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We teach UX, UI, and IxD for the digital age

What We Do

The Program

DESIGNATION is a design bootcamp that trains people of all experience levels to be UX and UI designers over 12 weeks in Chicago.

The program is a fast-paced, high-intensity experience that immerses students in a creative, collaborative environment in order to produce extraordinary results in a relatively short timeframe.

Participants learn a multi-disciplinary approach to design that give them the versatility to tackle a wide range of problems, while encouraging them to specialize in the portion of the curriculum they're most passionate about.

The Results

Students spend 70 hours a week for 12 weeks in our creative, collaborative, immersive environment. Combined with six weeks of virtual prep, that adds up to over 900 hours of design experience over the course of the program.

What's more, six weeks are spent working on real projects for live clients, so they leave the program with a portfolio full of tangible work experience. That way, none of our graduates ever have a problem with that famous paradox, "You need experience to get a job, and a job to get experience."

Meet Our Team

Megan Mueller

Creative Director

Megan is a UX/UI Designer and DESIGNATION alum. Whether working for established corporations or assisting newly-minted startups, she has helped businesses and individuals bring their ideas to life by designing people-driven solutions.

Moving from a fine art background to human-centered design has allowed me to combine creative thinking with a healthy obsession of people watching. My goal is to bridge the gap between user and design by creating experiences focused on helping people connect with the world around them.

Douglas Bantz

Creative Director

Doug has been in the creative sphere all his life, and has always had his greatest successes by incorporating a user-centric design approach. A DESIGNATION alum, he’s been a content creator, manager and change agent for some of the world’s largest creative organizations.

Teaching others to think critically about their creative output, to help designers work towards building skills that solve real problems, and guide the creation of experiences that delight and surprise is an opportunity that I cherish. My goal is to help others learn, and in doing so, learn as well.

Zeke Franco

UX and IxD Instructor

Zeke is an experienced interaction designer and front-end web developer who has been designing and coding for eight years. Formerly a senior designer at GrubHub, Zeke is currently Experience Strategy Director at Nelson Cash.

I became a designer because I wanted to influence the products and services around me. I love molding technology to better serve people’s needs.

I focus on combining methods from qualitative research, interaction design, communication design, and service design to create a design strategy that leads to effective and desirable experiences.

JJ Lee

UI Instructor

JJ is a story teller and brand strategist who combines creativity with design to create engaging experiences. He is currently a Product Designer at Higi, as well as a social entrepreneur who founded Chicagood

I'm a designer because I love problem solving, creating experiences, and getting my hands on the newest toys in technology.

As a UI designer, I’m not just making things look nice, but I’m thinking of strategy, layout, colors and typography to create something usable and intuitive. There’s nothing like the moment when someone touches a button and says wow. That’s what I do.

Mike Joosse

Director of Community

Mike creates change within organizations. Since 2001, he has devoted his career to nurturing and leading design communities and championing the talents and dedication of its designers.

Everything I do at DESIGNATION is based on giving students what they need to become not just skilled designers, but thoughtful storytellers, stronger teammates, and better citizens, engaged in the world and seeking opportunities to grow and lead long after their time here. It's an honor and a privilege to work on behalf of all our students, past and present.

Dan Hopewell

Creative Director

Dan is a full-stack designer and a DESIGNATION alum. Prior to learning the ins and outs of UX research at DESIGNATION, he's spent 8 years freelancing in graphic design and front-end development.

Coming from a background in fine art and traditional graphic design, my introduction to the brave new world of user-centered design has me invigorated by the challenge of finding a balance between the beautiful and the useful. I have bits of knowledge and experience across the full DESIGNATION stack, so feel free to pick my brain at any time.

Caity Beaudoin

UX Designer

Caity is a UX designer and DESIGNATION alum with a love for research and strategy. Her background in anthropology, management and consulting continues to inform her human-centered design process.

My design philosophy is pretty simple: people want to be understood and I want to understand people. Every product, service and interface is an opportunity to bring us together through mutual understanding.

