - College of Arts and Sciences is home to 4,000 undergraduate and over 600 graduate students. With 440 deeply committed, full-time faculty teaching in 20 Departments within 8 interdisciplinary programs; students receive a full and diverse educational experience. Globally recognized for its world-class education and cutting-edge scholarship; students and faculty hail from all 50 states and over 100 countries.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 16,825
  • From high school to the master’s degree level, UNCSA programs and five conservatories of a professional caliber; encourage total immersion in one’s chosen discipline; to eat, sleep and breathe the art form.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 970
    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 47,307
  • The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University embodies the vision that art and scholarship can affect change. Emphasis is on self-discovery in visual art and design; risk-taking and critical thought.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 21,789
  • At the University of Minnesota, students enjoy 17 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as numerous research and outreach centers characterized by exceptional leadership, an innovative spirit and a commitment to sustainability.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 51,147
  • FIT has consistently amassed international acclaim and recognition for its programs in fashion, design, art, communications and business. Its rigorous curriculum is steeped in its commitment to research, experiential learning, adaptable academics and industry partnerships.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 9,565

Types of Advertising Art and Design Schools

A successful advertising career, however, often starts with a focused education. If you are looking to start your career in this industry, you should look into several advertising art and design schools. Many schools offer advertising degrees, and the type of school you choose will depend on your career goals, as well as your individual wants and needs.

Traditional Universities:  Most traditional colleges and universities offer degrees in advertising. These degree programs often give students a chance to learn about nearly every aspect of advertising, including advertising strategies, copywriting, and advertising art. Unlike some other advertising art and design schools, however, traditional universities may not be able to offer very focused advertising degrees.

Art Schools:  Many art schools also offer advertising degree programs. These schools, however, typically focus on the visual aspects of advertising, such as advertising graphic design. Art schools are more geared toward the artist looking to try his hand at advertising.

Advertising Art and Design Schools:  Every single aspect of advertising art and design can be learned at advertising art and design schools. Advertising schools offer very focused degree programs for aspiring advertisers. Students enrolled in these types of schools will often have a chance to gain an in-depth understanding of every aspect of advertising, depending on their interests. For instance, students interested in advertising photography will learn about photography skills and techniques in the advertising world.

Courses in Advertising Art and Design Schools

Curriculums for the different advertising art and design schools are never exactly the same. Many of these schools, however, do require students to take certain courses.

Most advertising students, for instance, are required to take courses in advertising history, in which they will learn about the different methods of advertising used throughout the years. Courses that cover how consumers respond to different advertisements are also usually offered. The legalities and ethics concerning advertising are also required courses when attending advertising art and design schools.

Advertising students will also usually be required to take several other courses while earning their degree as well. Depending on their preferred areas of study, for instance, they may take courses in business, writing, or art and design. The courses that a student is required to take will also usually be determined by what types of advertisements he wishes to help create.