The 2017 Design Summer School Calendar

Our selection of the most exciting Design Summer Schools around the world, from Sofia, via Montreal to Tokyo. Neon Moiré is approaching its second (!) summer. And like last year we’ve found ourselves wondering: Where can we go this coming sunny season and attend a school without credit points or real diplomas?

Based on last years (2016) guide we have made a new selection of the most exciting camps in the field of graphic design, typography, architecture and media arts. The first starts on 18 June in Glasgow and the last ends in Bengtsår Island, Finland on August 24. What all these Design Summer Schools have in common is that they are all about getting out of your (design) comfort zone, learning new stuff, meeting new people and having a good time. For all of them you have to apply, some are free and others ask a (small) fee. If you are a student or young professionals in the field of art, architecture and design, be prepared to experience an unique summer.

When you can’t get enough, there is a new independent 5 month program, organized by Open Set, starting in September. Found out more about that dutch design program at the end of the page.

Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive

5 - 16 June 2017, New York City, USA

The New York School of Visual Arts MA Design Research studio has created a two-week intensive summer program devoted to research and writing about design. Participants will be introduced to a range of techniques for constructing compelling narratives about images, objects, and spaces.

Application deadline: 5 May 2017
Fee: $2,250
Tutors: Adam Harrison Levy, Molly Heintz, Virginia Heffernan, Steven Heller, Karrie Jacobs, Jennifer Kabat, Robin Pogrebin, Craig Taylor, Rob Walker, Mimi Zeiger.
Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive

Test Unit

18 - 25 June 2017, Glasgow, Scotland

Test Unit is an art, design and architecture summer school and events program. Over the course of one intensive week Test Unit will explore the theme: 'Occupying the Post-Industrial City'. By converting a vacant building, Civic House, and adjacent vacant site in north Glasgow, into a publicly accessible space. During the week they have a symposium and several creative workshops. Read the interview we did last year with Helen Teeling, of Agile City, the platform behind Test Unit.

Application deadline: 24 April 2017
Fee: £175 students, £350 professionals
Max. participants: 42
Tutors: TAKTAL, The National Theatre of Scotland, studio Jason Bruges, Baxendale, A Feral Studio
Test Unit

De Program

18 June - 8 July, The Hague, The Netherlands

De Program is an intense three-week graphic design program that emphasizes the shift from the form to what informs the message including invisible networks that condition the continual transformation of messages.
Developed by the Communication Design / Graphic Design Programs at College for Creative Studies in Detroit and is lead by Doug Kisor Professor, Communication Design

Application deadline: 20 April 2017
Fee: $ 4100 (This includes three undergraduate or graduate credit hours in studio)
Tutors: TBA
De Program website


19 June - 21 July, Paris, France

TypeParis is an 5-week intensive typographic program to gain a better understanding of what it takes to produce professional type designs at a high level of quality. With an unique approach, TypeParis continues the long tradition of type design study that started in France back in the 1970’s.

Application deadline: closed
Fee: € 4200
Tutors: Xavier Dupré, Indra Kupferschmid, Jean François Porchez, Julien Priez, Mathieu Réguer. Guest critics: Veronika Burian, Marina Chaccur, Stéphane Elbaz, Mário Feliciano, Albert-Jan Pool, Sumner Stone

180 Creative Camp

2 - 9 July 2017, Abrantes, Portugal

180 Creative Camp is a creativity event developed by Canal180, the Portuguese TV channel and online platform dedicated to the arts and culture. The camp aims to intersect traditional and media arts and interacting with the community of the host town with the motto “Creative Collaborations in Media Arts”. 180 Creative Camp challenges the boundaries of contemporary creation, in fields such as design, video, urban art and architecture. Read the interview we did last year with Nuno Alves, curator of 180 Creative Camp and programming director of Canal180.

Application deadline: 25 June
Fee: € 300 (until 25 April), € 350 (25 April - 25 June)
Max. participants: 50
Tutors: to be announced
180 Creative Camp

Porto Design Summer School

3 - 15 July 2017, Porto, Portugal

Porto Design Summer School is all about editorial design. In the two weeks the school focus on the world of book design and graphic design in general.

Application deadline: 22 May 2017
Fee: € 1590
Tutors: Hamish Muir, (UK) Andrew Howard (UK/PT), Catherine Griffiths (NZ) and David Pearson (UK).
Porto Design Summer School website

Typography Summer School London

10 - 14 July 2017, London, UK

Typography Summer School is setup as a forum in which they discuss what typography is, its relevance in design history and the part it plays in today’s society. During the five day program you investigate the role of typographic design across ranging mediums, from books to film credits and posters to websites.

Application deadline: 8 May 2017
Fee: £425
Max. participants: 30
Tutors: Fiona Banner, Paul Barnes, Catherine Dixon, Europa, Frith Kerr, James Langdon, Fraser Muggeridge, OK-RM
Typography Summer School London

Know-How / Show-How

10 - 21 July 2017, Sofia, Bulgaria

Know-How / Show-How is a platform for interdisciplinary collaborations between designers and professionals from the international creative community, taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria. Within the 2017 theme Re-vision Material (ethics, aesthetics and ecology) you will explore material as connecting element between people, places and properties. The program exists of workshops, discussions and lectures.

