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DESIGNATION

Courses: 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program

Locations

Chicago

About DESIGNATION

Designation is an immersive digital design program located in Chicago, IL. Over 12 at-home weeks and 12 in-person weeks, designers learn the full stack of design skills. With instruction in UX, IxD, and UI, students have the opportunity to research, practice,... Read More

With over 95% of Designation's 500 graduates achieving design jobs within 6 months, and an average salary increase of over 60%, it is clear that Designation can be a career-defining education, capable of launching professionals from every professional background into successful digital design careers.

Our leading immersive digital UX/UI design program is now a part of the Flatiron School family. Launch a career in tech with our immersive on-campus and online UX/UI design courses.

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Courses

18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program

  • Cost: $15,800
  • Duration: 18 weeks
Locations: Chicago
Course Description:

Get ready for the most intense experience of your life. Students come from all over the world to participate in the DESIGNATION Design bootcamp. Intended for aspiring UI designers UX practitioners, our 18 week program is perfect for people who possess a natural curiosity about the way things work, and are constantly looking for ways to make them better.

Join us in our immersive, intensive and vibrant classroom environment and get ready to start making things that make a difference. Because while good design can change the conversation, great design can change the world.

Subjects: Illustrator, Photoshop, Axure, Sketch, UI Design, UX Design

DESIGNATION Reviews

Average Ratings (All Programs)

Overall
Curriculum
Job Support

4.66/5

(90 reviews)
    10/7/2019
  • Anonymous
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Change Your Career and Life"

Overall Experience: 5 stars
Instructors: 5 stars
Flatiron Student Services: 1 star
Projects: 5 stars
Facilities: 5 stars
Post-Graduation Support: 2 stars

Summary: Designation (now Flatiron) was a great experience and I’m so glad that I did the program. I was... Read More

Program Phases: Designation has 5 phases (mini semesters) in the 6 month program. Half of it is virtual and helps prepare you for the in-person part of the program.
1. Design Essentials: A part time phase where you learn the basics of UX and UI and do a practice project. I did this section while working a full time job, and it was a LOT more work than I was expecting.
2. Virtual Phase: A full time phase where you focus on either UX or UI and do a more in-depth project. You meet with the class virtually to discuss the topics and present your work. The virtual classes and meetings weren’t always enjoyable, but the reality of today’s design world is that you’ll be having a lot of conference calls and meetings, so it’s good practice! You should not be working a full time job while doing this phase. I wasn’t working at this point and I felt overwhelmed at times by the workload.
3. Immersion Phase: When you’re in Chicago you’ll have two real client projects. In the immersion phase you and your team will get a lot more support from the instructors and DIRs to help you out with your client project. You’ll be presenting your work once a week, which is great practice but a lot of stress.
4. Client Phase: Immersion and Client Phase are almost identical, but your team will have more independence in the Client Phase and less time to finish the project. I do wish we had received more supervision in the client phase, since we were still learning.
5. Career Phase: In the last few weeks in Chicago you’ll wrap up the program by getting ready for the job hunt! You’ll make your portfolio, write your case studies, update your resume, take some studio tours, and learn about applying for UX/UI design jobs. The instructor was very hands off at this point, and we worked on our own (and submitted our work for feedback on occasion). I would have liked more instructor support and involvement with this phase, which is potentially the most important part of the program. I really felt like we were on our own at times, which is a stressful feeling when you’re about to graduate and look for a job. We also spent SO much time working on ONE case study for our portfolio, and we were told to write a lot of detailed information. I practically wrote a novel, but when I showed it to people after Designation the consensus was the same: it was way too much information! Nobody is going to read your full case study, and they will want to see a lot of visuals. Designation should really focus on having students write two or three condensed case studies and not one really long, detailed case study.
I honestly don’t know how General Assembly can get away with such a short program. When I look back at my work in the final months compared to the first couple of months I see a HUGE difference in abilities and knowledge. I’m glad I did a 6-month program and that I was able to learn so much and grow a lot, and I’m so glad we had real client projects.

Workload: They say this a lot and it’s true: you get out of it what you put into it. I worked so hard in this program, and I have seen the positive rewards as a result. The workload is a lot, but it’s up to you how much you do and when you do it. You can put 90 hours into this program, or you can put 60 hours into it. I rarely took weekends off, and I was usually on campus from 9 am to 9/10 pm on weekdays. I worked 80 hours a week or so. As a result, I did a LOT of work and I also managed my time well. Time management is key and paramount to getting by. I didn’t break down crying or pull all nighters like some of the other folks in my cohort, who didn’t work as hard throughout the week or had poor time management skills.

