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Designation

Chicago, Online

Designation

Avg Rating:4.8 ( 115 reviews )

Designation is a 24-week program specializing in the fields of UX and UI design with the primary goal to turn you into a hireable candidate for innovative and tech-focused companies. Designation offers a hybrid of both online education and in-person immersion in Chicago. Throughout the 24 weeks of the program, students are treated to guest speakers, sponsored workshops, and lab sessions. While there is no formal grading, students are asked to create portfolio deliverables and to actively document their design process for the purpose of finding a job after graduation. No prior experience is required, though top applicants should be prepared to work a minimum of 60 hours per week during the 12 weeks of the in-person phase. Designation is looking for highly motivated individuals who demonstrate maturity, persistence in problem-solving and show a genuine interest in design. 

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  • Design Essentials (Online, Part-time, begins every 6-8 weeks)

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    Design, Digital Marketing, Product Management, User Experience Design, Mobile
    In PersonPart Time20 Hours/week5 Weeks
    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$1,000
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationOnline
    Learn the essence of user experience (UX), user interface (UI), interaction design (IxD) and more over six weeks of part-time learning that covers the core skills of design and product development. Join a small class of motivated people to learn from our special team of instructors and mentors. If you have any questions, or to discuss the course and whether it's right for you, email will@designation.io.
    Financing
    Deposit$1000
    Financing
    Skills Fund
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelBeginner
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo
  • UI Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks)

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    Start Date Rolling Start Date
    Cost$15,800
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationChicago
    The tools of the UI designer are many, and in this phase, you'll work with all of them. Learn about layouts, identity, preparing assets and interpreting UX research documents to make killer designs that are not only beautiful, but also intuitive and easy to use. If you have any questions, or to discuss the course and whether it's right for you, email will@designation.io.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Climb, Pave, Skill Fund
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelDesign Essentials is a required pre-requisite for this course for students without prior professional design experience.
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
  • UX Design Intensive (begins every 6-8 weeks)

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    Design, User Experience Design, Mobile, Digital Marketing, Product Management
    In PersonFull Time70 Hours/week17 Weeks
    Start Date None scheduled
    Cost$15,800
    Class size24
    LocationChicago
    Take a deep dive in to the strategy and structure behind the creation of digital products. Learn how to identify who your users are, and how to build products that solve a problem. then conduct usability testing to ensure what you built is both efficient and effective. If you have any questions, or to discuss the course and whether it's right for you, email will@designation.io.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Financing
    Climb, Pave, Skill Fund
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelDesign Essentials is a required pre-requisite for this course for students without prior professional design experience.
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
  • Kate Doornbos • UI / UX Designer • Graduate
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    TL;DR: DESIGNATION can help you land a design job, but nothing's handed to you. The people that do well are the ones that have some work experience, take it seriously, trust the process, and work their asses off. The program's hard by design and constantly testing/iterating to be better.

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    I worked with DESIGNATION both as a student and on staff (as a TA), and I'm super happy with the investment. I gained an awesome UI/UX job, solid portfolio, invaluable career advice, connections to companies, and access to a huge network of friends and other designers across the country. I learned. a. ton. 

    Pros:

    • Mike Joosse and his portfolio / career prep

    • Client phase: actual client projects with committed Creative Directors (GA doesn't do client projects)

    • Immersion phase with our intsructor Andrew Twigg from Carnegie Mellon - he was awesome

    Cons:

    • The move away from teaching breadth in both UI and UX towards a depth in either UI or UX. Good for some folks (specialists), bad for others (generalists…)

    • It’s a for-profit program, so it’s not the most selective. Your teammates might be fairly experienced and committed, or they might not…

    • The program also seems a lot more difficult for recent grads vs. career shifters. It helps to have a few years work experience when going in

    Overall, I'd choose DESIGNATION again. Do it! But only if you're serious.

  • Daniel • Jr. UX/UI Designer • Graduate
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    If you have no design experience, but want to make a career change into it, you should definitely consider DESIGNATION because I was on the same boat as you. I came into the program with a background in Biomedical Engineering, while doing wedding videography on the weekends. 

    I chose this program because I wanted to learn the fundamentals of UX/UI, apply them to projects, which would help me to find a job. And that's exactly the focus of DESIGNATION. 

    A huge highlight for me was the client phase because the clients that I worked with were working towards impacting Chicago. One was working to shake-up the education space, to help teachers be able to focus more time on their students and another client was working towards minimizing food waste in the city. I think having opportunities like this makes DESIGNATION a lot more valuable, especially since it's in the 1871 space. 

    Design is constantly changing, and so is DESIGNATION, for their students, which I appreciate. They have built a process that does help students to find jobs, AS LONG AS you do your part in putting together case studies and a portfolio, so don't slack on that. 

