Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Applications Work?

Fantastic! You should have received a confirmation email from us. (Please reach out to [email protected] if you haven’t.) If you indicated on your application that you’re interested in new design roles, our partner companies will review your application. If they see a fit, they may reach out to you to schedule an interview and begin their standard employee recruiting process. They may eventually extend you an offer for a long-term, full-time position, and if you join, they can nominate you to participate in Bridge. Introduction requests from partners will be sent via email (to whichever email you provided when applying to Bridge), so please keep an eye on your inbox!

If you indicated on your application that you’re only interested in a professional development program, we will review your application and may reach out to you for a discussion to determine your eligibility and your employer’s interest in supporting your participation.
If you’ve been accepted to a Bridge program, you’ll receive a welcome email from us after you’ve gone through one of two paths to join Bridge. In the first, you can interview for and accept a full-time position at a Bridge partner company, and your new employer can then nominate you for Bridge. In the second track, your current employer offers to support your participation and you speak with a member of the Designer Fund team to determine your eligibility.
When you apply for Bridge and indicate your interest in a new design role, your application and portfolio will become visible to our hiring partners. They review applicants on a rolling basis and if they see a fit with you, they will send you an email through the Bridge applicant review tool. This begins your standard interview process with the company, which may include a quick phone call, onsite interview to meet team members, and possibly a design challenge. If you go through the process with Bridge, we’ll be here to support you by providing portfolio reviews, practice presentations, general interview tips, advocacy during the offer stage, and more.
We’re glad you’re excited about our partners! You’ll be given the chance to mark your interest in specific companies on your application. If there’s one you missed, you can log in and update your profile. You can also reach out to us at [email protected] to let us know; we’ll share your interest with the partner and they’ll reach out if they see a fit.
You are welcome to interview with other companies. Please let us know at [email protected] once you reach the final stages of the interview process. If you keep us informed about your status with companies you’re in conversation with, whether they’re Bridge partners or not, we’ll best be able to support you and provide guidance at key decision points. We can also request that our partners accelerate their hiring process with you if you have a decision deadline coming up with an outside offer.
On the login screen, click “Forgot Password” and enter your email address. You will receive instructions in your inbox with next steps.
All Bridge programs cover design leadership, best practices, and trends. They also have the same core structure: regular discussions, talks from design leaders, group outings, and community support through your program group, alumni, and leading designers in the Bay Area. We encourage you to submit your application early for the next session of your top choice program and consider joining a different upcoming program. You can also email us at [email protected] to discuss your situation after submitting.
Each of our three 2017 programs has a deadline by which you must submit your application in order to be eligible to participate. For instance, if you apply before March 1, 2017, you will be eligible to participate in all three programs: Product Design, Communication Design, and Design Management. The Product Design deadline is March 1, so if you apply after that date, you will be eligible to participate in Communication Design and Design Management, but not Product Design. If you’re not interested in participating in a Bridge program, you can submit your application anytime. Employers will review candidates for open design roles throughout the year.

Is Bridge for me?

No, Bridge is not an internship. Bridge is a professional development program for experienced designers who currently work full time at top startups in the Bay Area.
Yes, all Bridge Fellows must be located in the San Francisco Bay Area for the duration of the program. Bridge partners are hiring designers for Bay Area-based positions, and the program meets every week at Designer Fund’s studio in San Francisco’s SoMa district.
Yes! Many of our partner companies are able to sponsor visas for their new employees and assist with the transition. Be sure to research the time it takes to process a work visa from your country and discuss it with your potential employer if you begin the interview process with them.
Yes! We encourage you to apply. In the job preference portion of the application we will ask, “Are you interested in pursuing a new role with one of our partner companies?” Simply check “no.” Your current employer will need to sponsor your participation. If your company is not already one of our Bridge partners, please discuss the program with the appropriate decision makers that would need to support you. In the meanwhile, we’ll review your application, and if we think you could be a fit for Bridge we’ll reach out via email to schedule a time to meet with you.
Bridge Fellows typically engage in full-time, long-term employment with our partner companies and receive competitive salary and benefits. Compensation is negotiated directly with the partner company. Designer Fund is available to advocate for you and help you receive the best possible offer.

