Eye on Design’s guide to design residencies. (Photo: Graz University Library reading room, creative commons).

Summer has us thinking about alternative ways of thinking, working, and learning: taking time out for self-directed projects, pursuing informal forms of education, stepping outside of our typical routines. Applying for residencies is, of course, one way to do all three, and perhaps even travel across the world to do so. We know of a ton of opportunities for artists-in-residents, but it got us thinking—which are the best for designers?

Below we’ve gathered a starter list of residencies that run the gamut from the year-long, full-time, prestigious and ultra-intense programs to the more self-directed, week-long residencies, and a few in between. Some are better known than others; some are more geared toward print-making or technology. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a start toward gathering these resources in one place, and laying out all you need to know to prepare and apply. We’ll keep adding to this list, and we’d love to hear from you about residencies we’ve missed. Email us at submit@aiga.org or talk to us on Twitter.

Fabrica library in Treviso, Italy

Typographer-in-Residence at ArtCenter in Pasadena, CA 

What is it? A six-week residency program at the The Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA. A design lab, research center, and archive, HMCT serves as a studio for the Typographer-in-Resident, who also participates as a guest critic in one of the undergraduate typography classes, delivers a public lecture, holds bi-weekly open conversations for students and faculty, and presents an exhibition of their work or research at the end of their stay.

When is it?  Happens annually. The last one was May 29-June 28

Who’s done it? Lucienne Roberts of LucienneRoberts+ and GraphicDesign& was the most recent resident. Designers with the best chances are likely to be mid-level and above.

How to apply: Contact the HMCT to receive an application.

Designers-in-Residence at the Design Museum in London

What is it? A seven-month residency program at the Design Museum that offers designers and architects an opportunity to develop a specific project in collaboration with the museum and its resources. Residents exhibit their final work to the public with a highly celebrated annual exhibition in the museum. They also receive a stipend, commissioning budget, and coverage for the production costs of their projects, which must revolve around a specific theme each year (2017’s theme was “Support”).

When is it? The deadline is in February every year and the showcase starts in November.

Who’s done it? Design researcher and educator Helga Schmid (who also has a PhD in Design Interactions and Visual Communication) and artist Yuri Suzuki. The application calls for “emerging designers,” but the competition is stiff (and well-established).

How to apply: Applications are currently closed, but the applications go up every year on the Design Museum website.

Bibliothek Andreas Züst in Oberegg, Switzerland

What is it? A four-week residency at the Alpenhof panorama lodge, in the Swiss mountains, overlooking the Rhine Valley, for visual artists an designers interested the cultural role of the library. Residents should use the time to conduct research about “what constitutes the fabric of our culture and also what goes beyond it.” The residency is self-organized, with private and public areas for working and living.

When is it? Twice a year, in November and April.

Who’s done it? Not sure… but it does sound nice.

How to apply: Apply here by October 31 for the April 2018 session.

The Bibliothek Andreas Züst

Adobe Creative Residency in San Francisco, CA

What is it? A year-long residency program that supports artists and designers as they focus on a single creative project. It’s a structured, full-time program designed to give residents access to a space, creative tools, and leaders in their fields. It also helps send residents to events, sets them up to speak at conferences, and, importantly, offers a full salary and health benefits, though it also requires a full-time commitment (no other jobs during the residency year).

When is it? Every year from May to April.

Who’s done it? Several friends of EoD, including Jessica Bellamy, who led a workshop on non-profit design at our Eye on Design conference last year, as well as illustrator Nadine Kolodziey. The program is specifically looking for those in the early stages of their career, though they do want you to have at least a few years of education, training, and/or work experience.

How to apply: Follow the instructions here.

Fabrica in Treviso, Italy

What is it? A year-long residency in Treviso, Italy with the United Colors of Benetton-backed Fabrica Centre, where residents work on individual, self-initiated projects as well as commissions. The residency offers a space in a beautiful building designed by Tadao Ando, as well as a “continuous and self-managed cycle of lectures, conferences, workshops, performances, meetings, and non-stop lessons with visionary international artists and professionals.” Projects include film and photography works, and a neural network project with the Tate. Lots of exciting stuff comes out of Fabrica each year.

When is it? Residencies are selected yearly on a rolling selection process.

Who’s done it? Filmmaker Carlo Zoratti, graphic designer Aaron Gillet, and product designer Charlotte Juillard, among many, many others.

How to apply: Apply here.

Fall Design Residency at Liminal Space Press in Chicago 

What is it? A three-month residency with Liminal Space, a community-led initiative dedicated to hosting workshops, exhibitions, and events that amplify unheard voices in contemporary design, sponsored by Some Office and Cards Against Humanity. Residents get access to a studio desk space, a screen printing studio, risograph printer, 3D printer, and laster cutter at Some Office in Chicago. They also receive one-on-one critiques with local designers and a solo exhibition at Some Office gallery the end of their stay.

When is it? In the fall (applications due August 1).

Who’s done it? Cameron Ralston, a New Zealand-based graphic designer, writer, editor, and artist, who also runs the graphic design magazine Strips Club. He used the residency to work on a range of personal writing and print design projects.

