• Sophie van Os

Top 5 Art & Design schools in Europe

Imagine just how enriching it would be to study and live abroad. Discovering traditions and customs of a new culture, learning a different language and tasting food that is different than what you’re used to. Because I want you to explore your options and maybe even step out of your comfort zone, I layed out some of the best art and design schools in Europe.



Bachelor vs. Undergraduate programme


It can be confusing when schools use different terms to identify their programs. That’s why I wanted to explain to you that a bachelor and an undergraduate program have the same meaning. Depending on the country, they will use the term undergraduate or bachelor to talk about the same thing. Both programs are between 3-4 years and usually meant for students who just finished high-school.


What are the best Art & Design schools in Europe?



1. Design Academy Eindhoven

Eindhoven, the Netherlands


The Bachelor’s degree at Design Academy Eindhoven is a 4-year program. During this time you will form a vision about who you are as a person, who you want to be in life and what kind of world you want to live in.


This design school offers the opportunity to explore different approaches to design research and design thinking. It encourages you to develop an opinion of the world around you.


Studying in Eindhoven means that you are constantly surrounded by design and technological innovation. Every year the city organizes the Dutch Design Week. This is a large-scale and international event that focuses on design in all its different facets. During this week the graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven show their final year project to the public.



Applications to study at Design Academy Eindhoven during the 2021-2022 academic year are open from November 2nd 2020 until the 28th of February 2021. You can get a quick scan of your portfolio during the so-called experience days and you can participate in an extended portfolio training during their open days.



2. Polimoda

Florence, Italy


Are you dreaming about a future in fashion? Don’t look any further: Polimoda is the best choice you can make! In the flourishing and elegant city of Florence you can join this unique undergraduate program where you will gain expertise and follow a detailed training in the various fields of fashion. This art and design school in the heart of Europe boasts a ton of opportunities for young creatives to hone their skills.


Towards the end of the program you will be offered a 3-month internship to gain experience and develop professional skills while being introduced to the working world of fashion.


Polimoda offers the following undergraduate programs:

  • Fashion Design

  • Fashion Business

  • Fashion Art Direction

  • Fashion Styling

  • Fashion Marketing Management

  • Fashion Technology

  • Fashion Accessories Design



You can send in your application throughout the year. For more information contact their Orientation Office or visit one of their open days. These will take place online on January 22nd and March 19th in 2021. If you have the chance, you can go visit Polimoda in Florence throughout the year.



3. Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts

London, England


At Central Saint Martins it’s all about making change and taking actions for a better future. The artists and designers are educated to tackle global challenges from climate change to creating more equal societies. Their motto:


“Our students work with hope and uncertainty, using their compassion and vision to shape the world through creative action.”

With a broad range of undergraduate programs, Central Saint Martins is one of the most profound art and design schools whether you want to be an artist or a designer.


Central Saint Martins offers the following undergraduate programs:

  • Access and Progression to Higher Education

  • Art

  • Culture and Enterprise

  • Fashion

  • Graphic Communication Design

  • Jewellery, Textiles and Materials

  • Performance

  • Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design

  • Spatial Practices



After you have chosen your course program, you will most likely be asked to send in your portfolio. If you are from Europe the deadline to apply for the coming year is January 29th 2021, though this can differ depending on the course program.



4. IED Barcelona, Istituto Europeo di Design

Barcelona, Spain


¿Hablas un poco de español? Well, that’s how far my Spanish goes. In Spain it’s not so easy to find a art and design school that teaches in English, but IED is one of the few who do. Besides that, this is a great school where you will develop yourself to become a well established designer.


As a designer it is very important to understand the needs of your audience. This is a key value of the IED Barcelona. Another important thing is that this school collaborates closely with the business sector. Which makes the next steps after you graduate much clearer and more accessible.


IED Barcelona offers the following bachelor programs:

  • Fashion Design

  • Business Design

  • Fashion Marketing and Communication



The IED Barcelona has an online admission process. Once the board reviews all the required documents and you pass, they’ll schedule an interview with you. Most of the interviews take place online so be prepared for that. Think about how you can send in your portfolio digitally and still show who you are and display your talent and abilities. Follow me and I will show you where you can find 5 free online Art and Design school portfolio websites.



5. ECAL University of Art and Design

Lausanne, Switzerland


The ECAL is very internationally oriented. In the past years the school has collaborated with other creative universities and leading companies like IKEA, Hermès, BMW Group and Nestlé. This is what makes this school so very interesting and worth listing.


To study and live in Switzerland is a unique experience. Especially in Lausanne, where you’ll find a dynamic art scene and an international community.


ECAL offers the following bachelor programs:

  • Fine Arts

  • Graphic Design

  • Photography

  • Media & Interaction Design

  • Film Studies

  • Industrial Design



You can register online starting November 9th 2020 untilMarch 10th 202. Online registration is not possible outside this period. So keep this in mind when you start working on your portfolio.



It’s never too early to start working on your portfolio


The reason I put in the application information is because you need to start working on your portfolio as soon as possible. It takes time to do research and create projects that reflect who you are as an artist or designer and what your aspiration in life is. You should not try to rush this process. On the other hand, when there is a deadline it can also be a positive thing since working on your portfolio can be a never ending story.


Download my free ebook to discover exactly what your next steps should be. Click the link below and get it right in your mailbox. No strings attached.



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