Learn to design the future with a strategic and systems-level approach.

ArtCenter’s “Grad ID” program offers a Master of Science curriculum combining the pursuit of extraordinary design and making skills with the knowledge, theories and methods that are essential for creating new value for enterprise and social innovation in a context of complex and unstructured challenges.

Our faculty of internationally renowned educators and professionals work with students in a design studio environment where they’re encouraged to create with a consciousness that their designs exist in a larger context. Our methodology, Strategic Innovation, takes a forward looking systems-level view and strives to balance the business, technological and human aspects of each design opportunity. This broadly applicable creative process produces empathetic solutions to essential human needs so that designers and enterprises can be resilient and grow.

Grad ID has also joined forces with Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management to offer a dual MS/MBA degree track in Innovation Systems Design (ISD). The two-year program prepares tomorrow’s innovation leaders by combining business strategy, leadership and management acumen with the rigorous development of creative skills and design innovation methodology.

In 2010, gradID was ranked nationally as the number one graduate industrial design program both in U.S. News & World Report and in DesignIntelligence. In five of the last six years, it has been ranked number one in DesignIntelligence’s America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools issue, which bases its ranking by asking professional offices, “Which colleges best prepare graduates for their profession.”

“BCG Digital Ventures strives to answer the questions that haven’t been asked yet, as we invent, build and scale game-changing businesses with the world’s most important companies.   Our colleagues who come from ArtCenter’s Graduate Industrial Design program know how to hit the ground running on Day 1 and really help us stay ahead of the curve in arriving at new and novel outcomes.”

from:  Jeff Schumacher, Founder and CEO at BCGDV


“In our business we rely on highly talented multi-disciplinary teams galvanizing around complex real world problems and innovation opportunities.  Bringing the “head” and the “heart” to bear is foundational in all we do and we have many GradID graduates who continually amaze us with their ability to conceive and build novel and compelling solutions and businesses.  We have grown from 20 to over 500 people in the last three years – I can honestly say that our business would not be where it is today without a constant flow of talent from the ArtCenter.”
from: Simon MacGibbon, Managing Director & Partner at BCG DV 

Alumni from GradID: Kevin Bethune (link: Kevin’s story) | Jan Lienhard | Leticia Cervantes | Juno Chen | Erin Ballard | Magdalena Paluch | La Mer Walker

“It is great honor to have graduated from ArtCenter’s Graduate Industrial Design Program (Grad ID), where I had a tough but incredible journey. The top ranked program has cultivated numerous world-class designers, and has had a lasting influence on my later work and life. Studying at ArtCenter left me with two gains that prove to be significant in managing Mi Ecosystem. First, Grad ID trains designers to quantify design techniques and skills, while my prior education taught me to base design merely on feelings. Second, ArtCenter places design in a bigger picture, teaching designers to take commercialization and business perspectives into consideration, and think in a holistic way. Last but not the least, I’d like to extend my gratitude to Grad ID for cultivating Li Ningning and Chen Lu, who now work for Mi Ecosystem, and have led design teams in winning more than 40 international design awards including Red Dot Design, iF Design and Good Design in just past 3 years.”

 from: Liu De, Co-Founder and VP at Xiaomi Technology

Alumni from GradID: Liu De | Li Ningning | Yu Pengtao | Wang Zhiyao

“Having hired multiple graduates from ArtCenter’s Graduate Industrial Design program, I can confidently state that the level of talent and skills are top notch. The program is focused on developing well-rounded business professionals who leverage design to tackle the most complex business problems. It is not only how or what to design, but the future vision, business case, impacts and most critically – knowing how to operationalize processes, products or services via multiple delivery channels to businesses and / or consumers.”

from: Chris Hodges, Director, Customer Experience and Digital at Westmonroepartners

Alumni from GradID: Thomas Smiley | Ariane Fund

GradID is a great platform to build a transformative design toolbox while partnering with extraordinary people to launch your own business。
GradID is a phenomenal catapult for design leaders that will transform industries.

from: Hugo Girait (GradID 2012), Founding partner and CEO at propelland

GradID is where people come when they want design skills that resonate beyond traditional confines. Graduates leave the program with the unique ability to create and visualize new business concepts that are insightful, strategic, and – above all – truly viable.

from: Zach Buchman (GradID 2016)

GradID is an very unique industrial design program, one that covers design, human needs, business and technology – which are the key ingredients for successful innovation.
GradIDers are able to speak designer, technologist and entrepreneur all in one coherent program and sets you up for a great career.

from: Siddhartha vanchinathan (GradID 2012), Founding partner and COO at propelland

“Strategic innovation” is how we define our program’s design methodology.

