Kleiner Perkins adds Design Fellows program to promote design in technology

Coming off the success of the investment firm’s engineering fellows program, Kleiner Perkins is launching a Design Fellows Program on Tuesday that will give promising design students a three-month internship with top companies in Kleiner Perkins’ portfolio to hone their design skills. Kleiner Perkins’ decision to place design students in top tech firms puts a particular emphasis on the importance of connecting design and technology.

“The importance of design as a critical part of product development and a vital strategy for companies to win in the marketplace is increasing, and KPCB sees design as a key factor in evaluating today’s consumer digital investment opportunities,” the firm noted in a press release.

Kleiner Perkins Design Fellows will work with on “design challenges” with one of the company’s funded companies, including Coursera, Flipboard, Klout, Nest, One Kings Lane, Opower, Path, Shopkick, Square and Zaarly.

The company will also pair the Design Fellows with members of the Design Council, to provide mentoring and leadership opportunities. Design Council members include: Zach Klein, DIY; Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad; Elle Luna, Mailbox; Gentry Underwood, Mailbox; Marcos Weskamp, Flipboard; Wesley Yun, Samsung; and Matt Beebe, Tylr Mobile.

We’ve talked a lot this month about the importance of the marrying of good design and tech, particularly at our recent RoadMap conference, in the future of business and innovation in Silicon Valley:

But now that computers and connectivity are ubiquitous, design is a vital part of how the best hardware, software, services, and systems are created: good design is the difference between products that make our lives better and those that make our lives more difficult.

Kleiner Perkins has already offered a similar program with its Engineers Fellows program, now in its second year of accepting applications, providing promising engineering students with summer internships at Kleiner Perkins companies and funding to relocate for the summer.

The Design Fellows program will begin accepting applications on Tuesday and will run through January 31, 2013.