Program Overview

What is Design4?

Design4 is a new externally funded initiative that introduces principles of experiential learning into the realm of paid professional opportunities for upper year design students in their third or fourth year in the Undergraduate level. Students can also be studying design at the Graduate level. This pilot project will run from October 2018 until March 2019.

How will it work?

45 students will be selected out of a pool of applicants and will have the chance to work part-time in small multi- disciplinary teams for up to 6 months, with the goal of addressing design challenges proposed by employment partners. Uniquely, employer compensation for the students will be partially subsidized by OCAD University.

Throughout this experience, students will have direct support from The Centre of Emerging Artists and Designers, while receiving critical guidance from one of four dedicated teaching faculty members from the Faculty of Design.

Employment partners will be drawn from among four distinct groups, hence the name Design4:

  • New start-up ventures
  • SME private enterprise
  • The cultural sector/ The Arts
  • Social innovation/ non for profit

Equity and Diversity

OCAD U’s principles of decolonisation, diversity & equity, sustainability and health/wellness are guiding considerations for the Design4 program.

The Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers will be prioritizing support for the Indigenous & Black Youth Design Initiative developed by the Faculty of Design within the context of Design4.

Quality Assurance

The Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers will work closely with students, faculty and partners to ensure that best-practises, mentorship and meaningful outcomes are assured. Partner agreements will outline the commitments to all stakeholders, ensuring follow-through, as well as qualitative assessment.

Where will the work happen?

Students will be working periodically at the employment partner’s place of work but will have dedicated work space in the new Rosalie Sharp Experiential Learning Centre at 115 McCaul Street on the OCAD campus.

Expected Outcomes

  • Deep industry insight and the chance to build meaningful creative professional relationships that will enhance future employment outcomes
  • The opportunity to put discipline-specific design skills into practice and reflect on the portfolio-worthy work that gets produced
  • The creation of an institutionally supported community of practice on campus

Program Resources


Zviko Mhakayakora
Special Projects Coordinator, Design4