At its core, strategic innovation takes a systems-level view and strives to balance the business, technological and human aspects of any challenge. It’s a creative process and a disciplined skill set for creating empathetic solutions to complex and unstructured problems. And it’s a broadly applicable approach that allows designers—and the organizations they work with—to be resilient and to grow.
The role of designers is shifting dramatically within enterprise. Companies used to employ designers to make their offerings more appealing or functional—usually long after executives had made plans for what to offer their customers. Today, as organizations navigate hyper-competitive markets, they are also looking to design at the earliest stages to help steer them to the future. Tomorrow’s designers will add essential value to business by identifying areas of expansion and opportunity, designing organizational change and inspiring and leading transdisciplinary teams to innovate for a better future.
In order to succeed in this new environment, designers must understand, embrace and incorporate business principles early on in their thinking and processes. That is why our program stresses that students’ ideas should take the form of fully-integrated business models. And in order to create meaningful solutions for a rapidly changing world, we as industrial designers must draw upon a wide range of experiences. That is why both our faculty and students come from a variety of educational, cultural and professional backgrounds.
As a graduate program, we engage in ongoing research to advance knowledge in our field and to continuously improve our methods. We design with a consciousness that our products and innovations exist in a larger social and ecological context. And because our methodologies focus on the process of solving problems, they can be broadly applied to a variety of issues, whether they exist in environments, products, transportation, networks, media or beyond.
We’re confident our graduates receive the theories, knowledge and practice necessary to emerge as the types of creative leaders our evolving world increasingly needs.

Are you right for GradID?

We’re looking for bright, articulate, intellectual, literate and social individuals.
Students with industrial design undergraduate degrees and various levels of professional experience comprise a slight majority of our student body. We prefer students with professional industrial design experience whose work has resulted in market-tested designs. However, we also accept candidates with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees and professional experience. In fact, breadth in the background of our students plays an important role in defining the transdisciplinary culture of our program.
We’re especially interested in individuals who can:
• Make appropriate and human-centered designs.
• Write and communicate effectively with language.
• Demonstrate an understanding of, and experience with, 3D form and design.
• Draw effectively and visualize via other methods and mediums.
• Select important projects and identify real needs.
• Research, investigate and analyze design topics.
• Experiment, think laterally and engage in creative idea-generation activities.
• Demonstrate consistently great visual design sensibility and ability, with an attention to style, proportion, shape, material, color, etc.
• Take a systems approach to design solutions and demonstrate an understanding of the business, technological and human related aspects of the design context.
• Create value for the human condition, in addition to satisfying an aesthetic appetite for consumption-driven style and fashion products (e.g. chairs, desk sets, most cars, and designer teapots).
Portfolio Format
We pay close attention to the design of the experience that applicants create for us with their portfolio. Applicants should consider messages conveyed by the design of their portfolio and clearly show their ability to meet the requirements for application as outlined on Art Center’s website (artcenter.edu).
Binders and portfolios that keep work organized are desirable. Digital versions of work (CD or DVD) are acceptable. Powerpoint and Keynote files are preferred. Please make sure that files are easy to understand and, whenever possible, that the work is organized in a single executable file. Titles and descriptions of work should be included.
Admissions Process
All candidates should visit the Admissions page on the Art Center website, where admissions requirements are outlined. Applications are for entry to the Fall term only. February 1 is the deadline for priority consideration, including potential for scholarship award, with decisions being made in the month of March. Applications will continue to be accepted after the deadline as long as space is available, but there is not guarantee that those applications will be reviewed for scholarship award.
Scholarships and Financial aid are available. Procedures and deadlines are outlined on the website.
We strongly encourage students to visit the campus and to meet with the GradID department chair. To arrange a general visit and tour, call 626.396.2373.
To schedule an interview with GradID, call 626.396.2464.