designation-logo

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. 

Recent Designation Reviews: Rating 4.8

all (115) reviews for Designation →

Recent Designation News

Read all (11) articles about Designation →
  • Design Essentials (Online, Part-time, begins every 6-8 weeks)

    Apply
    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)

    Apply
    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)

    Apply
    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
  • John Buckley • UX Designer • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    I uprooted from Ireland and travelled to Chicago to complete DESIGNATION - initially believing it would add some creditionals to my work as a SME business consultant, the ideas of Design Thinking and the holistic bootcamp environment drew me in. 

    While there I got totally swept up in the passion and enthusiasm amongst the team and students and found myself falling in love with UX. Armed with an extensive knowledge and great career direction I have returned to Ireland and landed a job with one of Europe's most resepected UX Design firms (who IXDA have also been awarded best in the world 2015) and I couldnt be happier. It was a great experience (both during and after).

  • Anonymous • Business Development Manager • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    Incredible environmnet filled with people from all over the world that come from vastly different experiences. I learned more during the 12-week course than I did during 4 years of college. 

  • Anonymous
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    I was trying to teach myself design and development tools and technologies for a few months. I then came across DESIGNATION and decided to give it a chance. Best career decision I've made. 

    I was struggling with certain CSS concepts such as the box model and floats for weeks on my own. At DESIGNATION, the concepts were made clear to me in two days. The instructors taught best practices within the industry and presented us with great resources to design and develop websites/graphics/wireframes/prototypes well. 

    DESIGNATION gives real client experience, which is invaluable. I was able to present these projects at interviews, which led to job offers; more importantly, job offers that I wanted. 

    This is an intense and worthwhile experience. 

  • Anonymous • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    If you are thinking of enrolling in DESIGNATION, be prepared for the most intense couple months of your life.  Actually, in hindsight and in the moment, I don't think you can be very prepared.  It will be unlike anything you have ever or will ever experience.  Your future fellow classmates, the teachers, the mentors, will all be lifelong connections.  The topics taught and nurtured will impact your career in these fields without a doubt.  Enrolling was truly the best decision I ever made.  Also thanks to their internal instant messaging tool, I feel like I am still always connected to the DESIGNATION community, even after having graduated.  Be prepared to grow your design network by more than 100 people (and keep it growing).  

    DESIGNATION gave me a career path.  It helped me apply my previous knowledge and fine tune it in a way that works with the most lucrative career paths on the market.  But if you don't have any previous relevant experience in UX/UI, you will still learn everything you need to know to make it in these fields, and then some.  Also, their strategic partnership with 1871 and 1871's startups was an extremely smart move.  

  • Anonymous • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    Really liked the way the curriculum was structured around full-stack design and then one particular focus area for each student. Great informal atmosphere and the instructors are very talented, but sometimes they are too busy to give full support creatively. Overall good experience.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    I was frustrated with the my work as a graphic designer at an ad agency. Istarted doing some research into furthering my education with night classes or bootcamps when I stumbled upon DESIGNATION. I decided jumping all in to a full-time, total immersion program was a great idea. I joined the first full-time cohort (Amaranth) to enhance my skills in web and mobile development. I'm so happy that I did too. 

    DESIGNATION was an amazing experience. Being in a creative environment, surrounded by other creative people was very rewarding. We were able to work together to solve problems and help each other succeed. It was a safe space to try anything and see how far you could get. We were constantly encouraged to dream bigger, work harder and really push the boundaries. Between the instructors and the guest speakers, I was able to talk to, learn from and hang out with some extremely brilliant people.

  • Anonymous • Student
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    Overall Experience: 5 stars
    Instructors: 4 stars (Mine were great, but the other cohort's instructor was not very pleasant)
    Flatiron Student Services: 0 stars
    Projects: 5 stars
    Facilities: 5 stars
    Post-Graduation Support: 1 star

     

    Summary: Designation (now Flatiron) was a great experience and I’m so glad that I did the program. I was in a completely different field prior to the bootcamp, and with Designation I have a new career path and a new skill set. I also have more confidence about myself and excitement for what the future holds in UX/UI design. While some may think that 80+ hours a week for three month would be a terrible and overwhelming experience, I loved it and I didn’t mind staying on campus from 9 am to 10 pm. The client projects were challenging but a lot of fun, and I improved so much in the short amount of time I was a part of this program. I really liked my instructors and the DIRs (TAs), and I loved the other students in my cohort (my class) who are now lifelong friends. 

    That being said, I think that every cohort has its own unique experience depending on your instructor and cohort-mates. I was in a very small cohort size and had a great lead instructor (and amazing DIRs). The cohorts before and after me weren't as lucky, and I'm so glad I didn't have to deal with their instructor or cohort drama.

     

    Program Phases: Designation has 5 phases (mini semesters) in the 6 month program. Half of it is virtual and helps prepare you for the in-person part of the program.

