Despite having been around only a year, Bridge is rapidly gaining a reputation within the design community, due in no small part to the impressive roster of startups to which it places designers. This session’s crop includes such companies as Square, Dropbox, Flipboard, and Pinterest. Salary, equipment, health care, and relocation expenses are all included in the program, making it an attractive prospect for those looking to get a foothold in the Bay Area. (Full disclosure: our own Jared Erondu is a Bridge alumnus.)
Samia Ahmed, a Bridge alumnus who was a designer-in-residence at Designer Fund, says:
The Bridge community is amazing. Being a Bridge designer has let me have conversations with mentors and industry professionals that I otherwise would have assumed to inaccessible. It’s amazing to hear the kinds of questions design veterans pose of one another.
Anne Kenney, who worked with Airbnb, says:
Even though we live in a very digital age, I was continually surprised and delighted at how valuable it was to connect with people face-to-face in the Bay Area design community. I think we were able to learn more, faster from one another — it was a great glimpse into what the future of design education can look like.
Andrew Chin, a designer-in-residence at Dropbox, says:
I was caught by surprise by the level of impact a designer-in-residence has at Dropbox. I was fully immersed in the team on Day 1, and my responsibility is no different from a full time designer who has been there for years. It is mind-blowing to have the opportunity to design for hundreds of millions of users. We sweat the details, and it’s really rewarding to see how every design decision has a direct and positive impact on so many people.
Didier Hilhorst, a product designer at Flipboard, spoke about what it was like to have Bridge designers-in-residence on the team. Regarding what kinds of projects the Bridge designers worked on, he says:
Anything and everything! As a product designer you get to work on a variety of projects, from feature development to big picture product strategy and direction. Designers work on projects that interact with many teams at Flipboard, from engineering and data to growth and marketing. At Flipboard we want to design and build the best personal magazine in the world, and every aspect of what we ship helps us get closer to that mission. It starts with an understanding of our users and defining the problem we’re about to tackle. Designers gathers insights from many places (users, other teams, data, etc.) and start to explore solutions by prototyping and visualizing core interactions—while collaborating with team members, and all the way to getting everything ready to ship!
Now, let’s get specific: our Bridge designers worked on things like shopping, magazine web widgets, sharing articles with friends, new layouts and structures, typography systems, and much more across all the platforms where Flipboard is available. Last, but not least, at Flipboard we like to know what designers are excited about and match them to their area(s) of passion, across many roles from product strategy to visual design.
Didier also has a word of advice for designers who are on-the-fence about applying to the program.
Ask yourself: why not? This is an amazing opportunity to be part of some of the best design teams in Silicon Valley—no strings attached! At Flipboard, it’s an amazing opportunity to work on a platform used by 100s of million of people, where you get to improve the way they discover, read and share content. But even more importantly, it’s a unique environment where you will find yourself surrounded by extremely talented designers, engineers and data scientists that you get to interact and work with every day. What’s not to like?