Product Design - CCA or SAIC?

Any thoughts on CCA or SAIC’s undergraduate Product Design (Designed Objects) programs? I’ve received scholarships from both schools, but am torn between the two. They’ve given me around the same amount of money and want to attend the better program.

I’m interested in the artsy side of product design, hoping to make stand-alone pieces, but am also open to commercial products and mass production. SAIC’s structure is very open, so will that hurt my chances at a commercial job after graduating?


Thanks! So does that mean commercial design firms won’t even consider me if I had a BFA in Designed Objects from SAIC?

I hope to work commercially to gain a steady income after I earn my undergraduate degree. Though I also hope to create designed products that lean more toward pieces of art, rather than commercial pieces. This is why I’m currently leaning toward attending SAIC, the more prestigious of the two. Although I’m afraid that this choice will rule me out of commercial work which makes me think CCA will facilitate the my situation. I haven’t found too much feedback about either of the schools’ product design programs, but I assume that companies will be more willing to hire from the more prestigious of the two, SAIC. Is this true?
California seems to have great influence in the product design field, so does that mean I’d have better luck getting a commercial job attending CCA?

I still haven’t found what part of product design I really want to pursue, but I am interested in gaming products (mouses, controllers, headphones, etc.), furniture, and housewares. Although I’m open to the idea of designing whatever comes my way.

Hi yuchung,

I am a graduate of SAIC’s undergraduate Design Objects program. Based upon your post, you should go to CCA.

A structured undergraduate program will put you in a much better position to be an industrial designer. As an industrial designer you can work at a consultancy, a corporation, freelance AND you can make art objects too. As a designer of just art objects you are not qualified to be an industrial designer.

If you don’t want to be an industrial designer then that’s totally cool. I know a lot of terrific, intelligent and talented people who work within the art object world, but it sounds like you want to be an industrial designer.

Actually, I would suggest you try to go to the University of Cincinnati or Art Center if you want people to look at your resume and think, “industrial design prestige.” There are several great school out there, but, in my opinion, anywhere other than those two will probably not get the attention you want.

PM me if you’d like to chat more about SAIC. It’s a great place with great people, but I don’t think it’s what you’re looking for.


If you are worried about working in the commercial industry of product design it seems like your best bet would be to get in a program that leads you down that path. I feel as if the artsy, stand alone piece side of product design could be done during your studies as side projects. I know lots of people who do these types of things as hobbies (and for profit). It’s often a nice mental break from designing for manufacturing/commercial scenarios. Just a thought.