The Cons:
-Post-Graduation Support: I’m going to be honest I was expecting a lot more support from this program after graduating and I’m disappointed by what we received. That being said, what you get from Designation for job support is more than a lot of other bootcamps out there. I felt like I graduated and then I was completely on my own. There were no post-graduation check ins, and they didn’t even send out a feedback survey so I couldn’t voice my opinions of the program. We were paired with career coaches who have never worked with UX/UI designers, and a number of people in my cohort were unhappy with the help we received from them (I honestly just gave up working with mine when I realized she wasn’t going to offer any real help or advice).
-Flatiron Student Services: The Flatiron Students Services office is useless if you need help or questions answered, so any issue I had would be ignored or would go unresolved. I understand that Designation is going through a big transition with the Flatiron merger, but the students shouldn’t have to suffer or be neglected as a result.
-Chicago-Focused: I think the biggest issue with Designation is that non-Chicago students have a serious disadvantage when looking for jobs in cities outside of Chicago. Designation’s connections and partners are predominantly Chicago-based, and most of the job opportunities and events that are discussed on Slack are in the Chicago area. I do wish Designation worked harder with the Flatiron Schools in other cities to make sure that its graduates can utilize the connections and resources of those schools.

Comment
    9/20/2019
  • Ashley Smetana
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"If you have 15k around and nothing else to do with it, sure sign up"

This bootcamp was such a waste of time and energy. Most of what I learned was from Google searches. The portfolio I built I relied on my own skills to make. The teachers are all a joke and don't help you or give decent advice. The lead instructor for... Read More

Comment
    9/7/2019
  • Ashley Smetana
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"If you have 15k around and nothing else to do with it, sure sign up"

This bootcamp was such a waste of time and energy. Most of what I learned was from Google searches. The portfolio I built I relied on my own skills to make. The teachers are all a joke and don't help you or give decent advice. The lead instructor for... Read More

Comment
    8/12/2019
  • Vladmir | UX Design
  • 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Not Enough Skill Learning in UX, Different Experience Entirely Depending on Instructor"

Hi All! While I have read positive reviews of this program and enjoyed the virtual phases, I had quite a different experience. It was not a positive experience for me due to the lack of skill learning and the lead instructor I had, her attitude and inflexibility... Read More

Comment
    6/28/2019
  • Anonymous | none
  • 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"great program gone sour"

i really feel as if this program did not help me at all. teachers were petty and not helpful. the feedback was too general and subjective. when i asked (viable) questions, I was made to feel small and petty, similar to the teachers' attitudes. i read... Read More

Comment
    4/15/2019
  • Peter Jon | Product
  • 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Pretty good overall experience"

Went through Designation's full time immersive course... pretty good experience overall. I was working as an accountant and looking to switch careers into UX design. Quit my job took the plunge. Curriculum in the program is quite solid and the overall... Read More

Comment
    12/31/2018
  • Tom | UI/UX Designer
  • 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program
  • Graduated: 2017

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Embark on the Journey"

Designation was very much like what I’ve read about the archetype of the hero’s journey in the works of Joseph Campbell. Designation was a departure from the ordinary and a chance to learn something new. There were obstacles to leverage and overcome—and... Read More

I transformed from an average graphic designer to a successful and competent UI designer with some UX chops. I learned to use new software meant for building interfaces—but more importantly, I developed a process to better solve problems.

I met many new people while in the program. There was a shared struggle I felt going through the program that created a strong sense of community. I still keep in contact with many Designation grads and when I meet someone who also went through the program there is an immediate connection.

The online portion of the program did a nice job of exposing me to what goes into UI/UX. I learned more about the tools, concepts, design history, methods like user research and how to distill that information down into something useful.

The most value came to me in the in-person phase. I was in a true design environment with a clear structure that contained creative directors, clients, and fellow designers. I built confidence and refined my skills.

Designation stressed throughout the entire program is no one is a finished product at the conclusion of the program—we all need to continue our evolution as designers in the years to come. However, the skills coming out of the program are expansive enough to find a new gig.

I highly recommend Designation to anyone who has an interest in design and wants to start a new career. Like design itself, no program is perfect but the staff at Designation continually look to make improvements and take feedback to heart.

If you’re on the edge of taking the leap to do a program like this, I say embark on the journey.