  • Rose • UX designer • Graduate
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    I valued my time at DESIGNATION. Before attending the program, I was a teacher without any formal design experience and nervous about the ambiguity of changing careers. Through its rigorous content and nurturing delivery, the program made me confident in my abilities. Working with real startup clients was an invaluable experience that strengthened my design processes. I also want to acknowledge DESIGNATION for being an incredibly inclusive atmosphere for LGBT people. I appreciate how empowering the experience was.

    While DESIGNATION is nurturing, it doesn't coddle. The effectiveness of the bootcamp relies on self-motivatation. That said, the staff is extremely responsive and eager to offer support.

    I'd highly recommend DESIGNATION to any ambitious people seeking a safe learning environment.

  • Mitch Myers • UI Designer • Graduate
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    I was looking to expand my design skills and break into the field of UX/UI, when I stumbled upon DESIGNATION on Course Report. As a web and graphic designer I had experience in design but this is a whole new level. The course is extremely challenging, but also extremely rewarding. I have learned more in the 18 weeks of this course than I did throughout a good portion of my college years. I truly believe that they have set me up, and will continue to support me, to get the best possible job that I can to start my new career.

  • Well Worth It
    - 11/7/2016
    LJ • Graduate
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    When I found DESIGNATION while looking for graphic design master's programs, I didn't even know what UX was. After doing research and meeting with several of the UX/UI programs in Chicago, I knew that DESIGNATION was my best option at finding a career that I would enjoy going to every day. The real world experience you get and the network that you make during the program are invaluable. I am so glad I stumbled upon their website less than a year ago and am extremely excited for my new career in UX/UI.  

  • Nikolas Payne • UX/UI Designer • Graduate
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    Designation was awesome, and I think it deserves a five star rating. The instruction was mostly great, I learned a ton—in part because it was a really fun experience—and I was able to build a really strong portfolio. I also got to know a lot of great new people, make some lifelong friends, fall in love with the city of Chicago (so much so that I’m staying), and launch my career as a UX/UI designer. I really believe I got everything I wanted out of the program.

    I was able to graduate with a really strong portfolio and set of skills that has gotten me interviews at companies like Allstate, Accenture, Walgreens, Coursera, Jellyvision, BuiltinChicago, Civis Analytics. I’ve been working an internship at Perkins+Will doing UX and UI design, and it looks like I’ll be joining Walgreen’s Design team as a UI designer this fall.

    If you have some prior design (graphic, visual) or development (websites, wordpess) experience—Designation is an easy bet. It will build on things you know, but at a level or rigor that’s hard to learn on your own.

    If you are totally new to the field, but extremely motivated—the program could be for you, but make sure you’re realistic. Employers will be more cautious, since your portfolio will be lighter, and you may have to take an internship before landing that full-time job.

    Bottom: Designation is tough, fun, and on the whole—worth it.

  • Atanas • UX designer • Graduate
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    THE GOOD

    Let's start by saying I would have had no idea where to start in my UX career without DESIGNATION. Their career councelor/guide is incredible and very intense. Mike is constantly pushing to make your work better and always available to review your work, and help you find a job that not only fits the companies needs, but yours as well. He helps build a portfolio, case studies, resumes, a linkedin, a personal brand, how to give presentations, how to act as a professional in the design community. The community building aspect of it is great too, and I certainly made some lifelong friends and a "network"(what a horrible word) of people that I now know within the design community. 

    You do actual work for real world clients and have the ability to put that experience on your resume, see what youve designed come into reality. Megan Meuller is an incredible creative director, and Dan Hopewell does an amazing job of setting up clients to work with.

    WHAT'S CHANGING

    So one of the things that DESIGNATION excells at is taking advice on what they can improve on, and listening to the job market to see how they can make their students as hire-able as possible. Students from now on will choose a UX or a UI career path as a major (though you will learn the essentials of both). They have removed the frontend dev/markup language part of the course because the vasat majority of jobs arent looking for a unicorn that can do all the UX the UI and the code, and even if they had one on their hands they'd most likely have them focusing on one field. Instead of coming out of DESIGNATION being mediocre at all 3 parts of Front End Dev, they push you to be incredible in one area, and use that as leverage into the other fields if they interest you. As a UX or UI designer the likelyhood that you will be actually coding for your job is incredibly small.  It's a plus, a benefit, you'll need to know certain keywords to communicate with developers but you  can learn all of that through treehouse or codeacademy with 20 hours of your free time. You dont need to pay a bootcamp to teach you that. 

