We’re proud to announce that, starting January 1, Designation will move to WeWork State Street. It’s the next step in our evolution as the strongest digital design program in the country. And it’s a recommitment to keeping our headquarters in Chicago, home to the best design community in the world.
A few notes about how it all began:
Our co-founders met in a coffee shop in 2013 to compare ideas about how to provide the best possible UX/UI education. In April 2014, we set up our first campus at 1440 N Dayton, in a rapidly-changing part of Lincoln Park, and opened our doors for the Amaranth Cohort.
Aaron Fazulak, Co-Founder and CEO, working on an engraved table at Designation’s original Chicago location, April 2014.
It was home for our first eight or so cohorts—Ivory was the last cohort to kick off there—and we loved it. We ate and slept and watched movies there. We were sad to say goodbye to our space and our bean bag chairs, but in May 2015, we packed up and moved into 1871. The Merchandise Mart was quickly transforming into a product design and digital communications center of Chicago, and an awfully grand place to be in.
1871 has been a truly wonderful home for us, providing us a neverending source of excellent product companies and startup founders who became our clients and frequently hired our graduates. We moved from a small classroom behind the front desk on the 12th floor to become one of the first tenants of the 13th-floor expansion with our multi-room campus.
(Left to right) Mike Joosse, Designation’s President, speaking at the Economy of Now Expo at 1871, February 2016. Celeste Ma (designer-in-residence), Dan Hopewell (creative director) and Mary Brown (designer-in-residence) of Designation strike a pose in front of a favorite 1871 photo op, September 2017.
We saw 1871 itself grow too, attracting amazing companies and brilliant people who we loved being around. Its hospitality, encouragement, and energy have been vital to our growth, and it will be difficult to imagine life outside that ecosystem. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank 1871 for everything they’ve given us.
That brings us to today. When we decided to move to WeWork, we realized they were an important part of the evolution of Designation. WeWork is a global network of 160,000+ members and companies of all sizes. They share our values of community, collaboration, and relentless forward motion; in the same way Designation has become more than a bootcamp, WeWork has become more than a coworking space. They’ve welcomed us with open arms, and we see enormous potential in being a part of their State Street location. We’ll be among a thriving collection of companies and future partners, in the heart of downtown Chicago.
WeWork shared spaces and private workspaces at State Street, Chicago.
Meanwhile, we’re graduating our 450th designer this Friday as part of the Basil Cohort—we’ve gone all the way through the alphabet and back to B! We have strategic partners, mentors, and friends all over. Hundreds of the best companies in the world have hired our graduates. We look at where we’ve come from since that coffee shop in 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.
If there’s one constant about Designation, it’s change. Every cohort’s curriculum and experience is an improvement on the one before it. With each leap we take, we improve the quality and outcomes of this program. We teach our designers how to learn and work iteratively, and we practice the same ideas ourselves. There will be more big changes in 2018 that we can’t wait to show you. That’s life in design—understanding the curve and staying ahead of it. Through it all, Designation will remain the best digital design program and community around.
The next iteration of Designation will be an amazing experience. If you’re reading this and haven’t been a part of Designation yet, we hope you decide to join us. Especially at our new home: 100 S State St, 4th Floor, Chicago IL 60603. We’ll see you there.