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How much is tuition?

  • Tuition for Design Essentials is $1,000.
  • Tuition for the 18 week Career Program is $15,800.

How Does Design Essentials Work?

Design Essentials is our beginner's pre-requisite course. As a course intended for beginning designers without prior experience, it is an open enrollment program. Successful completion of Design Essentials is required for acceptance into the 18 week Career Program.

Qualified individuals with prior experience may be exempted from completing Design Essentials by submitting a portfolio of work samples for review.

When Is Tuition Due?

Design Essentials: A deposit of $1,000 is required to reserve your seat in Design Essentials. During week 5 of this course, acceptance determinations will be made regarding entry into the 18 week Career Program. Upon acceptance, final tuition arrangements will be due by the start of the program.

Career Program: If you are exempted from completion of Design Essentials, a deposit of $1,000 is required to reserve your seat in the program. Final tuition arrangements will be due two weeks prior to the start of the program.

Do you offer any financial assistance?

Yes! Check out our Tuition page for more information on our payment plans and affordable student loan opportunities.

What is your refund policy?

Three-Day Cancellation: If you provide written notice of cancellation within three (3) days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and federal and state holidays) from the time of your initial payment, you will be entitled to a full refund of your deposit payment of $1000, less processing fees. No refunds will be granted after this period, but your deposit may be applied towards any future cohort or program within one calendar year.

Withdrawal: If you are accepted and choose to withdraw from DESIGNATION within twenty-four (24) hours after the commencement of the first class session, you are entitled to a refund of all tuition less processing fees and your original $1,000.00 deposit payment (18 week immersive). No refunds will issued after the first twenty-four (24) hours after the commencement of the first class session.

Ejection: DESIGNATION reserves the right to terminate a student’s training at any time and provide a prorated tuition refund, less processing fees. A student may be asked to leave the program if the work, effort, or attitude they put forth is incommensurate with the expectations set forth by program administrators.

Deferrals: A student enrolled in an upcoming cohort may defer to a later program in which there is still space available up to two weeks before the cohort start date. After this date, no deferrals will be allowed.

All refunds will be issued within thirty (30) days of the determination of your cancellation or withdrawal date.


What pre-requisites do you require?

Individuals without prior design experience may be required to complete our Design Essentials pre-requisite beginner's course.

Do I already need to have a design portfolio?

No. Our typical participant has no prior design experience.

What will I need to bring to the program?

You will need to bring the following:

  • Your own Apple laptop
  • Sketch
  • UI participants will also need access to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

The Program

How much will I learn during the program?

One of the greatest strengths of our 18-week Immersive Bootcamp is its ability to become whatever any individual needs it to be. Because the range of topics it covers is so broad, different people will naturally gravitate to different parts of the curriculum. We encourage students to explore and discover which aspects of the program they’re most passionate about, and embrace those moving forward.

Can’t I just learn all this from books and online?

That depends on what you mean. There’s no doubt that the internet is the single most powerful educational tool of all time. And while a lot of our curriculum is accessible in one form or another, we think the ability to work with a live instructor, collaborate with peers, and do live client work are invaluable and irreplaceable.

What’s the time commitment?

For the first six weeks of Design Essentials, you should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours/week. For the six weeks of the Virtual Phase, that increases to 35-40 hours/week. For the in-person portion of the program, you are expected to dedicate at least 70 hours a week for assignments, projects, and portfolio work.

Does a cohort's next start date include the virtual session?

Yes, the course dates include both the six week Design Essentials, as well as the six-week Virtual Phase, both of which are completed remotely. The last 12 weeks are completed in-person at our lab space in Chicago. The in-person immersion portion of the program is when you will be required to be at our space in Chicago for 70 hours a week minimum.

When does the next class start?

You can view the next available cohort dates in our apply section.


Do you provide job support?

Of course! That is our main goal, after all. The program is designed to make you competitive for design jobs in 18 weeks. Our entire program is set up so that you will find a job. We have over 75 connections to companies across the country that need your help. If you are proactive, diligent, determined and continue to work with our team, we will work with you for as long as it takes find a job (typically a period of no more than three months).

How long does it take to get a job after I graduate?

Many students get a job either during our program or shortly after their graduation. Other students may take another 1-3 months of portfolio development to achieve their goals.

How is the alumni hiring rate determined?

Graduates who are included in our success and hiring metrics meet all of the following criteria:
• Graduate is looking for hiring opportunities in UX, UI, and/or design-thinking
• The statistics are within a six-month window of when a cohort graduated
• Graduates that go on vacation/travel at any time during the six-month window aren't included (but we pick up working with the graduate as soon as they come back)
• Graduates have to be in communication with us a minimum of once per month, with additional progress at each check-in
• Graduates have to have fully participated in the program for 18 weeks (having no unexcused attendance for classes and workshops)
• Graduate met accountability points (portfolio site, 2-3 pieces, hiring partner introductions) and worked with us during the graduate's job application process
• The statistics do not include self-employed graduates

International Students

Do you help with the visa process for international students?

Although we accept students from anywhere in the world, we're not able to provide any visa assistance. You will be solely responsible for obtaining your student visa to participate in the program, as well as obtaining a working visa to accept a job afterward, if that's a road you choose to pursue.


How do you pronounce DESIGNATION?

DESIGNATION is one word, pronounced just the way it looks: des·ig·na·tion.

Where can I read reviews of your program?

View our online reviews on Quora, SwitchUp, and Course Report. We also recommend that you reach out to our alumni to discover first-hand if our program is right for you.


How do I contact you?

You can email us at

Where are you located?

We currently run our program out of 1871 in downtown Chicago. We're located at:

100 S State Street
Chicago, IL 60603

For more information or for directions, please visit our locations page.

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) -

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Discover Your Passion

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

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

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