Designmatters Overview Video


ArtCenter recognizes the power of design to change the world. Through research, advocacy and action, the College’s social innovation department, Designmatters, leads an ongoing exploration of art and design as a positive force in society.

Designmatters courses vary from term to term, but include academic, discipline-specific and studio-based offerings that engage students across all majors, taught with a dynamic, entrepreneurial and experiential approach to design education.

Through Designmatters’ programming, students tackle local, national and global issues head-on, from developing concepts for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and communicating preparation strategies for wildfires and sea level rise, to co-designing health campaigns and interventions for cancer screenings and healing environments for pediatric burn survivors and their families.

The values of sustainable development, health, public policy, social entrepreneurship and social justice are core to the curriculum, programs and projects, with student work frequently implemented with partners and in communities, making an impact beyond the walls of the classroom.

Minor in Social Innovation

The College offers a minor in social innovation through Designmatters, providing a specialization for undergraduate students who want to master a toolkit of design skills and strategies to navigate the complex dynamics of working with communities and designing for social impact. Offered across all disciplines, the minor is comprised of 15 units of study and can be completed concurrently with a student’s major degree program.

Fellowship Program

The Designmatters Fellowship Program embeds undergraduate and graduate ArtCenter students in social enterprises, government, international development and non-profit organizations for one full 14-week academic term to work on strategic projects that enhance the design capability of the and explore the mission, model and meaning of the host organization’s work.

The Fellowships are a highly competitive form of scholarship, awarded on the basis of merit and typically funded by host organizations.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Featured Course

Olympic City: The Games and the Remaking of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is set to host the 2028 Olympics. In this Designmatters course, students examine how resources and spaces are impacted when a city invites the Olympic Games into its community.

Why Designmatters Matters: ArtCenter's Pioneering Program Celebrates 20 Years of Social Innovation

Three students present their Birthing Barriers course projects

Featured Course

In Birthing Barriers, students design awareness campaigns around Black midwifery and improving health outcomes of Black birthing people and Black babies.

Where art & design education meets social change

Learn more about Designmatters.

Alum and Designmatters faculty Josh Halstead teaches about reimagining access in design

Designmatters students working on the White Sage Campaign

Featured Course

In Designing for Green Justice, students have the opportunity to connect with this land and its First Peoples, the Tongva community.

Altogether now! Transdisciplinary Studio courses allow students to collaborate across majors

College News

Students Apply Design Thinking to Los Angeles Nonprofits

DesignJam Matches South L.A. Youth to Teams to Discover Innovative Solutions to Real-World Challenges

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Take the first step toward a career in art and design.