James Riggs

UX/UI Designer

James is a UX designer who has a strong appreciation for interaction design and experience architecture. He has a background in graphic design and psychology, and he previously worked as a content developer in a startup in his hometown of St. Louis.

Creating a beautiful interface is only as good as the functionality behind it. Designing around the user ensures a successful product with measurable results.

Will Shandling

Director of Communications and Admissions

Will is a professional advertiser, copywriter, brand strategist and all around creative thinker. He's passionate about design, and the potential for imagination to change the world.

What I love most about design is its ability to transcend culture and touch something fundamental to what it means to be human. It's a universal language that let's you connect with anyone, anywhere, no matter their background.

Aaron Fazulak


Aaron is an experienced business operations consultant through his years as an entrepreneur and public accountant at Ernst & Young

When I was a kid, my father and I built our own computers and would write programs in MS-DOS. Things have developed so much since then, as programming libraries and the internet have matured. For me, digital design is the final frontier for technology. It's the ultimate way to distinguish yourself and be creative in our virtual world.


We've saved a seat for you. Help us change the world, one designer at a time. Come join our team!

View Open Positions


Adam Bitner 

Sr. Product Designer at Sprout Social

UX Mentor

Alyssa Burke 

User Interface Designer at ÄKTA

UI Mentor

Amy Gurka 

Content Strategy/UX Lead at Manifest Digital

UX Mentor

Ari Krzyzek 

Creative Director at Chykalophia Group

UI Mentor

Ashley Wrobel 

Senior Interaction Designer at Manifest Digital

UX Mentor

Becky Rother 

Senior Visual Designer at Vokal

UI Mentor

Carlyn Porter 

Senior User Experience Architect at Maven Wave Partners

UX Mentor

Danielle Chutinthranond 

UX Lead at GetSet Learning

UX Mentor

Erin Dunn 

UX Associate at Manifest Digital

UX Mentor

Gemma Petrie 

Senior User Experience Researcher at Mozilla

UX Mentor

Igor Milovanovic 

UX/UI Designer at

UX/UI Mentor

James Lacroix 

Designer & Founder LaCroix Design Company

UI Mentor

Jancy Liu 

Art Director at VISANOW Global Immigration

UI Mentor

Janice Cho 

Design Director at DevMynd

UX Mentor

JJ Liwanag 

Senior UX / UI Designer at Emmi Solutions

UX Mentor

Joe Siwak 

Designer at Uptake Technologies

UI Mentor

John Horstman 

Senior UX Designer at WyzAnt Tutoring

UX Mentor

Kuu Hubbard 

Lead Product Designer at Matchup

UI Mentor

Lauren Haynes 

Project Manager at Data Science for Social Good

UX Mentor

LeAnne Wagner 

Interaction Designer and Consultant

UX Mentor

Lindsey LaParl 

Designer at Vibes Media

UI Mentor

Lydia Muwanga 

Principal UX Consultant at Suubi Innovations

UX Mentor

Martha Willis 

UI Designer at Spartz

Visual Design Mentor

Nastasia Tebeck 

UX Designer at Amazon

UX Mentor

Nathan Peters 

Experience & Interaction Designer at Shiftgig

UX Mentor

Riley Graham 

User Experience Consultant at Fuzzy Math

UX Mentor

Shaelyn Clements 

Senior Manager, UX and Design at General Growth Properties

UX Mentor

Shawn Kelly 

Product Designer at MarkITx

Front-End/UX Mentor


Apply To The Next Cohort

Garnet Cohort

Available in:

Chicago, IL

Application deadline: Feb 16, 2018

Design Essentials -

Weeks 1-6 (virtual) -

Weeks 7-18 (in-person) -

Hyacinth Cohort

Available in:

Chicago, IL

Application deadline: Apr 6, 2018

Design Essentials -

Weeks 1-6 (virtual) -

Weeks 7-18 (in-person) -

Request Program Roadmap

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Are you ready for the most intense experience of your life?

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Discover Your Passion

Alumni salary after the program increased an average of 62%.

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Design a New Career

94% of our graduates go on to great new design jobs.

Read Their Stories
Learn about the alumni