Harrington College of Design

Harrington College of Design gets its name from Frances Harrington, who visited Chicago in 1931 to speak on her specialty - interior design. When the audience showed serious interest in the field she created what was first known as Harrington Institute of Interior Design. The school is now located in the famous Loop area of the Windy City.

Many students earned diplomas in the next 28 years. The school's founder retired in 1959, leaving the school in the hands of a former student.

Under the leadership of Robert Marks the institute expanded its curriculum and the student body grew. The school changed its name in 2003 and eventually moved to the 200 block of Madison Street.

Harrington College of Design now offers programs leading to associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees. True to its roots, the school offers the Associate of Applied Science in Interior and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design.

Those wishing to move further into the professional world may be interested in the college's Master of Arts in Interior Design program.

The school has not limited its degree programs to the field of interior design. Students may work toward and Associate of Applied Science in Digital Photography. Courses in this program include:

  • Imaging

  • Studio Practices

  • Studio Lighting

  • Location Lighting

  • and Commercial Photography

The school also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts program for Communication Design (typography, environmental graphics, web process etc.)


Digital Photography

Harrington's digital photography degree program is designed to give students the "knowledge and skills you need" through a five-semester course of study.

Of course, the focus is on "using digital techniques for photographic reproduction of the image." Not only do students learn fundamentals of photography but they also learn technical and business skills necessary to succeed as a professional.

Highlights of the digital photography program include:

  • Courses lead to a formal portfolio presentation

  • State-of-the-art photography facilities and imaging software

  • Wide range of camera equipment, lighting equipment, printed material and video study material

  • Emphasis on lighting techniques, including work with strobe and steady light

  • In addition to Photoshop, students learn Illustrator and InDesign

Beautiful city lights captured with a digital SLR camera The possibilities with your digital SLR camera are only limited by your imagination


An Inside Look

A closer look at the status and reputation of the modern Harrington College of Design reveals some very positive factors and some negative factors.

The school is now owned by Career Education Corporation (CEC) and is operated with the intention of making a profit for the company. This has led to some less-than-satisfying experiences for some students.

Students do report that the faculty members are skilled and knowledgeable, bringing design-industry experience to the classroom. Serious study does lead to a significant improvement in skills, according to many reviews.

However, students also report that the workload is "intense."

The "money question"

Tuition and fees are in the $20,000 range for one year of full-time study. For this significant amount of money, students should be prepared to devote most of their time to serious study and hands-on experience.

Each student should visit with a financial-aid representative to see if there are programs that may help reduce expenses.

If you are considering attending Harrington College of Design it may be best to contact the Student Services office to make sure you understand available options such as tutoring, student organizations, planned social events etc.

The "where to sleep" question

Housing is always a major factor in completing a positive college experience. The school works with local real estate companies to provide "dormitory-style housing."

According to information from the school,

"Each student has his or her own lease for the term that includes the cost of basic utilities."


Student residences "are located within a 10-mile radius of the college" with reasonable access to public transportation.

It would also be wise to talk with someone in the Career Services office, to gain a better understanding of services such as: job-search workshops, resume assistance, portfolio guidance, job-finding assistance for those needing part-time work while attending school.


Contact Details

Harrington College of Design
200 W Madison St Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 1-866-590-4423

Website: harrington.edu