If a typography walking tour your idea of a dream vacation, then a.) I feel for your significant other and b.) you should apply for InVision’s inaugural Design Exchange.
InVision, the design software company recently valued at $1.9 billion, is announcing a program to send designers to inspiring cities around the world next year for free to “learn with, and from, their design peers,” according to a blog post on InVision’s site. Think of it as study abroad for the T-square set.
The program is open to professional designers, with each trip lasting a week. Itineraries are expected to include design workshops, visits to prominent design firms and design-led companies, and tours of art museums and other cultural institutions. InVision plans to host four trips in 2019, starting with Sydney in February, then Copenhagen and Singapore later in the year. The fourth destination has not been announced.
For InVision, the Design Exchange is an obvious marketing play. InVision has long positioned itself as an advocate of designers–its primary users–in hopes of winning their loyalty and better competing against Adobe and other design software makers. “Helping designers advance within their companies advances the broader design ecosystem,” an InVision spokesperson says–which means more potential customers for InVision.
The company recently tested the Design Exchange in Munich with designers from tech heavyweights Google, Pinterest, Airbnb, Indeed, and Automattic (the company behind WordPress). Participants explored the Museum of Contemporary Art and toured IBM’s Watson IoT Center. They had dinners with local designers, and yes, they took a type tour of the city. “This program impacted me by really rooting me back into design culture,” says Benjamin Evans, inclusive design lead at Airbnb. “It’s all too easy to forget that design is something you can do just for fun.”
Learning from different cultures is never a bad thing, no matter what your profession. But digital designers stand to benefit, perhaps more than most, from unshackling themselves from their computers and venturing out into the world. Many of today’s designers create products and services that influence the behavior of millions, if not billions, of users around the globe. Yet they often work at just a clutch of companies confined to rarified regions like Silicon Valley and New York City. The result is a kind of unintended myopia that can have disastrous consequences.
In this sense, the Design Exchange isn’t just about helping the careers of individual designers; it’s about making the design industry itself more empathic. “Our hope is that Design Exchange participants will take these experiences back to their teams to grow design’s influence at their companies and build the products that continue to shape entire industries,” InVision CEO and cofounder Clark Valberg says.
To qualify, you have to be a senior designer with six to eight years in the field. Read more and apply here.