    1. Design Essentials: A part time phase where you learn the basics of UX and UI and do a practice project. I did this section while working a full time job, and it was a LOT more work than I was expecting.
    2. Virtual Phase: A full time phase where you focus on either UX or UI and do a more in-depth project. You meet with the class virtually to discuss the topics and present your work. The virtual classes and meetings weren’t always enjoyable, but the reality of today’s design world is that you’ll be having a lot of conference calls and meetings, so it’s good practice! You should not be working a full time job while doing this phase. I wasn’t working at this point and I felt overwhelmed at times by the workload.
    3. Immersion Phase: When you’re in Chicago you’ll have two real client projects. In the immersion phase you and your team will get a lot more support from the instructors and DIRs to help you out with your client project. You’ll be presenting your work once a week, which is great practice but a lot of stress.
    4. Client Phase: Immersion and Client Phase are almost identical, but your team will have more independence in the Client Phase and less time to finish the project. I do wish we had received more supervision in the client phase, since we were still learning.
    5. Career Phase: In the last few weeks in Chicago you’ll wrap up the program by getting ready for the job hunt! You’ll make your portfolio, write your case studies, update your resume, take some studio tours, and learn about applying for UX/UI design jobs. The instructor was very hands off at this point, and we worked on our own (and submitted our work for feedback on occasion). I would have liked more instructor support and involvement with this phase, which is potentially the most important part of the program. I really felt like we were on our own at times, which is a stressful feeling when you’re about to graduate and look for a job. We also spent SO much time working on ONE case study for our portfolio, and we were told to write a lot of detailed information. I practically wrote a novel, but when I showed it to people after Designation the consensus was the same: it was way too much information! Nobody is going to read your full case study, and they will want to see a lot of visuals. Designation should really focus on having students write two or three condensed case studies and not one really long, detailed case study.

    I honestly don’t know how General Assembly can get away with such a short program. When I look back at my work in the final months compared to the first couple of months I see a HUGE difference in abilities and knowledge. I’m glad I did a 6-month program and that I was able to learn so much and grow a lot, and I’m so glad we had real client projects.

     

    Workload: They say this a lot and it’s true: you get out of it what you put into it. I worked so hard in this program, and I have seen the positive rewards as a result. The workload is a lot, but it’s up to you how much you do and when you do it. You can put 90 hours into this program, or you can put 60 hours into it. I rarely took weekends off, and I was usually on campus from 9 am to 9/10 pm on weekdays. I worked 80 hours a week or so. As a result, I did a LOT of work and I also managed my time well. Time management is key and paramount to getting by. I didn’t break down crying or pull all nighters like some of the other folks in my cohort, who didn’t work as hard throughout the week or had poor time management skills.

     

    The Cons:

    • Post-Graduation Support: I’m going to be honest: I was expecting a LOT more support from this program after graduating and I’m disappointed by what we received (which feels like nothing). That being said, what you get from Designation for job support is more than a lot of other bootcamps out there. I felt like I graduated and then I was completely on my own. There were no post-graduation check ins, and they didn’t even send out a feedback survey so I couldn’t voice my opinions of the program. Where's the alumni support? Career services? We were paired with career coaches who have never worked with UX/UI designers, and a number of people in my cohort were unhappy with the help we received from them (I honestly just gave up working with mine when I realized she wasn’t going to offer any real help or advice). The job hunt has been a long and difficult struggle, and I don't feel like Flatiron gave me much (if any) support once I left the program. It will probably take you half a year to find a job after graduation, at least!
    • Flatiron Student Services: The Flatiron Students Services office is useless if you need help or questions answered, so any issue I had would be ignored or would go unresolved. I understand that Designation is going through a big transition with the Flatiron merger, but the students shouldn’t have to suffer or be neglected as a result.
    • Chicago-Focused: I think the biggest issue with Designation is that non-Chicago students have a serious disadvantage when looking for jobs in cities outside of Chicago. Designation’s connections and partners are predominantly Chicago-based, and most of the job opportunities and events that are discussed on Slack are in the Chicago area. I do wish Designation worked harder with the Flatiron Schools in other cities to make sure that its graduates can utilize the connections and resources of those schools.

     

    Conclusion: Designation is definitely one of the best options out there for a UX/UI bootcamp and gives you a solid foundation for a career change. How can you switch careers and learn a whole new skill set in 2 months at General Assembly? While it may be longer than some other bootcamps out there and maybe a little more expensive, it’s worth it. I graduated and felt like a UX/UI Designer, and not just a student.

