Designlab Design 101 Course Review (Online Design Bootcamp)
Do you ever wish your websites & apps looked more "professional"? Supercharge your visual and UI design skills by completing hands-on projects & working 1-on-1 with an expert designer.
This year I have decided that I want to learn more about web design. There are lots of courses I could take to help improve my knowledge, but I’ve decided that I’d like to attend a design bootcamp. After doing lots of research I came to the conclusion that I’m going to attend Designlab’s – Design 101 course, you’ll learn more in stage #1 why I picked Designlab.
I believe this online course will give me a greater understanding of the principles of design. Not only do I think this course would be helpful for me but you, so I’ve decided to share my experience along the way in this article.
I’m going to be posting a video for each major stage and sharing my thoughts as I go thorough and complete the course. I’ll be updating this article over this next month with more information and videos as I progress through the course.
Picking a Design Bootcamp & Enrolment
Which bootcamp should you choose? Online or In Person?
You have two main options when it comes to picking a design bootcamp. You can either pick an in person one or a online version.
The in person bootcamps cost more money due to the fact that the design bootcamps have to hire full time staff. They also have to have premises to operate out of.
Something else you have to take into consideration is accommodation. If there isn’t a local design bootcamp in your city this might mean you have to travel to a different part of the country or even world to attend the bootcamp of your choice. These costs all add up making the in person bootcamp cost more money.
Compare this to an online bootcamp there operating costs are much lower as the can hire staff as and when they need them. They also don’t require premises all of which helps them to reduce their costs.
Now you know the main differences between a online bootcamp and in person person bootcamp.
Which Design Bootcamp Did I End Up Choosing?
I’ve decided that I’m going to take an online bootcamp instead of a in person version to save on costs. Not only this but it will allow me to continue my normal day to day life with out interruption.
I’ve narrowed down my online design bootcamp search to one of two schools Designlab and Bloc. I’ve decided between these two schools due to independent reviews by past students on Course Report and Switchup.
Both schools offer in depth design bootcamps but I think for my first online bootcamp I’m going to get to grips with the fundamentals and see how much I like it before shelling out $1,000’s on a longer bootcamp.
Due to these reason’s I have decided to take Designlab’s Design 101 course.
Designlab Design 101 Course
This course is only $299 with discount and is a great deal considering you’ll:
- Learn about the fundamentals of color theory, typography, and layout in web design
- Gain familiarity with the design tool of your choice (Photoshop, Sketch, or Illustrator)
- Hone your skills & start building your portfolio with a series of hands-on projects
- Work with your own expert mentor, with written feedback on all your work and 4 Skype sessions
You’ll end the course with a certificate of completion, a portfolio of projects, and a strong foundational skill set in design.
Who is this course for?
The course is tailor-made for busy professionals. You’ll spend around 5-10 hours per week on readings, projects, and mentor work.
- Calling all developers! Up your ante in design, move into more front-end work, and start building great products.
- Product managers
- Improve your ability to communicate with your design and product teams through wireframes and mockups. Learn the language!
- Design beginners
- Looking to move into design as a career? Great choice. This course is a foundational offering to help you get the lay of the land and learn where to go next.
What you’ll learn
Four weeks. Five to ten hours per week. You’ll be able to confidently wireframe, make visual design decisions, and communicate like a designer.
- WEEK 1 – Getting to know design
- See where your current skills stand & meet your mentor. Learn to see and recognize good design.
- WEEK 2 – Visual Hierarchy & Layout
- You’ll learn some key graphic design principles in this unit.
- Learn the basic fundamentals of visual design, as well as how to build your first wireframe.
- WEEK 3 – Color Theory & Typography
- Learn how to add a splash of color to your design work!
- Get acquainted with basic typographic principles and understand how to choose fonts.
- WEEK 4 – Process
- Put it all together in this this final unit, where you work on your capstone project.
After enrolling you’ll first need to complete the pre-course content which is to get you up to speed on how to use either, Photoshop, Illustrator Sketch. You are given the assignment to replicate a particular landing page. Designlab assumes you have never used any of these design applications and once you’ve decided which software you’re going to use they provide step by step video tutorials teaching you how to replicate the particular design.
Most people decide to use Sketch as you can use the free they offer to complete this course but should you want to continue using this afterwards Designlab has a great deal and you can buy Sketch for 50% off. This is one perk they offer through enrolling in the course plus much more.
Welcome to Design 101!
This overview guide will walk you through how the course works. We’ll help you learn how to structure your time and effort to get the most out of your next few weeks on Designlab.