How to apply: Email liminalspacechi@gmail.com before August 1.

Artist Studios Residency Program Museum of Art and Design in NYC

What is it? A six-month residency program at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) that provides residents with a studio to work in one day each week and access to the museums tools, materials, and galleries. Residents receive an honorarium of $125 a day and have access to “professional development opportunities” throughout the year.

When is it? Twice a year, from February to July and August to January.

Who’s done it? Artist and engineer Xin Liu and textile designer Erin M. Riley. MAD likes for residents who apply to already have a mature body of work, and past residents typically work with the kinds of craft and physical material the museum specializes in with its collection.

How to apply: Applications for the February—July 2019 session will become available in August 2018. Check back here.

Copy Shop Residency at Endless Editions in New York 

What is it? A residency at The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in midtown Manhattan, which can range in length from one day to six months. A bit unconventional, this residency is mostly about the space and published result—there’s a $5 application fee and costs can run between $100-500. Residents get access to the “Copy Shop” and their project published by Endless Editions.

When is it? Whenever! Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Who’s done it? From the website: “Over the course of the past four years, Endless Editions has published over 70 titles by 60 artists. Our projects are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art Library, New York; the New York Public Library; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

How to apply: Very straightforward instructions here. You basically just need to be able to give a description or prototype of the proposed project.

Google Creative Lab Five Program in NYC, London, and Sydney 

What is it? Google Creative Lab’s well-known residency program, which selects five residents each year to join the Creative Lab for an entire year. It’s paid, and residents get a mentor at Google and can collaborate with other “fivers” in the program on creative projects for Google. Past projects include the branding for Levi’s partnership with Google’s Project Jacquard (remember the “smart” jacket?) and an AI experiment called Teachable Machine.

When is it? Each year it starts in July in NYC, June in London, and March in Sydney.

Who’s done it? Tons of young smart designers you’d probably recognize. Isaac Blankensmith, now a hardware interaction designer at Google Creative Lab. The entire team at HAWRAF all met there. It’s highly competitive, but open to recent graduates—they just ask that you have a “kick-ass portfolio that shows passion, courage, and curiosity.”

How to apply: Applications can be found here. Check back in October and November.

Kickstarter’s Creatives-in-Residence Program in Brooklyn, NY

What is it? A three-month residency in the Kickstarter offices in Brooklyn, open to those who have recently run a Kickstarter campaign to help get their project realized. In 2017, after the designer and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz asked if there was space in the Kickstarter HQ to do shipping and fulfillment for prizes for a recent campaign, the start-up decided to make it an official residency. Last winter they welcomed in the first class, which got access to resources like film equipment and software, a mentor at Kickstarter, and space within the office.

When is it? The last residency was May to July. Soon Kickstarter will announce an open call for fall/winter residencies.

Who’s done it? Ellen Martinez and Steph Ching are the team behind After Spring, a feature documentary about the Syrian refugee crisis, and Rekha Shankar is the creator and co-star of a video-game-themed series called Hustle. It’s relatively open to people of all creative disciplines and career levels, but you do need to have launched a Kickstarter campaign project recently.

How to apply: Check back here for the fall/winter call for entries later this summer.

Adam J. Kurtz, doing his shipping and fulfillment at the Kickstarter HQ as a proto-designer-in-residence.

Eyebeam Residency in Brooklyn, NY

What is it? A year-long, full-time residency out of Eyebeam’s shared studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn where residents pursue creative research that relates their practice to an annual theme. Popular with artists who use technology in their work, Eyebeam asks their residents to make their work open source and accessible to the public through teaching, events and online documentation during their program. Residents participate in Eyebeam’s artist-led technology education, and often pop up at its events and conferences. They can also receive up to $25,000 of funding.

When is it? November 2018

Who’s done it? People like Ingrid Burrington and Surya Mattu, who are the first residents for Eyebeam’s R&D Program for the Future of Journalism. Friend of EoD Zach Lieberman was once a resident, as well as his School for Poetic Computation co-founder Taeyoon Choi. Residents usually already have a bit of name-recognition, though are still relatively early on in their careers.

How to apply: Applications are closed for this year, but join the newsletter to hear about residency deadlines.

@telier Residency in New York

What is it? A one- to three-week residency at XXXI, a storefront studio in the East Village in New York, and possibly other studios around the world as well. This residency works on both ends: design studios can apply as a host and open up their spaces to residents, and residents can apply to work in a specific studio (XXXI appears to be the one available at this time; a studio in Berlin has been an option in the past). The idea came about after the two designers behind @telier created a residency of sorts for themselves as a way of meeting up face-to-face while working on their shared design practice cross-country. In 2016, they decided to open up their way of working to others, inviting residents to use their new studio space to work on a specific project, and asking others to open up their studios, too. Current residents will work at XXXI along with XXIX, Grilli Type, David McGillivray, and Michael Groth.

When is it? Applications are open now.

Who’s done it? Vienna graphic designer Julia Schäfer was the 2017 resident.

How to apply: Apply here to be a resident or here to be a host.