The most exciting design summer schools of 2018 around the world.

Our annual selection of the most exciting Design Summer Schools around the world, from New York, via Letterfrack to Rotterdam. In the spirit of discovering new summer schools we found some amazing new ones. Where you can attend a school without credit points or real diplomas, expand your horizon and make new friends for life.

Based on our annual guide of best summer schools 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 4 June in New York and the last ends also in New York on August 17. So you can literally do some “Voyages Extraordinaire” around the world.

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 professional in the field of the arts, architecture and design, be prepared to experience an unique summer.

In chronological order, here’s a list of the most interesting design summer schools in 2018.

Design Summer School 2018 timetable. Design Neon Moiré / Thomas Dahm


Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive

Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive

4 - 15 June 2018, 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: 15 April 2018
Fee: $1.950
Tutors: Adam Harrison Levy, Molly Heintz, Virginia Heffernan, Steven Heller, Karrie Jacobs, Jennifer Kabat, Robin Pogrebin, Craig Taylor, Rob Walker.
Design Writing and Research Summer Intensive website

closing party

Test Unit

17 - 23 June 2018, 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: 14 May 2018
Fee: £200 students, £350 general admission
Tutors: TBA
Test Unit website

Design West Summer School

Design West Summer School

23 June - 6 July 2018, Letterfrack, Ireland

Design West — Ireland’s exciting new International Design Summer School, set in Connemara on the Wild Atlantic Way, is now open for applications. Design West facilitates both individual and collaborative approaches to the making of 2D and 3D design expressions, including visual communication, installations, abstract and environmental design.

Application deadline: 14 May 2018
Fee: € 1800, includes accommodation
Max. participants: 42
Tutors: Lizá Ramalho, Artur Rebelo, Isidro Ferrer, Ken Deegan, Noelle Cooper, Colin Farmer, Conor Clarke, Susan Rogers, GMIT Letterfrack
Website Design West Summer School

Related interview: Conor Clarke on design summer school Design West

July 2019

000034-87 ⓒ Matilde Viegas
© Matilde Viegas

180 Creative Camp

1 - 8 July 2018, 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: 1 July
Fee: € 300
Tutors: Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk, George Muncey, Royal Studio, Elise by Olsen, Luis Severo
180 Creative Camp website


A School, A Park

5 - 13 July, Montreal, Canada

This year the A School, A Park location, a garage, will transform into a print shop for 9 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: 20 May 2018
Fee: $575 CAD
Tutors: Francois Girard-Meunier, Ingrid Rousseau, Geoff Han, Jessica Gysel and Sara Kaaman (Girls like us magazine), Display Distribute, Laurenz Brunner
A School, A Park website

Porto Design Summer School

Porto Design Summer School

2 - 14 July 2018, 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, Andrew Howard, Ronnie Fueglister, Sonya Dyakova
Porto Design Summer School website

Typography Summer School London

Typography Summer School London

9 - 13 July 2018, 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: 22 May 2018
Fee: £425
Max. participants: 30
Tutors: A Practice for Everyday Life, Catherine Dixon, Europa, Frith Kerr, James Langdon, Fraser Muggeridge, OK-RM, David Pearson.
Typography Summer School London website

TDi2014 workingmess-1024x606

TDi 2018

9 - 20 July 2018, 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: £ 2660. (£1,080 for returning participants, for one week)
Max. participants: 25
Tutors: Gerry Leonidas, Gerard Unger, Fiona Ross, Eric Kindel, Ewan Clayton, Vaibhav Singh, Mohammad Dakak.
TDi website

Rotterdam Babylon

Rotterdam Babylon

18 - 25 July, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Design summer school Rotterdam Babylon on Visual Complexity in Social, Autonomous and Commercial Practices. First edition of this intense 8-day summerschool organized by WdKA (Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam). During the week you engage with fellow designers and artists ánd the city of Rotterdam to explore, identify and strengthen your professional engagement. You learn how to reach out in complex social environments, and make the communication bubble pop!

Fee: €1750
Application deadline: April 30, 2018
Tutors: Edith Gruson, Gerard Hadders
Rotterdam Babylon website

Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2018

Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2018

21 July - 2 August, 2018, Amsterdam, NL

Under the title: Fake it! Fake them! Fake you! Fake us!... Hackers & Designers calls for taking things into own hands. By inviting hackers/designers/makers/artists to come together for 2 weeks in the summer we aim to establish a critical perspective on truth as such, and call for an informed dealing and working with multiple truths. Tutors and mentors will become participants, participants become workshop leaders–everyone will be taken on the collective venture of shared responsibility, bringing in own expertise, urgencies and experience.

Application deadline:
Fee: free of charge. Free of charge means: by contributing with a workshop you will be able to attend all workshops and other activities of the program.
Max. participants: 30
Tutors: Things Network, Gottfried Haider, Sarah Garcin, Bongani Ricky Masuku, Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Sjef van Gaalen
Hackers & Designers Summer Academy website

ISIA Urbino/Werkplaats Typografie Summer School 2018

ISIA Urbino/Werkplaats Typografie Summer School 2018

22 July - 3 August 2018, Urbino, Italy

10th Edition! 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: 14 May 2018
Fee: € 1100.
Tutors: Armand Mevis, Maureen Mooren
ISIA Urbino/Werkplaats Typografie Summer School website

ISIA Type Week 2018

ISIA Type Week

23 July - 1 August 2018, Urbino, Italy

ISIA Type Week is an intensive course in type design led by Fred Smeijers and held at the Higher Institute for Applied Arts in Urbino, Italy. The course follows a teaching method developed and practised by Smeijers, who has more than 30 years experience as an educator. The method guides students from analog to digital designing along a smooth and constant learning curve. The 8-day, 2018 edition of the course extends the existing curriculum to include a subject-related trip to the nearby cities of Fano and Pesaro and a visit to the historic library of the University of Urbino, alongside regular contributions by visiting tutors who this year include Eric Kindel, Riccardo Olocco and Luciano Perondi.

Application deadline: 13 May 2018
Fee: €800
Tutors: Fred Smeijers, Eric Kindel, Riccardo Olocco, Luciano Perondi
ISIA Type Week website



GDA Summer Sessions

10 - 24 August 2018, Arnhem, The Netherlands

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. Theme X is Method.

Application deadline: 2 June 2017
Fee: €1995 (GDA students receive a scholarship from ArtEZ and pay €1495)
Tutors: Catalogtree, Coralie Vogelaar, Danny van der Kleij, Donna Verheijden, Jeremy Jansen, Remco van Bladel, Team Thursday, Thomas Castro
GDA Summer Sessions website

Typography Summer School New York

Typography Summer School New York

13 - 17 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: 22 May 2017
Fee: $750
Tutors: Danielle Aubert, Other Means, Fraser Muggeridge
Typography Summer School New York website

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

Share on

Twitter iconFacebook iconLinkedin icon

Get the latest design conference news
in your inbox!

Join over 2,000 readers and receive a curated mix of upcoming events, inspirational talks, and links at the intersection of tech, design, and culture every Monday.