Application deadline: 18 June
Fee: € 150
Max. participants: 30 - 34
Tutors: Georgi Manassiev & Els Woldhek (Odd Matter) (BG/NL) and Maria Blaisse (NL)
Know-How / Show-How website

TDi 2017

10 - 21 July 2017, Reading, United Kingdom

The TDi is two weeks of learning about typeface design and typography with exceptional tutors, and unparalleled resources. This happens in an environment where we can spend enough time to go deep into the interests of every participant, and follow the threads of inquiry into areas in which people have little experience.

Fee: £ 960 - 2610.
Max. participants: 25
Tutors: Gerry Leonidas, Gerard Unger, Fiona Ross, Eric Kindel, Ewan Clayton, Vaibhav Singh, Mohammad Dakak.
TDi website

ISIA Urbino/Werkplaats Typografie Summer School 2017

24 July - 4 August 2017, Urbino, Italy

Since 2009 Werkplaats Typografie and ISIA Urbino, joined together to set up this international Summer School. This years theme is loosely derived from the (Architectural) setting and location of Urbino, its typical (Italian) culture (food, art, design, people), and its (ancient, or young) history and what this could all embody, and be of inspiration to you.

Application deadline: 22 May 2017
Fee: € 1000.
Max. participants: 24
Tutors: Armand Mevis, Maureen Mooren, Johannes Schwartz, Leonardo Sonnoli.
ISIA Urbino/Werkplaats Typografie Summer School website

A School, A Park

26 July - 4 August 2017, Montreal, Canada

This year the A School, A Park location, a garage, will transform into a print shop for 10 days, hosting a series of workshops and lectures that challenge and engage graphic design briefs with technique, experimentation, distribution and the community & cultural value of putting ink to paper in various scales, methods, and formats.

Application deadline: 29 May 2017
Fee: $ 425 USD
Max. participants: 24
Tutors: Atlas Studio Zurich (CH), Charmant & Courtois (CA), Chris Dorland (CA/US), Erin Knutson (US), Gabrielle Lamontagne (CA), Kristian Henson (US), Sean Kuhnke (US) + more to be announced
A School, A Park

GDA Summer Sessions

28 July - 13 August 2017, Tokyo, Japan

The GDA Summer Sessions is a mobile summer school program developed by Graphic Design Arnhem (GDA), ArtEZ University of Art Arnhem, NL. Summer Sessions’ goal is to introduce participants to the concepts behind contemporary (graphic) design research, speculative design and design critique, as well as how to integrate these ideas into one’s own design practice. The program comprises two phases: Research and Design. The first week is dedicated to research and input. The second week is output-oriented and dedicated to producing work.

Application deadline: 2 June 2017
Fee: €1995 (GDA students receive a scholarship from ArtEZ and pay €1495. Tokyo residents who do not need accommodation pay €1695 (¥206000).
Max. participants: 30
Tutors: Vinca Kruk, Thomas Castro, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, Femke Herregraven
GDA Summer Sessions

Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2017

30 July - 11 August, 2017, Amsterdam, NL

The program of the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy in 2017 includes workshops, talks and lectures lead by well versed talented educators and professionals skilled at teaching and sharing information of their own research and practice to groups of individuals who are self-initiators, curious and innovative in their fields. People who are not afraid to open, break or rethink software and hardware concepts and the like to reflect and research the ethical consequences that arise in our contemporary information society.

Application deadline:
Fee: €350,00 (excl. VAT)
Max. participants: 30
Tutors: Things Network, Gottfried Haider, Sarah Garcin, Bongani Ricky Masuku, Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Sjef van Gaalen

Typography Summer School New York

31 July - 4 August 2017, New York, USA

Typography Summer School is setup as a forum in which they discuss what typography is, its relevance in design history and the part it plays in today’s society. During the five day program you investigate the role of typographic design across ranging mediums, from books to film credits and posters to websites.

Application deadline: 8 May 2017
Fee: $750
Max. participants: 30
Tutors: Julian Bittiner, James Goggin, Other Means, Fraser Muggeridge
Typography Summer School New York

Cancelled! The Ventriloquist Summerschool

date not set yet, Olso, Norway
Application deadline: 1 July 2017
Fee: Free
More to be announced
The Ventriloquist Summerschool website

Trojan Horse Summer School

15 - 24 August 2017, Bengtsår Island, Hanko, Southern Finland

Organised by the Finnish Design Summer School association, which was established in 2016, the school takes the form of a camp, they create space and time for thinking, understanding, listening, questioning, learning, criticising and making new friends. With workshops, reading circles and other activities on a lush island isolated from everyday life.

Fee: € 210
Max. participants: 20
Tutors: Kaisa Karvinen, Tommi Vasko, Ida Kukkapuro
Trojan Horse Summer School website

Open Set Lab

September 2017 - January 2018, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

With the research theme ‘Memories of the Future’ initiated in 2016, Open Set Lab program continues the cultural dialogue with lectures, interactive real-time sessions, and group critiques led by notable Dutch and international figures in design, art, and research. The real-time working sessions and group critiques will take place every two weeks on Fridays and Saturdays.
Check out our interview with did with Open Set's artistic director and co-founder Irina Shapiro last year.

Application deadline: Early birds May 22; Regular deadline June 26
Fee: Early Birds € 800 Euro; Regular fee € 900 Euro
Max. participants: 32
Tutors: Arne Hendriks (NL), Noam Toran (UK), Mishka Henner (UK), !Mediengruppe Bitnik (CH), more to be announced.
Open Set Lab

If we missed the one, you are organizing or attending, please let us know.
Have a great summer.

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