    THE BAD

    Right now, the community between the faculty and students (but really they treat you more like employees,which is a good thing) is a little weird. I wish that the staff rotated through giving 5 minute announcements at the begining of each day or something to put all of them in front of us more so we could have learned and empathized with their personalities more. We had an incident where we took an assignment as more of a lighthearted team building exercise, while the instructor definitely wanted us to take it waaaaay more seriously. We had only communicated with him once or twice before this and had no idea it would have been recieved so negatively. It was a minor slight, but it put a weird damper on our relationship with the faculty for the rest of our time. Also just in general moer transprency on decisions they make, and why. Continue pulling aside individuals that you have actionable issues/criticism with, instead of adressing the class as a monolith.

    OVERALL

    I've already recomended several of my good friends that are in a career rut that they should pursue starting their career at DESIGNATION. I'm from Atlanta and was more than happy with my decision to move to Chicago to pivot my career. 5/5, ten outta ten, gold star, blue ribbon. Oh if youre from out of town make sure you look up the walkingscore of your apartment youre gonna sublet/rent. and try and get there 30 minutes early everyday, it allows you to level your head, and making your team of 2-4 work, and start their daily plans without you is selfish (plus these are your friends youre gonna be looking to get a job with 5 years down the line.)

  • Daniel • UX/UI designer • Graduate
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    It was the most intense experience I've ever had and also the best. They have great instructors, always willing to help. There has not been one time when I've been stuck and couldn't find an instructor to help me, even after finishing the course. They offer top notch resources. Have no doubt that if you put the effort you will become a UX/UI designer. Most importantly, you'll learn how to be a profesional in the field. After learning for the first few weeks we then worked with real life clients on real projects. Eventhough we had guidance, I felt confident with my knowledge, skills and the quality of my work. There's no substitute for working with real clients and their feedback is very gratifying. I made great friends in the process too. I would do it again and double down. Be prepared to work hard, very hard. It's doable, but remember that what you take out is directly proportional to what you put into it. The only feedback I had was that they needed more people to assist with job placement but they took care of that already so it's cool.  

  • Katarina • Student / Designer-in-Residence • Graduate
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    I was a member of the Magenta cohort that graduated in November 2015. After graduating, I was hired by the program as a Designer-in-Residence.

    I can wholeheartedly say that DESIGNATION changed my life. I enrolled in the program without having had any formal design training, yet with the guidance of the instructors, the comprehensive curriculum and many late nights of effort, I am now confident in my abilities as a digital designer. 

    Having been both a student and an employee of the program I was able to gain the student perspective but also a look behind the scenes. 

    As a student, DESIGNATION was one of the most challenging yet rewarding academic journeys I have been on. There is an incredible amount of information that will be thrown at you, and you will inevitably feel overwhelmed at points; however it will be a shared experience between you and your fellow cohort members who will become close friends that you can lean on. 

    DESIGNATION will provide the tools and guidance for success, however, success is not a given. It is the student's responsibility to be self-disciplined and to take advantage of the resources provided by the program.

    The instructors are one of the key resources of the program. The instructors are knowledgeable and want to see you succeed. They are there to provide guidance and help you on your journey. That said, they are not there to hold your hand. You are expected to put in the required hours and effort.

    An additional resource that is just as important as the instructors, if not more so, is your fellow cohort members. Fellow cohort members (as well as those in the senior or junior cohort) will teach you much more than you expect. Learning design is about practice and being open to critique. If you consistently ask your cohort members for feedback, you will accelerate your growth and learning. 

    Unlike other programs, DESIGNATION gives you the chance to work with actual clients (startups in Chicago and around the country) to gain real-world experience which in turn distinguishes the work of a DESIGNATION graduate from those of other bootcamps. You will learn how to navigate client relationships which is a critical skill to possess.

    As part of the program you are paired with a mentor; a working design professional who can answer any questions you have regarding the working design world, the application and interview process, etc. Again, it's up to you to schedule the meetings with your mentor.

    The career support is also another selling point of the program. There is a dedicated community director who provides portfolio development support while you are still a student and will assist you in making connections with companies once you are a graduate of the program. DESIGNATION does not guarantee a job upon graduation, but if you ask for assistance, they will do what they can to connect you with recruiters and companies. You will find that they won't always be able to help you in the case that they have no connection with the company but as time goes by, the stronger and more expansive the DESIGNATION network becomes.

    As an employee of the program, I was able to see and contribute first-hand to the program itself. DESIGNATION practices what it preaches in that the curriculum is constantly being iterated upon based on student feedback. They make it a priority to figure out how to address frustrations that students have.

    The program is not perfect - there will be moments of frustration, but you are actively encouraged to voice your concerns. The staff is genuinely invested in your success.

    Overall, this program has the capacity to change the direction of your career. You will get out of it what you put in. It won't be easy, but you will have the support of a lot of people along the way. You will form friendships that will last a lifetime; you'll learn more over the course of the program than you ever thought possible and you will have a great of a time doing it.

