Design for Startups

Design for Startups pairs emerging designers with early stage technology startups to work on a specific design problem.

To date, the program has connected 75+ early-stage tech companies with designers. Students are hired as Research Assistants and are supervised by Shumka Centre faculty and advisors as they work directly with company teams.

Next Cohort: Fall 2022 (September – December)

For Spring 2022, this program has pivoted to focus on companies working on principles of circular economies – Design for Regional Resilience. We will be back in Fall 2022 with the regular program. Please subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when applications open, or check back with us later.

How it Works

  • Companies tell us what problem you would like solved
  • We match companies with an Emily Carr designer who has the skills in that area
  • Student designers join your company team and work closely with you and your stakeholders for twelve weeks
  • Students also meet weekly with Emily Carr faculty and designers in a lab setting, where they are supported in keeping projects on track

Examples of Past Projects

  • Leading a co-creative process of user research and branding to transform Karmahire into Callings
  • Designing the creation tool from idea to wireframe for Cognilab
  • Overhauling the form and function of email campaigns for Spacelist
  • Creating icons and data visualizations to represent user libraries for BitLit
  • Designing a mobile app for Koho

Interested in using the Design for Startups model?

Our toolkit maps out the framework for Design for Startups model, which is adaptable to suit different contexts, disciplines, and industries – you can read about its use cases and access the toolkit here.

This program was generously supported by the Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster 2019 – 2021. Student salaries are provided by Innovate BC.

Program News