Designation is the leading digital design education program.
The experience of attending Designation is unique. We’re not a school, bootcamp, or apprenticeship, but we use elements from all three models to provide the most effective, reality-based curriculum possible.
Above all, we base our experience and culture on preparing designers for a lifetime of learning.
Our co-founders met in a coffee shop in 2013 to compare ideas about how to provide the best possible education in UX and UI. In April 2014, we set up our first campus in a rapidly-changing part of Lincoln Park, and opened our doors to our first cohort.
Since then, we’ve grown to become the world’s largest dedicated UX/UI design program with an unparalleled curriculum, over 500 graduates, and a staff of industry experts, all within a beautifully-designed WeWork office.
Designation has gone through many iterations as the tech and design industries change, and throughout it all, our vision has remained the same: to be the career-defining experience for design education.
We look at where we’ve come from since 2013 and we’re speechless. We’re so thankful to everyone who’s helped us get where we are today, and we’re proof ourselves of what we teach our designers: the hard work is absolutely worth it.
“Everyone I worked with was extremely passionate about design, incredibly sharp, and super-dedicated. What surprised me most was how much they were personally invested in me. They genuinely care about helping each designer reach his/her potential and find a fulfilling career.”Cindy WangUX Researcher, Walgreens
Doug has been a creative all his professional life, with his greatest successes incorporating user-centered design. He’s been a director, content creator, and change agent for some of the world’s largest creative organizations. He cherishes the opportunities to teach others to think critically about their creative input, help designers build skills that solve real problems, and guide the creation of digital experiences that delight and surprise. In his spare time, he’s a father and husband, artist, and explorer of new and emerging technology.
When Aaron was a kid, he built computers and wrote programs in MS-DOS. He realized digital design as the ultimate frontier for technology, and co-founded Designation to help make creativity thrive in our virtual world. He’s an experienced business operations consultant through his years as a startup entrepreneur and public accountant.
Dan Hopewell is a designer and front-end developer with a background in painting and printmaking. He consumes himself daily in the science and aesthetics of experience, and finds enduring hope in art and design’s ability to make the improbable real.
Design Teacher Trainer
Megan is driven by the responsibility to use design as a catalyst for social change. She joined the Designation team with the shared mission of reshaping education to focus on community, adaptability, and active learning. When she’s not covered in sticky notes, she’s diving into a new letterpress project, reorganizing her coin collection, or struggling to keep her houseplants alive.
Senior UX/UI Curriculum Designer
James is an experience designer who’s helped launch the careers of 100+ designers. Prior to joining Designation, James worked as a front-end developer and graphic designer in St. Louis. He’s inspired by everything around him and loves to help others succeed. In his free time, he hangs out with his dogs, plays music, and designs websites.
Patrick designs for impact; using collaborative and inclusive processes to enable positive, real-world outcomes. He's a cofounder of the design studio Goodmaker and has led highly-successful design practices and programs for Fortune 500 companies, global consultancies, and a range of healthcare, education and nonprofit organizations. He believes that small teams of thoughtful, versatile and talented designers can accomplish anything. Patrick is inspired by the artistic range of Brian Eno and the aesthetic clarity of Ellen Lupton.
Chelsea lives and breathes design and is eager to pass along that enthusiasm to others. Her background in graphic design and book arts led her to find experience design many years ago. In her time at Thoughtworks and as an independent consultant, she worked on service, software, and product design for a range of organizations such as: aerospace, retail, healthcare, and data management. She believes in being adaptable to change and that less is more. She’s inspired by pretty much everything, but specifically: architecture, vintage signs and typography, and the wonderful Chicago design community.
Senior Manager of Design Curriculum
Jancy Liu was born in Taiwan, hopped around with her mum and Air Force father until she put down roots in California. Though totally a liberal west coaster, she’s since found her home in the midwest with her husband and new babe. Jancy calls herself a hands-on design director specializing in platforms of all sizes.
Fun facts: Her favorite hero is Batman; she admires Yvon Chouinard; in her spare time, she drinks whiskey and rides motorcycles(but not at the same time); and she’s especially inspired by nature.
Joshua is a product designer for Centro. He has a background in publishing and once ran an online magazine highlighting the intersection of business and creativity. He’s driven by design’s ability to organize and make sense of information, and he believes designers are best suited to maximize the potential of new technology. He’s inspired by Richard Saul Wurman and Christopher Alexander, and enamored with the writing of Venkatesh Rao.