Comment
    12/30/2018
  • Josh Miller | Experience Designer at Slalom Build
  • 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Great option for a career changer"

I started working as a web designer in higher education in the mid-2000s, and as my career moved along I gained experience in areas like project management, data analysis and reporting, operations, and product management. Thinking about the next phase... Read More

A two-year HCI masters program didn’t seem appealing or worthwhile—given my time in higher education, I don’t see traditional universities and colleges as being well-positioned to keep up with the fast-paced change of the tech world, so I narrowed my search to focus on the bootcamp/intensive learning space. Designation had by far the strongest reviews, the most intensive and comprehensive curriculum, and it also featured real client projects—a huge differentiator for me. Perhaps most importantly, people in my network working in design and tech in Chicago spoke highly of Designation’s reputation, and the alumni I connected with uniformly had positive things to say about both the program itself and its outcomes. An in-person conversation about the program with then Designation President, Mike Joosse was the last step in convincing me that Designation was the right program for me.

Online Phases (Design Essentials / Virtual)
Design Essentials is the “Design101” course that presents the foundations of user-centered design and the UX and UI processes. It’s a great overview and is packed with great information and materials. It’s a pretty intensive start to the program, and I found that I spent a bit more time than the weekly hours estimate on the site. That said, I was able to balance the workload while I was still working full-time. Coming out of DE, you decide between moving forward on the UX or UI track. Though I came into the program planning on doing UX, my conversations with James were incredibly valuable in solidifying that decision. The Virtual phase builds on DE, going more in-depth and expanding on many of the same topics, while introducing some new concepts and practices. Perhaps the most important element in Virtual is that you start working on teams and presenting your work, albeit in an online setting. I continued working part-time during this phase, and in retrospect I really wish I had been able to clear all of my time, as there is a tremendous amount of material to work through and absorb.

*In-person Phases (Immersion / Client / Career)*
The 12 weeks of in-person time is where the rubber really hits the road. The transition is, by its nature, kind of jarring—new surroundings, new people, long hours—and for most people there’s a lot at stake. The WeWork space was very comfortable (tasty free coffee is a nice perk), and it was fantastic to have another cohort there to be able to ask questions and learn from. I was initially a little skeptical about the inter-cohort mentorship program, but I ultimately found it really valuable both as a way to get insight on the program, as well as just to connect with the other cohort socially and expand your network. Though they’d only been in the program 8 weeks longer than we had, a ton happens in that time. Immersion acts as bridge between your virtual experience and the client phase to come. It’s less about absorbing new material, but instead more about application, teamwork, and presentation through storytelling. Two three-week client projects followed, where I was able to work with an accessibility-focused non-profit and a scaling startup. At this point in the program the training wheels are off, and I have no hesitation talking about and presenting these projects with colleagues and in interviews as being very much real. The in-person time wraps up with career phase, which is a significant shift from the previous weeks. Instead of team-focused work, you’re now almost entirely working solo to contextualize and document your experience, with a heavy emphasis on writing. The materials Mike has put together are incredibly well-wrought and comprehensive—quite literally all the tools you need to support your search and find a job. Beyond the tools, I was connected with a fantastic mentor external to Designation to act as a sounding board during my search. Then, of course, everybody has access to the 500+ designer alumni network, which is especially strong in Chicago. There is no promise that the job search will be easy, but the results that I’ve observed for myself and others absolutely speak for themselves.

Areas of Opportunity
Designation is very much still a startup. The program is scrappy, lean, and constantly iterating and improving. The transition between phases (especially between DE and Virtual) felt a bit disjointed, and there were times in the virtual phases where I didn’t get feedback as quickly as I might have liked. Also, as I mentioned, the Designation network is naturally especially strong in Chicago, but less so in other markets. Given the recent merger with WeWork/Flatiron, will be very interesting to see how this changes as Designation likely expands its footprint.

Final Thoughts
Designation has gone to great lengths to build a great design education product. Without a doubt, I think the program provides everything you need to set you up for success as a professional designer. As it is with so many intensive/bootcamp experiences, how much you get out of the program is highly dependent on the effort you’re willing to put it. I suppose it would be possible to skate by on minimal effort, but almost nobody does this (and why would you?). I think a huge reason that designers are so uniformly committed are the people that Designation has been smart enough to hire. If I was surprised by anything in my experience, it was at the exceptional quality of the people on staff. Full disclosure: I had the opportunity to work for Designation as a Designer in Residence for 12 weeks after I finished, which gave me somewhat of an insider’s view to the program’s operations and an opportunity to get to know everybody even better. Without exception, the staff members of the entire program are kind, talented, and extremely dedicated. James, Doug, Megan, Dan, and Mike all had a huge positive impact on my Designation experience and on my life. I recommend Designation without hesitation.

Outcomes
After a minimally painful job search, I signed on to be an experience designer at a national consultancy. I couldn’t be more excited for the next phase of my career.

Comment
    12/30/2018
  • Mac Hanaman | UX Designer | Product Manager
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"They'll teach you how to think about design, and that's rare in a curriculum."

