Carleton vs. Design Academy Eindhoven

I’m a Canadian living in Montreal, already have a Bachelor’s degree (BA McGill 2004), but have decided to take the leap and go to design school. I’ve been accepted to Carleton and DAE for September, and am weighing the pros and cons in both. Having just visited Eindhoven and briefly toured DAE, I’m a little torn.

I like the coop program at Carleton as well as the fact that they are transferring many of the credits from my BA to this degree (I would have to be only part time for the first two years). It seems they are geared towards pragmatic and commercial design, and seem to have a lot of connections linking students to industry. It is a tiny department of only 150 students total, and it is in Ottawa -not exactly a design mecca.

DAE seems more conceptual and independent, which is great, as well as the idea of being in Europe studying design.

My concern is acquiring the practical skillset and training required to enter the industry. I’ve heard the pros and cons of both schools but am more concerned about what to expect at DAE since I wasn’t given so much as a tour while I was there. I pretty much know what I’ll be getting into at Carleton.

I love working and the idea of being self-taught, but wonder how accepted this is in the industry. The admissions panel at DAE upon reviewing my portfolio asked me why I wasn’t already working in the field, but it seems as though most Product/Industrial Designers have formal training. That is why coop is so appealing; learning and working and making some cash is great , but the opportunity to study and live in Europe for a length of time is attractive also.

Perhaps this is comparing apples to oranges, but if anyone has any insight, I would really appreciate it. Cheers!

Maybe it will help if you think about the type of designer you want to be and let that guide your decision. I know some great designers from Carlton, but on the other hand, I’ve never heard someone regretting studying overseas… be immersed in another culture is an education in itself.

Hi Michael and thanks for your response. I have been asked that question a number of times and have not been able to arrive at a definitive answer. In fact I wonder how many people entering a Bachelor’s ID program know what kind of designer they want to be. I guess that’s kind of why school is a good idea for me, to help figure that out.

I believe design should be as much about utility and function as beauty and aesthetics. I’m far more interested in design for everyone rather than a privileged few. Also, I did my undergrad in international development, so design for developing countries is of great interest to me. I’m a little worried that my pragmatic leanings will clash with the DAE design philosophy.

I saw what the Carleton students were producing and was really excited about how functional the products were and how they would be used everyday by everyone. And when I saw some DAE grad stuff this year, there was more of a question mark in that I saw the aesthetic value, but they all seemed like one-off craft/artisanal works -the SNL Nuni skit came to mind.