Agnes received her BFA in Communication Design from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Over the years she has worked in industries such as healthcare, publishing and immigration technology gaining knowledge in brand design, UX/UI, e-commerce as well as marketing. On the side, Agnes is continuously expanding her front-end development skills. She is passionate about travel, fashion design and staying abreast of the current design trends.
With a background in fine arts, illustration, print and UX and UI design, Kara has a passion for fluid, iterative art and design that holds space for the changing needs of its audience. She has collaborated with other UX designers in fast-paced iterative environments in order to improve usability and accessibility for digital interfaces through extensive domain research, user interviewing, and usability testing. Some of her past clients have included The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, Desert Magazine, Spirit Speak, and Snakeroot Apothecary. Originally from Joshua Tree, California, Kara is inspired by the desert and always open to collaborations and new projects.
With a background in digital design spanning 17 years, Jason Grant has a wide range of experience ranging from startups to agencies. He’s taken on a variety of design challenges in healthcare, finance and conversational interfaces. A strong believer in the power of design to make positive change, Jason explores design for sustainable systems in his spare time. When he’s off teaching duties, Jason is probably at a life drawing session or checking off places on his “want to go” list on Google Maps.
Tyler Entingh is a designer with a background in education and business development. He comes to the program from the healthcare industry where he designed products for some of the world's largest and most prestigious healthcare systems. On the side, he is building his front-end development skills and always on the lookout for interesting projects to get involved with. Being from Ohio, he's a major Cleveland and Columbus sports fan. He also loves to travel, cook, and spend lazy afternoons with his dog.
Biancia Dupre comes from a graphic design background but found that UX and UI Design suited her better. As a self-taught designer, she became involved in the startup community in Gainesville, FL where she received her first roles in UX and UI. After spending a summer teaching coding and design, she found a passion for design education. As a creator, Biancia is always looking for ways to bring her ideas to life through technology. When she is not designing you can find her traveling the world, gaming online or looking for a great Thai food restaurant.
Neil Jacobsen completed Designation in the Yucca cohort and since then has been doing contract work as a UX Researcher. He loves talking with people and figuring out the root of the problem. He's stayed close to the Designation/Flatiron family, working as a TA and now a Design Instructor. He moved to Chicago to learn improv comedy. He has been teaching workshops on combining learning from UX and improv to help teams develop ideas and have more fun. He is a vegetarian, but he tries not too be overly preachy about it.
Download our program overview
If you’re ready to learn more about Designation before applying, download a copy of our program overview. It’s filled with details about each phase, career outcomes, and much more.
Frequently asked questions about Designation
Is Designation a design bootcamp?
While we began as a design bootcamp, we’ve evolved beyond a traditional bootcamp structure and curriculum. There are many places this change manifests, starting with the fact that everyone admitted into the program is called a “designer,” not a “student.” Bootcamps often base their complete experience on an educational student/teacher relationship, but we’ve found tremendous value in using a more professional designer/team/creative director relationship. The first half of our program is still academic, so we call our creative directors who lead those phases “instructors,” because our curriculum reflects the idea that the first half is about learning how to design. The second, in-person half is about learning how to be a designer. These are two very different but wholly important halves of being a professional designer.
We believe someone called a “student” will act like a student, but a “designer” is given authority and purpose to own their skills and act like one. We believe our past graduates chose Designation because of this differentiator—and succeed as professionals today because of it.
How much does Designation charge?
The fee for the full 24-week program is $15,800. All designers accepted into the program must pay a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit for the six-week Design Essentials (DE) phase. Every designer must pass DE in order to proceed to the rest of the program. If the designer doesn’t pass, they pay no additional fees beyond the $1,000. If the designer passes, the $1,000 deposit is applied to the full-program fee, so their next payment is $14,800. See the Paying for Designation section for answers to related questions.
Please note that this fee doesn’t cover food, room and board, or transportation costs. See the Financing page for more detail.
Where is Designation located?
Our campus is located at WeWork's beautiful River North location, just blocks away from the Chicago River. We're within a couple blocks from every L train line that passes through downtown, two blocks from Millennium Park, and a few blocks from the Chicago River. It's remarkably easy to get here from anywhere in the city and both O'Hare and Midway airports.