There's no doubt, Designation was the single best design program I've been through. No program is perfect, and I'd like to see minor changes, but if you can stand to give up the better part of your time for six months, it will absolutely teach you how... Read More

My cohort was great and supportive, which was also key to being successful and not something that other programs I've been through utilized as a means of shaping the minds of participants. I'm closer to some people from my cohort than people who have been in my life for years. It's a tough experience that requires you all to get to know each other's personalities, and even histories, it's a bonding experience and it's pretty great.

Coming out of Designation, there has been a great surplus of career opportunities compared to what I was drumming up before hand. My life as a designer is markedly different. It's not always the case that hard work gets you results, but there is a definite correlation between how much work you put into your case studies after you're done and what work you will find after Designation.

THAT BEING SAID, in terms of career support, in the latter half of 2018, I wanted to beat my head in every time I saw a post asking for 3 - 5 years experience for whatever position. It would be great if there was more support for those of us trying to get that first job. So that may mean having an entry level jobs channel in slack, or having someone at Designation organize an entry level hunters community group. Obviously Designation doesn't control the availability of entry level jobs, but your older alums need less support than your most recent one's even if that's an active conversation.

Even in it's current state, don't walk away from this review thinking that Designation leaves you high and dry. They provide you with 3 weeks of career phase, which helps you write a case study and teaches you about creating application materials (resume, etc.). You'll have access to a job opportunities channel for news about opportunities from all over. Your instructors and designer's in residence will critique your materials. And your career mentor should be there to set you up for successful strategies for applying to jobs and practicing interviews.

If I can sum this up, if you are interested in design and you want to be viable in the current digital economy, there's not much more to do than apply.

Comment
    12/19/2018
  • Josh Berman | UX Designer
  • 18 Week Immersive UX/UI Design Program
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"A stand-out program"

*Overview*

I wasn’t doing the thing that I loved, but I didn’t know what that looked like yet—then I found UX. I didn’t want to spend 2 years getting a HCI degree, but I wanted a program long enough that I would have the time to flex my mental muscles.... Read More

With Designation’s guidance and support, I transformed myself over 6 months into the passionate designer I knew I could be. I think this is an important point, while Designation provides all the resources and guidance that you need to be a designer, in the end you need to put in the work. The program is long and grueling, but if you approach it with passion and rigor you will leave as a well-rounded design professional. You will start from the bare basics and cap your time off working in close-knit teams at a breakneck pace to create exceptional user-centered experiences for live clients. Basically, you will leave a professional.

*My Experience*

I had a wonderful experience. This program is so far from a walk in the park, but they call it a bootcamp for a reason. From the very beginning I felt the support of instructors and mentors. The first 3 months of virtual work is a huge growth period. This is where you build the skills you’ll need for in-person.

Once you get to the office, the dynamic totally shifts and you’re engaged in teamwork and professional level design projects day-in day-out. Here, you solidify your skills and build your design portfolio. The people are diverse, curious, passionate, and engaged and the work is both difficult and enriching.

The career section is a wild change of pace. Your work is solo and you are responsible for self-sufficiency. You are given access to an amazing wealth of resources, but here is where the dynamic of accountability shifts. You no longer have a team where each person is helping to keep the entire team accountable, you have to be accountable to yourself. That said, you’re prepared at this point. You absolutely can leave with the professional materials you need to land a job, but many people do need a couple more weeks to clean up their portfolio work.

While overall my experience was excellent, I do have one piece of critique worth mentioning. Designation constantly iterates on their program based on internal feedback. There's no doubt that this yields many excellent benefits, but it's not always well communicated why the program changes. The program did change midway through my tenure and to be entirely honest, I was frustrated. But I trusted the program and I trusted the staff and here I am on the other end with a job in hand.

I do think the staff could have done a better job recognizing that all of us took a risk enrolling in Designation and taken a little more time to communicate the change with respect to that reality, but like I said I trusted the program and it worked out. It’s hard to argue with results.

Speaking of which…

*Results*

I am a professional designer. I’m happy I took the risk to dive into this program and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to change careers in only 6 months.

Designation is well-known and respected in the Chicago design community. The program carries weight here for the quality of the designer they consistently create. Even if you choose to head elsewhere after the program is over, you will bring with you all the qualities and skills that helped designation grads earn their reputations in the first place.

The most exceptional aspect of Designation is the community that they’ve built. The Designation community is strong and remarkably supportive, and it’s a huge benefit after you leave the program. That said, it’s also a resource if you’re curious about enrolling in the program. So, if you’re curious about Designation, reach out to an alum. I can’t speak for everyone, but I will anyways: We’re friendly people and happy to answer any questions you might have

Comment

DESIGNATION's average rating is 4.66 out of 5.0 based on 90 review(s).

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