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The Design Masterclass is about your app. Grow the app as one of 3 to 6 experienced app design teams, each working on your own app. Your team can use your favorite tools, from full stack to mockup tools to low code/no code environments. Design examples will feature FileMaker Pro for fast cycle turns and quick iteration. Bring a team member or two, at a reduced rate, and have team members join remotely from wherever they are.

View a current DESIGN Masterclass brochure.

Advanced Degree / Sabbatical

At The Design Masterclass, you're getting work done, AND you're also getting AWAY from work. Many students bill their clients for the class tuition. Admission is by interview only: the class is open exclusively to experienced designers, coders and app creators who can bring an app that will be their master pieceThe Design Masterclass and the entire application process is under the terms of a strict Nondisclosure Agreement which all students and attending staff must sign.

Interested? APPLY HERE. Then share a screen with design master Albert Harum-Alvarez, and see if you're ready for the class. Then choose your inspiring place HERE.



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Didn’t see that coming

"How can he be so blind," you think to yourself, but you don't say it out loud. After all, you just met the guy on the first day of The Design Masterclass. You and he are among 12 designers staying by the shore in the Hamptons in New York, working on your apps. "He's missing the point," you think, and then you notice that you're doing the same thing in your own design! 

"If I were back at my office, I never would have noticed my mistake." 

Being Here

There's nothing like working on your app at The Design Masterclass:

  • Awaken at an inspiring locale: You are in a special place, far from your day-to-day, and as far from your phone and email as you care to be.

  • Awaken your critical faculties: The teacher and your fellow students spur you to change your design thinking, in a way that seldom occurs back home. You will leave with a new and simple non-jargon way of talking about your app. We call that language THE LINGO.

  • Get BILLABLE WORK done: This is not a course where you must set aside your daily work. Instead, you can shift into overdrive. Some students complete a four-day class with 32 solid hours of billable work.

The Design Masterclass: Inspired Design at Inspiring Places! 

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Are you stuck? Is your software project lagging? Is it seriously off the rails? Has it stalled before it even launched?

Or are you just seeking fresh inspiration, and a new way to approach app design?


For many students, The Design Masterclass changes everything. "The scales fell from my eyes, and they kept falling," exclaimed one student. Here are some of the ways in which projects have been jumpstarted, AFTER a student returned from The Design Masterclass:

"I realized that our Functional Spec had us off-course, because we didn't know our users, and we didn't even know what questions to ask them. After The Design Masterclass, we built a goal spec, and we got unstuck!"

"I had mistaken graphic design for interaction design! So, while the layouts looked pretty, they didn't work. Users told us they liked the app, but they were lost. Now we are designing for Names, Faces and Agency, and it's made all the difference."

"I really had no idea how to take our legacy app into the mobile space. We had a development platform that offered a rich vocabulary of design patterns, but we really didn't know when to use which pattern! Now our team has a handle on how to organize the mobile information space, and we're moving again."

To see more of what people are saying about The Design Masterclass, read THESE QUOTES.


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yours and your app’s


The Design Masterclass is modeled on the music conservatory masterclass. The students bring their master pieces, which will be the entire focus of the masterclass. There is no curriculum, aside from the students' work, selected and brought to the class by the students, and worked on during the masterclass.

Each team presents their work in turn, and receives comments, critiques and suggestions from the teacher and, at times, from other students. Then they perform their work again. And possibly once again after that, in response to further critique. Whether your team is building with FileMaker or any other platform, the focus is on quick turns. You can even invite clients and their representatives to the masterclass, whether they are in person or attending remotely via screenshare.


Students at The Design Masterclass select an app or a software solution, and review their selection with Masterclass staff. The week before the class, the class meets online, to introduce themselves and their software. Once everyone arrives at the class site, the work begins:

BEFORE: Students make screenshots of their software, memorializing the design before any classwork has begun.

Evocative presentations alternate with design time. Depending on the site of your class, you may choose to work in a hammock by the beach in Tulum, in the bay window of a historic Sag Harbor mansion, in London’s flagship Apple Store, or at the little café around the corner from our classroom in Paris.

Each day, students share their design progress—and their struggles—with the class. The apps each take their turn on the big screen, and the design master who leads the class offers advice, as do peers. The class reviews mockups, partial builds, or with low code/no code platforms like FileMaker, fully functioning apps.

BEFORE & AFTER: All work is focused toward the afternoon of the fourth day, when each student presents their software in BEFORE & AFTER versions. The changes are often astounding.

PLAN FOR RE-ENTRY: The Design Masterclass is a hothouse environment that inspires great leaps forward in design thinking. But it doesn't last forever. The last stage of the class is to make a plan for bringing the new design work home, to colleagues, clients, patrons & the Real World in general.

The Design Masterclass offers a CLASS REUNION at a date chosen by the class before departing. True camaraderie is fostered by shared meals and field trips to local sites: wineries in Napa and Long Island, a botanic garden in Miami, a pub in London and pyramids in Mexico. Students engage in each other's work and lives, and usually want to see how things "turned out."