Call for Designers: Design for Startups Spring 2024

We invite applications from graduate (MDes) and 3rd or 4th year (INTD + COMD) undergraduate ECU students interested in participating in Design for Startups in Spring 2024. The program will run for 12 weeks, from January 18 to April 10, 2024. This program will be delivered in a hybrid form, with some work being done in person and some remotely.

Design for Startups is an initiative of Shumka Centre that brings the transformative power of design to SMEs by connecting them with designers to produce deliverables that will have impact on their businesses, products, services, and platforms. This program has been successfully implemented with 100+ companies to date.

Ten designers will be paired with partner companies and work directly with the technical and business leads on-site or remotely, supported through weekly meetings with faculty and project leads and their peer group. RAs will consider existing design gaps, perform user interface/usability studies, and develop design strategies for participating companies in order to develop and improve digital products, platforms, and services. 

View the full call on Artswork
Deadline to apply: 5PM on November 19, 2023

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the program, students should be able to:

  • Solve problems by practicing a comprehensive user experience design process involving analysis, concept development, visual synthesis, feedback and research;
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved in designing in lean or agile startup environments;
  • Respond to audiences, contexts and user experience needs in shaping design decisions;
  • Research and create design presentations, and document projects so as to reflect a personalized creative process;
  • Develop complex projects iteratively, from conception to completion;
  • Use skills, tools and technologies appropriate to each project, and present work effectively in visual and verbal form;
  • Manage time efficiently and work effectively in teams or individually, as required.


  • Meet regularly with the business and technical team at one company to establish project deliverables and working processes
  • Meet regularly with Research team to apply Lean and Agile Design methodologies to project work, so as to provide shared feedback and keep projects on track
  • Apply research and design methodology to establishing and proposing great design solutions
  • Develop a series of reports summarizing findings and proposals, including a concluding report
  • Develop and produce a public presentation for participating companies and other project stakeholders


To be considered for this position, candidates must

  • Be enrolled at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (MDes graduate, 3rd or 4th year INTD + COMD undergraduate student) with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Be an amazing designer with flexible technical and creative skills across web, UX, communication or industrial design
  • Possess excellent teamwork skills and a flexible, creative attitude
  • Have strong organizational, research, communication, and presentation skills
  • Have the ability to work independently and adapt responsively to changing condition
  • Have use of your own laptop
  • Must be available to meet remotely with company teams and internal research group as needed. Internal meetings will be held on Thursdays 4:30 – 7:30 PM. Final Presentation will be on Wednesday, April 10 from 4:30 – 7:30PM.

For information on compensation and how to apply, visit Artswork.

This program is generously supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) from Fall 2022 through Spring 2024.