Studying ID in Canada - Emily Carr and Kwantlen


I’m looking for some thoughts and opinions on studying ID in Vancouver, Canada. I have been accepted into programs at both Emily Carr and Kwantlen, but am still trying to decide. Emily Carr has a reputation of being more ‘artsy’ and has a generalized foundations first year. Kwantlen is within a design school as part of a polytechnic university and appears to be more practical. I have been looking at course calendars and doing research but there is not a lot out there on Kwantlen as their product design program is only four years old. I’m not sure if that matters or what the reputation of either school is like within the industry. Does anyone have any thoughts about the two programs or have any advice? Thanks


Hey Mike,
I found myself in the same situation 4 years ago and wish someone was there to tell me what to do. I went to Kwantlen and graduated only a short time ago, so I can’t speak to how prepared I am for the industry, but I do think my coursework was very practical. I had completed an unrelated degree and was quite sure I wanted to make products, so the foundation year at Emily Carr seemed like a bit of beating around the bush. That being said there is time to take electives in the 3rd and 4th year at Kwantlen, but there are limitations and you likely won’t have to if you’ve got previous credits.

A full 4 years focusing on developing design process, learning to dig deep and turn research into decisions, get acquainted with sewing machines, and put cool new machines and technology to work still wasn’t enough time. The pace of projects is fairly high, but you’ve really got to work smart and hard to gain strong skills across the board within the 4 years.

I see from your posts that you lean a bit to the soft side, shoes etc. and I can’t speak to the facilities at Emily Carr for that. I’d assume that we have a better sewing lab and some technology that Emily Carr wouldn’t have, and also the wealth of knowledge that you can pick at from the Fashion and Technology students. We have sick fabric selections and lab techs with real experience. Alternately I think the machinery for hardgoods and prototyping at Emily Carr is quite a bit better. You can get a lot done in Kwantlen’s workshop, but you have to make do with what is there, the easy way (CNC!) isn’t always an option. I like to think it’s similar to the type of shop I might have access to when I’m done.

I’ll take a little time to reflect and try to come up with some things I wish were done differently.

Send me a PM if you have any more questions.

Hey Marc,

Thanks for taking the time to reply with your thoughts about the program. I was at the KPU grad show recently and was able to talk to you and the other students there and got some great info and opinions about the program there as well. After that I chose Kwantlen and I’m excited to start there in September. Thanks again