Who we are

Designation is the leading digital design education program.

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 story

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.

Aaron Fazulak
CEO
Our story
Cindy Wang

“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

Our team

Aaron Fazulak

Aaron Fazulak

CEO

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.

Megan Mueller

Megan Mueller

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.

James Riggs

James Riggs

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.

Jancy Liu

Jancy Liu

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.

Dan Hopewell

Dan Hopewell

Creative Director

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.

Doug Bantz

Doug Bantz

Lead Instructor

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.

Patrick DiMichele

Patrick DiMichele

Lead Instructor

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 Lee

Chelsea Lee

Lead Design Instructor

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.

Kara Sajeske

Kara Sajeske

Design Instructor

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.




Mo Goltz

Mo Goltz

Lead Design Instructor

Mo Goltz is a UX design strategist and user researcher with a background in graphic design who has been coaching and mentoring designers for over 7 years. He is driven to help people effectively tackle issues that matter to them with creative confidence. He believes that falling in love with problems is the key to developing impactful solutions that can improve user’s lives and a company’s competitive edge. Originally from Indiana, Mo is interested in service design, business design, psychology, storytelling, and community development.

Amy Ton

Amy Ton

Design Instructor

Fascinated by the way humans behave and think, Amy has a deep love for creating exceptional experiences that works for people and solving real life problems through design. She is excited to come back to Flatiron School to empower the next generation of designers. Though Amy hails from the west coast, Chicago has her heart. She loves pineapple pizza, cooking for friends, and her Peloton where she’s on track to hit the Century Club.

Joshua Robinson

Joshua Robinson

Lead Design Instructor

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.

Denisse Espino Barros

Denisse Espino Barros

Senior Design Instructor

Denisse received her Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering from UIC, and soon after graduating worked in healthcare as a Human Factors Engineer. Tired of driving in winter conditions, and wanting to work with a digital product, she started working in Chicago as a UX Researcher. When she's not advocating for more data-driven design decisions, she can be found traveling the world, or searching for the best oat milk cappuccino in town.

Agnes Godziszewski

Agnes Godziszewski

Lead Design Instructor

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.

Tyler Entingh

Tyler Entingh

Design Instructor

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

Biancia Dupre

Design Instructor

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

​Neil Jacobsen

Design Instructor

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.


Jason Grant

Jason Grant

Lead Design Instructor

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.

John Chang

John Chang

Senior Design Instructor

A former engineer, John was first drawn to UX design when he learned just how much impact it has in the world. He’s an alum of Designation and has since practiced the design process with a few startups. He loves to break down big, ambiguous problems into actionable takeaways, especially when there’s an opportunity to help others. When he’s not solving design problems, he’s learning about math and science on YouTube or looking for really good coffee.

Bani Phul-Anand

Bani Phul-Anand

Lead Design Instructor

I love what I do—seeking clarity of purpose in the midst of digital chaos since the past 15 years. I am most interested in empowering aspiring designers to lean on each other, and create delightful, intuitive, and the right experiences.

Graham Beale

Graham Beale

Lead Design Instructor

I have been helping organisations curate compelling, user-focused products for over nineteen years. I’m a leader, a manager and a product designer who enjoys working through challenges of all descriptions using whatever is to hand. I’m open, transparent, versatile and fun to work with! Teams are important to me. Without cross-functional collaboration an organisation may never unlock their full potential. To facilitate this, I am a Lean UX evangelist; passionate about ensuring we are building the right things and/or learning the right things.

Christina Downs

Christina Downs

Design Instructor

Christina started as a design consultant helping businesses with their brand identity and digital presence. She transitioned to doing mostly UX/UI design and eventually landed a job with NASA’s JPL. Since NASA, Christina has worked as a UX/UI designer and product manager for both multinational companies and startups. Christina loves collaborating with designers, sharing her experiences, and coming up with creative solutions to complex design problems.

Jessica Richards

Jessica Richards

Lead Design Instructor

Jessica is driven by the desire to make products, services and education accessible to all. She has held a variety of UX roles in aviation, banking, publishing, fintech and government. Before joining Flatiron/Designation, she led a graduate scheme for UX designers. She’s inspired by helping others succeed, being a life-long learner, writing and travel.

Elia Maniscalco

Elia Maniscalco

Senior Design Instructor

After graduating in Industrial design, Elia has spent the last 5 years building a career as UX/UI Designer, both freelancing and working in-house. Recently, he has started offering mentorship for junior designers and career changers and, as a collateral activity, Elia has been giving consultancies for startups and small businesses, to spread the word on the potential of a UCD approach to problem solving. In his spare time, Elia loves keeping his skillset up to date, attending short courses and workshops: his passions are travelling, reading about calculus and pure mathematics, edTech, playing the Ukulele and watching cooking shows.

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.


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