What do Bridge programs entail?

Bridge Fellows gather at Designer Fund’s studio at least one evening per week over the course of a program. These Bridge evenings involve family-style dinners, talks, workshops, discussions, and peer feedback sessions and run up to four hours long. In addition, one of our partner companies will host a larger event for the design community (and more designers from your team can usually join these). The Fellows in your program will also get together for a weekend outing to connect away from work.

During the program you will be matched with a member of our Bridge Guild (Bridge Alumni and leaders in the design community) for one-on-ones to discuss your work, challenges, and career growth. Each program will end with an Alumni Event so that you can connect with our exceptional Bridge Alumni. By becoming a Bridge Fellow, you are committing to attend every Bridge event and give back to our community.
In 2017, there will be three Bridge programs that each go in depth on a different design discipline: Product Design, Communication Design, and Design Management. This means the three programs will differ in their emphasis on skills specific to certain design roles and on the distribution of the type of designers in each session. In addition to this focus, all programs will cover leadership, craft, and design trends. Programs are roughly the same length and will involve weekly gatherings at Designer Fund, a weekend outing, one-on-one guidance, and an alumni event. And, of course, we will welcome you to our community of exceptional designers. A Product Designer would still derive great value from the Communication Design program, especially if they are interested in transitioning to a new role with this focus.
Bridge Fellows accept full-time, long-term offers from our partner companies, so their role at their Bridge employer extends far beyond the end of the program. Occasionally, Bridge Fellows work with one of our partners on a short-term contract. In this case, the company can decide to extend the contract for a full-time offer.
If you work at one of our partner companies, there are a few other ways to be involved in the Bridge community. Bridge Fellows are welcome to invite a guest from their company’s design team to each Bridge evening, so speak with your company’s Fellow about when you can attend. Your company can also host a Bridge event, which opens up participation to your whole design team. (If you think your company might be interested in hosting, please reach out to us at [email protected])

If you don’t work at one of our partner companies, you unfortunately won’t be able to attend weekly Bridge evenings, but we do host a couple events each year that are open to the broader design community, such as Source (a daylong summit for design leaders) and Women in Design (an evening discussion with women leaders). If you’re on our mailing list, you’ll be first to hear about upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.
Bridge Fellows work full time at their employer (a Bridge partner company) and then gather for evenings at Designer Fund’s studio in SoMa at least once a week for up to four hours. We also do one weekend outing during the program, which may involve an overnight and often takes place outside of San Francisco.

How do I become a Bridge Partner?

We select Bridge partners on an annual basis and look for the following attributes: (1) A great mission and potential for meaningful impact at scale, (2) Founders who value design and use it as a key differentiator, (3) Culture that supports and develops its design talent, (4) Significant user or customer traction, and (5) Substantial funding (generally Series A or later). Bridge 2017 Partners were finalized in Fall 2016, but we have left a few partnership opportunities open to be filled throughout 2017, including hiring support, seats in our professional development programs, and collaboration on our community events. If you’re interested in becoming a Bridge Partner or nominating a Fellow, please reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more.
We help our Bridge partners hire exceptional designers year-round. We source qualified designers for open roles and are available to help write role descriptions and assess candidates. Typically, we work with designers who are looking for full-time, long-term roles and have an average of five years of professional experience. If you’re interested in partnering with us, reach out to us at [email protected].

Upcoming Programs

Product Design

Share the latest processes for designing successful apps and digital products.

Jan 23 - Mar 1, 2017

Communication Design

Exchange best practices for creating leading brands, visual systems, and content.

Jan 23 - Jun 5, 2017

Design Management

Focus on the best ways to manage your creative process and team as a design leader.

Jan 23 - Sep 5, 2017

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Want to know more? Check out our eligibility info and FAQ page.