Academy of Art University Earns High Ranking on Prestigious Red Dot and Linkedin Lists

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San Francisco’s Academy of Art University has placed #4 on the international Red Dot Design Ranking 2014 and has earned a spot on LinkedIn’s list of top universities for designers.

San Francisco’s Academy of Art University has placed #4 on the international Red Dot Design Ranking 2014 and has earned a spot on LinkedIn’s list of top universities for designers.

Academy of Art University’s status as Red Dot’s second highest-ranking design school in the United States was determined by five consecutive years of consistent achievements in the Red Dot Award: Design Concept category.

Recent Academy graduate Manjia Zhao, 26, won “Best of the Best” for her prototype game app, Airnergy. The app, which was part of Zhao’s MFA Graphic Design thesis project, encourages players to take stock of their energy use and make minor, real life changes — each of which enhances the game’s colorful, whimsical “virtual garden.”

“I am from China and my home city was polluted, so I started the thesis because I wanted to help increase awareness about our environment. Players like a virtual world they can take control of and the game motivates them to do little things in their daily lives. If you forget about turning off the lights, it relates to your score and your game garden,” she said.

School of Graphic Design MFA Director Phil Hamlett praised Zhao’s entry.

“Manjia has identified a problem facing the world and applied her formidable design skills to rectifying it. Her mobile-first design solution tackles air pollution by bringing it to the forefront of people’s lives — that is to say, in their pockets — in the form of a lively and responsive app that uses gamification to make an urgent societal and ecological need accessible and actionable,” he said.

Red Dot received more than 16,500 submissions from nearly 70 countries in 2014.

Red Dot President Ken Koo called Academy of Art University “one of the top universities in America and Europe for continuously, and progressively, producing cutting-edge and forward-thinking product concepts.”

Academy of Art University was also named a “Best School for Designers” by the professional networking website The ranking was calculated by the success rate of its graduates finding desirable jobs, i.e. jobs in their chosen field. The list of “Best Schools for Designers” is based on career outcome and was determined through LinkedIn’s analysis of the employment patterns of more than 300 million LinkedIn members around the world.

About Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University, the largest private university of art and design in the United States, is educating students for the art and design jobs of the 21st century. Established in 1929, the Academy is an output-based higher education model that provides an inclusive admissions policy to all students, but imposes a rigorous curriculum that requires the students to produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates a mastery of their field in order to graduate. Students are taught by a faculty of professionals from the existing marketplace, both online and on campus in San Francisco, who provide them with an understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s business environment. The Academy’s hands-on curriculum produces graduates who possess outstanding artistic and design skills—and equally as important, the ability to put those talents to work immediately after graduation. As a result, Academy graduates are ready to compete for and win the jobs of the 21st century in the fields of Acting, Advertising, Animation & Visual Effects, Architecture, Art Education, Art History, Fashion, Fashion Journalism, Fashion Styling, Fine Art, Game Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Jewelry & Metal Arts, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures & Television, Multimedia Communications, Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media, Photography, Visual Development, Web Design & New Media and Art Teaching Credential and Writing for Film, Television & Digital Media. Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC, NASAD, Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) (BFA/MFA-IAD), NAAB (B-ARCH*, M-ARCH), and California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). *B-ARCH program in candidacy status. Visit for more information.

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Jennifer Blot