This is more than double the year-on-year decline across all courses, which stands at 7 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
There have been a total of 227 729 applications to creative arts and design courses so far, compared to 271 931 at this stage last year.
The decline in application numbers follows changes to the higher-education funding system, which could see university fees for undergraduate courses rise to £9000 a year.
Initial Ucas application figures, released last October, showed a27.1 per cent drop in art and design applications, although these figures were released prior to the application deadline for many design courses.
Ucas says its analysis of the figures shows a drop in demand from wealthier candidates, compared to less-advantaged candidates.
Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook says, ‘Our analysis shows that decreases in demand are slightly larger in the more advantaged groups than in the disadvantaged groups.
‘Widely expressed concerns about recent changed in higher education funding arrangements have a disproportionate effect on more disadvantaged groups are not borne out by these data.’
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts says, ‘Even with a small reduction in applications, this will still be a competitive year like any other as people continue to understand that university remains a good long-term investment in your future.’