It depends on what you want to do. Trickboards (the kind most people think about when they hear the word skateboard) is for tricks. Longboards are for cruising around and getting to places. And there are many inbetween. As for brands, some are better for different things, but there is no clear "best" brand.
the best skateboard supplier is a tight race between on deck and west49
Yes! There are a few websites which allow you to put your own name and design on a skateboard and have it shipped to your house. look up zazzle custom skateboards
CCS is the very best site for making your own skateboard.
Under the Visual Arts major, You would Take graphic design classes
there is not really a "best" type of skateboard. it's all self-preference. whatever you're used to or like is probably the best for you.