Bridge is a professional development program for experienced designers hosted by Designer Fund. Bridge designers join one of our vetted partner companies full time. Once a week, they attend intimate workshops and talks with leading designers and are welcomed into our community, which includes some of the most influential designers in the world. To learn more about Bridge, check out our site and keep in touch here to be invited to apply to Bridge 5 early before applications open September 15th.
Last year, Bridge helped sixteen outstanding designers move up in their career. Now we’re ready to help more great designers like you create successful products at companies that impact of millions of people. Today we’re excited to open up applications for our third Bridge program.
We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve made new partnerships with Square, Inkling, Khan Academy, Zendesk, One Kings Lane, Causes, Nextdoor, and Coursera, who will be joining forces with our partners from last year: Airbnb, Pinterest, Dropbox, Asana, Flipboard, Healthtap, and Change.org. Every partner has a great mission, product, and culture that truly values design. As designers ourselves, we vet each opportunity to make sure it’s a place we want to work at too.
Bridge helps designers step up in their career by moving into more hands-on leadership roles in product, experience, and communication design. We’ve assisted designers who want to manage less and return to their craft as well as designers who are interested in leading a team. Many of our Bridge designers can empathize with you because they’ve been in your situation before and it helps to have a community to push you to reach beyond what you thought was possible.
The magic behind Bridge begins when you join the design team at one of our startup partners. Bridge designers get assigned some of the most challenging work that directly influences how their company’s products affect millions of people. From localizing Airbnb in multiple countries to creating new publishing experiences across platforms at Flipboard to helping people realize their goals on Asana mobile, Bridge designers tackle difficult problems from day one.
Startups are not only great opportunities to make an impact on the world, they are also amazing learning environments. We believe if more great designers joined top startups, they would learn what’s missing in traditional design education: what it takes to build great products, create a unique culture, scale an organization, collaborate with some of the best engineers in the world, and more. We want more designers to experience this potentially life-changing opportunity to grow with a startup.
We believe one of the best ways for designers to keep growing is through a community that exchanges best practices. In addition to working full-time at your startup during Bridge, we come together once a week at Designer Fund.
Each evening begins with a workshop deconstructing a practitioner’s design process. Presenters like Tim Van Damme and Jessica Hische show something they made, then walk the group through how they did it. At these workshops, you’re given insights that are rarely shared publicly about the process it took to design, build, and ship something. For instance, Andy Johns revealed growth tactics he used early on at Facebook and Twitter to make design decisions with data. Workshops are an opportunity to teach each other new methods to stay fresh because technology is constantly changing.
The night continues with a family-style dinner where we can share stories and get to know each other in a relaxed environment. Then we wrap up with a design leader or creative luminary who shares an off-the-record talk that inspires, challenges, and pushes the community to question what we’re working on and why we’re doing it. For example, Julie Zhou discussed designing with intention and Justin Rosenstein talked about a better way to work. Afterwards we often stay late into the night continuing the conversation and follow up the next week to show how we put words into action.
If you’re a designer who wants to join a top startup, elevate your career, ship products with a great team, and be part of an exceptional community of designers: we want you. Update: Keep in touch to be invited to apply early to Bridge 5 before applications open on September 15.
We simplify the application process by making it easy for you to connect with any of our hand-picked startup partners in one quick flow. Ultimately, you choose which startup and offer you want. You can work full-time on a short-term contract for more flexibility or as an employee if you’re ready for a longer-term commitment. It helps to have us on your side when negotiating: we make sure every designer who participates in Bridge gets a fair deal from their startup. And if you’re coming from far away, we’ll see that you get help relocating from across the country or even internationally.