     

  • Anonymous • UX Designer • Graduate
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    I graduated from the program in April and just got my first job offer. So I can happily say that the program is legit and would reccomend it. I think there are a few things to know/consider to get the most out of the program:

    - Know the basics of what UX is BEFOREHAND. Read as much as you can to get aquianted with terms and everything else UX so that you can hit the ground running. 

    - Be ready to work your ass off. When they say the program is intense, they mean it. When they say it's 70 hours a week, they mean it. When they say you really have to put in the effort on your portfolio (during the latter career phase), they mean it. Or you could be lazy and slack off throughout the program, but good luck with the job hunt afterwards.

    - The instructors are awesome, and expose you to a wide variety of views, opinions, and styles. Realize that everything you learn is subjective, and you have to process or filter your feedback. Also, you will learn SO MUCH, but there is inifinitely more for you to still learn after. This field in general is best for lifelong learners.

    - It's not perfect. There were definitely bumps in the road, but I think thats to be expected. The staff at DESIGNATION are all very friendly, genuinely interested in their mission, and adamanet about constantly asking for feedback and improving the program. This is key, IMO.

    - The people you are exposed to and the network they help you to create is one of the biggest benefits in my opinion. Especially for a pretty big introvert like me, the opportunity to comfortably meet and talk with designers and other creatives and tech people from all over Chicago (and beyond) is amazing.  

    - The opportunity to work with two REAL clients is one of the key benefits of the program. Be as involved as possible during the client phase, because not only can this open up opportunities to you in the future, but being able to speak to real world client work during interviews is something graduates from similar programs cannnot say. 

    - Just competing the program isn't going to land you a job. This wasn't clear to me when I started, so I just want to try to be upfront about all of the work required to really be ready to search for jobs: resume, personal statement, portfolio site with 3-5 case studies. (THIS IS MORE WORK THAN YOU EXPECT). You begin work on this in the final 6 weeks, but its completely up to you how much you get done. It took me about a week and a half after the program to finish my portfolio, and I was the second one finished. So just remember, after the program, theres still plenty of work to do.

     

    Overall, I really appreciate the program and the people, and where they've helped me get to today. Just know what you are getting in to, be ready to work your ass off, and go for it!

     

  • A Premiere Program
    - 5/14/2016
    Anonymous • UX Designer • Graduate
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    After graduating and moving back to San Francisco, one of my first design job interviews was with a hiring team that pulled my application from the applicant pool because they saw DESIGNATION on my resume. They had a great experience with another graduate and were eager to bring in someone with a similar skillset. That experience reminded me that I made the right decision to attend this bootcamp.

    A few attributes set DESIGNATION apart from other design programs, in my mind:

    1. Intimate learning environment: DESIGNATION is small in all the right ways. While the staff have strong and deep ties to the design community and professional world, each cohort is comprised of maybe 20 students. You will get the help you need to reach your design goals. Instructors and classmates will learn your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone will help you improve by leaps and bounds.

    2. Startup workspace: The program occupies part of 1871, an incubator and co-working space. This means that, if you want, you can meet and talk with professionals from different fields who can offer you "outside" opinions and perspectives on design. I was even offered a few freelance opportunities while still in the program.

    3. Real client design projects: The last six weeks of the program are allotted to two design consulting projects with real businesses that want design work. This is an unreal opportunity to apply your newly-acquired design skills to the real world. These projects make for great portfolio pieces.

    The reason I only give the program 4 out of 5 stars on job assistance is because they do not have established placement programs with companies who agree to interview new graduates (this is a practice that a few friends at development bootcamps have told me about). However, DESIGNATION does have a full-time staff member who focuses on professional development and a significant portion of the program is focused on getting you ready to find a design job. Again, the DESIGNATION community is strong and we have an internal job board where new roles and potential referals are posted everyday.

     

  • Anonymous • Front End Developer • Graduate
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    The instructors are great, they come from many different backgrounds, and they really know what they're talking about. With experiences in UX/UI design, advertising, graphic design, front end development, entrepreneurship, logo design, and so on, I dont remember having a question that somebody in 1871 didn't have the answer to. 

    At DESIGNATION, you're doing something productive towards your future 11+ hours every single day and that really makes you remember the knowledge you are learning. I learned more about design and front end development in the first 2 weeks then I did the previous 2 years in college. Doing something for 70+ hours a week is going to quickly get you better at whatever that something is.

    Lastly, the 'job-opportunities' message board is constantly being posted to by the instructors and alumni located worldwide. With how big the network is, it is very easy to find job openings that fit your criteria. My cohort has gotten job offers from Hawaii to Boston, and many places in between.

Thanks!