Over the next 4 weeks, you’ll embark on a journey to hone your design skills. You’ll look at a lot of design (both good and bad), read about design theory and learn concepts, and most importantly, work on a series of projects to sharpen your intuition and technical ability. Along the way, you’ll have an expert mentor that will serve as your guide into the design world. The course will begin with a short skills assessment that will help give you and your mentor a starting point to work from through the rest of the course.
The course consists of 6 units that cover the following topics: Getting to know design, visual hierarchy, layout, typography, color theory and process.
Each unit on Designlab contains a series of lectures, articles, and videos that we’ve written and curated from around the web.
Take your time to read through the lectures and watch the videos, and make sure to take notes along the way to identify questions you might have about certain topics. This theory will help form the foundation of your design knowledge.
Project Work + Feedback
Project work is the heart of the Designlab experience. To improve your skills as a designer, the single most important thing you can do is practice, repeatedly.
In addition to the lesson content, each unit contains projects for you to complete. These projects & exercises will help push your understanding of the material, demonstrate your ability, and give your mentors a chance to identify where you can improve.
Projects are where you can truly grow as a designer by creating a body of work. Make sure to get feedback from your mentor and iterate on your work throughout the course.
Also, feel free to share your personal goals with your mentor coming into the course. For example, if you’d like to get one or two solid portfolio pieces at the end of the next few weeks, make sure to mention that! You can adapt the projects as much as you’d like to fit your particular needs.
Your mentor Skype sessions are a great opportunity to learn 1-on-1 from some of the best designers in the world.
Each session lasts 30-60 minutes, and are largely student-driven. We encourage you to bring an agenda of questions and topics you’d like to discuss during each session (more on this later).
We’ll explain more about how session scheduling works next.
We have recommended guidelines on the online coursework for how long you should spend on each item (readings and project work). We’ve broken the content down week-by-week, and you can keep pace with the material if you spend roughly 6-10 hours a week.
The only “scheduled” component of the course are the mentor sessions, which you’ll arrange with your mentor at the end of this guide. You can look at your mentor’s availability and coordinate a time to meet with them weekly. Once your sessions are booked, we’ll send you email reminders to keep you on track.
If you know you can’t make a session, let your mentors know at least 24 hours in advance. Last-minute cancellations will count as forfeited sessions and your mentors will mark them as completed.
Note: if you ever have any challenges with scheduling or coordinating with your mentors, please reach out to us and we’ll help resolve the situation!
We recommend completing the projects using industry standard tools like Sketch, Photoshop, and Illustrator. If you’re not familiar with the tools yet, here are some intro units that might be helpful to work through: Photoshop, Illustrator and Sketch.
We have a growing number of perks and discounts available through Designlab partners. Click here to view the full list and redeem!
Here are some newsletters and websites we recommend signing up for as resources in your design career moving forward: UX Design Weekly, Smashing Newsletter, Sidebar and Dear Design Student.
Questions for Mentors
Your mentors are great resources and it’s important to ask the right questions to get the most out of your time with them. Here’s a short list of questions if you run out of things to talk about, or if you’re not sure about what kind of things you can ask your mentors. Feel free to refer to this during your next session!
Additionally, be sure to use your first session to share your background and specific course goals with your mentor. Maybe you’d like to get a portfolio piece out of the course, or you’re hoping to evolve your own process as you advance in your career. Whatever it may be, make sure to share with your mentor so you can work together to reach those goals!
In the video above I’ve shared my experience of completing the Designlab – Design 101 course. So far I’ve done 3 and half weeks worth of this course and I’m loving it! I have to say that the mentors are what make this course so good. If you have any questions they are able to answer them and when you submitted assignment work they’ll provide you with insightful feedback on how you can improve your work. Though it has to be said the mentors would prefer to give you feedback in such a way instead of them basically changing the design by telling you to change certain things they’ll get you the think out the overall practice you are struggling with and guide you in the right direction to fixing your issue. The mentors definitely are the make and break of this course.
One thing that I was pleasantly surprised by was the way they teach the content. Since I’ve already taken many different online courses most of these are taught via video this course is a little different. The majority of the course content it articles they get you to read and assignments you have to complete to cement the learning you have just done. With having the mentor once you submit your assignment work for a particular section they’ll then revive it and give you feedback on how you can improve it. You are able to then make changes and improve off your original design and then submit a version two. Most people from what I saw only tended to do a few revision of their work but on my final project, I think I reached six different versions.
If you have any questions please feel free post these in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
My Final Thoughts
Due to taking this course I now have a solid foundations of design now. The course was worth every penny and In the process I was able to redesign my freelance web design website.
One of the great thing Designlab offers to all students who have signed up to a course is a $25 off discount to share with their friends. I thought this would be a great thing to share with the Despreneur squad if you are thinking about taking this bootcamp.
I hope you liked my review of the designlab design 101 online bootcamp. Please comment below if you have any questions about this course and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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