  • Anonymous • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    Hi All!  While I have read positive reviews of this program and enjoyed the virtual phases, I had quite a different experience.  It was not a positive experience for me due to the lack of skill learning and the lead instructor I had, her attitude and inflexibility ruined the program for many of us.
    I really wanted to be a UX Designer! I enjoyed the Virtual Phases and was excited for the in person phase until I was immediately singled out by the lead instructor simply for coming in and out of the building.  I am a student and like to work out during the day.  I also like to work, free of distractions, in a quiet place when I am not engaged in group work.  I am literally paying to take a class and I see no issue with needing some quiet space to complete assignments - people have different learning styles. My inability to focus, which I made clear straight off, was used against me by the Lead Instructor.
     The instructor violated the students' learning space by keeping to the minute tabs on their comings and going, going as far as to criticize certain students ways of speaking and engaging,  all while ignoring fellow students who didn't even come to class or lectures.  The instructor encouraged an atmosphere where students were afraid to participate, using threats against students to "discipline" them (This is an adult class).  This is a class about technology which should remain innovative.  Students wanting flexibility and freedom, wanting to innovate on ideas, are not bad people or students and do not deserve to be watched and singled out!  That is NOT conclusive to a positive, trusting learning environment! 
    She really created a negative experience and environment at flat iron where I felt scared to engage or participate.  People like this should not be instructors and Designation should do something to weed these people out and ensure that only great, empathetic, flexible teachers are employed in the future!   
    It also did not seem like we learned a lot of hard skills, as presentation making and soft skills were primarily focused on.  If you are looking for a more tech-focused design program, please look elsewhere.  The lead instructor did not appear to understand some basic technologies utilized in the industry, so I felt like I lost out a lot on this type of instruction. 
    I know that this program is now part of flat iron, maybe the transition had something to do with it?  Either way, my cohort suffered.  I cannot speak for the other cohorts, however.  

  • Buyer Beware
    - 6/25/2017
    Anonymous • UX • Applicant
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    I found this bootcamp to be a complete facade. First they hold the courses in a rented out area of what is more of less a cafeteria. I also found after doing some research that many of the instructors have never even worked in the area of design or user experience. In face one was a tax consultant and another a writer. I am not kidding. I am not sure who is doing the other reviews but I am sure it is not legit.

  • Look elsewhere
    - 1/21/2017
    Anonymous • Student
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    They say they screen applicants but they don't. You WILL work with people who shouldn't be in the program. Those people will be dead weight dragging down your experience (and your portfolio). Taking that into consideration and coupled wtih a lack of job placement, and incredibly short deadlines which negatively affect your ability to produce great work. I'd save the money and try another experience. 

  • Anonymous • Graduate
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    I wanted to write a review to even out some of the glowing reviews on here. Please remember that it is better for alumni to have the school look great and feel like they made the right decision. 
     
    In my opinion, it is not worth the money. The program is run by somewhat overconfident men promising too much. The main instructor denied the existence of sexism in tech. Some of them have less design experience than students going into the program. They also have minimal to no experience teaching, and the quality of instruction was very poor. The program also lacks integrity the way academic institutions do. You could plagiarize or do no work and still graduate. This is a for-profit institution so it has no accountability in terms of credentials and has no government regulation the way universities do… 
     
    Here’s an article that might be helpful in thinking about these types of programs in general: 
     
    Is it all bad? No! I definitely learned some things and it helped me get to where I am. I also understand the appeal of the fast and furious path to a better career, but it can be a false promise. If I were to go back in time, I would spend my money on courses at a real accredited institution, whether or not than involves going all the way to an official degree. You could easily take 4-5 courses, spend less money and probably have a better background. You'd also be closer to a grad degree if you decide you need one.
  • Anonymous
    Overall Experience:
    Curriculum:
    Instructors:
    Job Assistance:

    Before DESIGNATION

    I was debating between General Assembly and DESIGNATION. I was very apprehensive about whether I was prepared to do either bootcamp because I didn't have any formal design background. However Designation does a great job in preparing you for the in person bootcamp. I completed a 4 week preparation course to get more practice using Illustrator, Photoshop, and Sketch. An instructor revivewed each work and gave comprehensive feedback. After the 4 week course I was accepted in the 6 week virtual course and designed a mobile app. I met with my classmates and instructor each week to review our work. This was incredibly helpful in receiving and giving constructive criticism. I interviewed for General Assembly and only had one interview and was acceppted in the program. Looking back now, I couldn't have imagined being as confident as I am with my skills without the preparation DESIGNATION provided me. 

    At DESIGNATION 

    At Designation I learned how to conduct user research, brainstorm solutioins, prototype, test solutions, and visually design solutions. I worked with 3 UX teams and with real clients to help them solve their business challenges. I can proudly say I formed long lasting friendships because of the camraderie and bonds you form with your classmates. Our clients were really happy and proud of our work. The constraints and deadlines you encounter will challenge you and your team to make difficult decisions. All of my experiences helped me become a better designer and communicator. I learned how to defend my design decisions and not be married to them either. Everyone supports each other and is always willing to help. We all came from different background but it was very inspiring to be consistenly surrounded by motivated individuals. You have a lot of fun in a beautiful city.

    After DESIGNATION

    You receive a lot of guidance and advice on your resume and case studies. However, you really have to put in the work and discipilne of reseraching good/bad portfolios, telling a story, asking your network for feedback, and practicing design challenges. Speaking about my experiences at DESIGNATION through my portfolio and interviews helped me land a job as a UX designer. I'm really proud to be an alumni and to be part of a growing network. 

Thanks!