Product Design Program At Ccs Vs. Cia.....

I am a sophomore (studio wise, credit wise I am a junior) product student at CCS in Detroit. Love it there, don’t really have any serious problems with the curriculum currently…but I keep consistently hearing that CIA (Cleveland Institute of Art) has a much stronger Product program compared to CCS, who has a much stronger Auto program. I absolutely love product design…mainly considering the function, research, and broad variety of products to design, vs. designing cars every semester and your career. I initially came to CCS for Auto design, but quickly started to like Product much more. I was accepted into the sophomore automotive program, which cuts down the freshman class to only 26 students, but I turned it down, people think I am nuts.

So I would just like to hear what people have to say about CIA and their Product Design program. I would consider transferring in as a junior studio wise if that works out for the Fall 08 semester. I guess a few of last years sophomores who didn’t make junior auto design went to CIA and were able to transfer their studio credits.

I grew up in Detroit and took several classes at CCS while in High School. I had actually assumed that I’d go to school there, since it was the local design college.

My father was in automotive design at Chrysler and, being very familiar with both school’s ID programs suggested that, unless I wanted to go automotive, to go to CIA.

I did wind up going to CIA (graduated '96) and highly recommend it. The department head there, Dan Cuffaro, is a HUGE advocate for design and is generally very progressive. I know a number of the teachers personally and they’re all high quality, great people. Also, they have good relationships with companies for internships (though still not as good as Cincinnati as far as I know).

In the past few years with Cuffaro at the helm, the quality of product design students has really gone through the roof. If you’re serious about getting into product ID and are able/willing to make the switch to CIA, I’d at LEAST make the 3 hour drive to visit the school. It still looks dumpy, but the ID dept always has some exciting things going on.

Funny, I know another guy, son of a Car Designer that also took classes at CCS in high school and ended up going to CIA for his product degree, wonder how common that is?

Seen some FANTASTIC work (amazing process books) coming out of CIA over the past couple years. I spoke to a former classmate and he was saying the work coming in from CIA to his firm was top notch and he also credited Dan Cuffaro.

If you don’t have much to lose, I would definitely consider it.

that’s funny. Also in my graduating class was the son of a GM design executive. I guess it’s pretty common!

That may be a good of an indicator as any.

I did an exchange semester at CIA and really liked it. I’m also liking a lot of the portfolios I’m seeing come out of there this year.

That said, CCS I think has been trying to amp up their product program as well. Nike is sponsoring a project there this year. If you are happy at CCS and feel good about what you are learning, I wouldn’t worry about it. Transferring will be a hassle. You can always do an exchange if you like.

CCS has improved and I do notice a wider variety of projects done by students. They are no longer restricted to flashy looking products that resemble automotive surfaces, but more interactive ones like game sets and so on.

Not sure how CCS product design compare to other schools these days. All of the CIA students I’ve met have awesome portfolios. I would consider UC as well.

However, it’s how you make your experience no matter where you go. I thought about transferring back then but decided to stay and did well, but I did put in the effort to go a lot further than most other students did and had 4 internships before I graduated. You don’t need to go to a co-op program to get internships. You just need lots of motivation and hard work.

An exchange program would be awesome for a semester, I’d definitely like to do that. I heard transferring can be a hassle…and I would only do it if I went in to another school at the same level studio wise. I already spent 3 semesters studying mechanical engineering before I started at CCS, so I’d like to get out ASAP.

We just got a new Product chair at CCS, as well as a new Auto chair. I’d like to see where the Product program is planning on going, we actually have a department wide meeting tomorrow where a lot of topics will be addressed.

I just think the Product dept at CCS is kinda “swept under the rug” sometimes, We’re not pushed as hard as the students in Auto. The old chair Bryon Fitzpatrick was a great educator and mentor to the ID students and always on their backs to do good work. Our new Product chair may be as well, but I’d like to see that more out of the Product chair. I do have a really good studio teacher this semester and an interesting project.

Quote of the day… maybe the week.

Hey yo, for the exchange semester at CIA, did you pay the tuition for home school and the exchange school. or just one. which one? I am interested in how that works? i dont think my school has a program like that but i would like to start it.

You pay the tuition for your own school. All school in NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) have an exchange agreement. It can be tricky to work it out, but it is doable. The registrars offices have to talk to each other (that sounds simple, but its not) to make sure all the credits transfer.

In my case I was paying for a much more expensive school to do an exchange at a much cheaper school, but it works in reverse too. In the end I think both schools benefit from the cross pollination and the student gets to broaden their experience.