The Designmatters educational platform at ArtCenter College of Design joins collaboration with experimentation, experience with reflection, problem-solving with problem-discovery, and purpose with action.

Our Mission

Through research, advocacy and action, Designmatters engages, empowers and leads an ongoing exploration of art and design as a positive force in society.

Homeless crisis in L.A. inspires some purposefully small ideas: tiny houses

Los Angeles Times / December 2018

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The assignment: Design a poster that dispels America’s myths about immigrants

Los Angeles Times / January 2019

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"The practical foundation that underlies this program is that even the most amazing design solutions need to be supported by a strong business model in order to be implemented and sustainable."

Adlai Wertman, Professor, Marshall School of Business, USC

Pasadena students create art piece to spark dialogue and engagement on immigration policies

KABC-TV / December 2018

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The “Night Loo” keeps refugee women safe from hazardous bathroom trips

Fast Company Design / September 2018

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Designing Democracy: The Future of Civic Engagement

Spring 2018 - Host Department: Humanities & Sciences 

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“It is one thing to know and design for an ‘end user’, but it’s another to sit across from someone in their own living room and hear their personal story. It humanizes the work we do and gives it meaning and value.”

Narbeh Dereghishian, Product Design '10,

With tiny homes, Pasadena ArtCenter’s students face the realities of solving LA’s homeless crisis

Daily News / December 2018

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Engage + Envision + Empower: Creating a Safe Sex Culture in the City of Long Beach


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A Future Vision for the Aquarium of the Pacific


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Interaction Design Education Summit 19

Seattle, Washington February 3 - 4th, 2019


"These projects help every design student see what is on the other side, and opens the door to making the impossible a possibility of hope."

Armie Pasa and Gabriel La 'O, Product Design, Students


A transcripted course of study for ArtCenter undergraduate students in social innovation

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ArtCenter students are embedded in host organizations for one full 14-week academic term to work on high-level projects.

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Networks & Partnerships

Current partnerships
AEDAmerican Cancer SocietyAmerican Red CrossANSPEAquarium of the PacificArt Division
Arthritis FoundationAshokaAutodesk FoundationBarbieBerkeley Graduate School of JournalismBloomberg
CAL EMACal TechCenter Theatre GroupChildrens Hospital LACity of LACity of Long Beach
City of PasadenaCity of Santa Monica Office of Civic WellbeingCoaniquemCalifornia Common CauseCedar-Sinai Center for Health Equity ResearchCompartamos Con Colombia
Covenant HouseDalbergDoctors Withouth BordersEast West BankEMDRIAFEMA
Flintridge CenterFood ForwardGE HealthcareGirl EffectGoodwillHomeboy
Homeboy Electronics Recycling  Housing WorksHUB Bogota Instituto de Diseño (ISDi)International Medical CorpInternational Organization for Migration
International Rescue CommKyoto Seika UniversityLA County Dept. mental healthLAUSDLegacy LALong Beach Police Department
Mary Pickford FoundationMattelMayoMayor’s Fund Los AngelesNAKFINathan Cummings
NEANike FoundationNOAANorth East TreesOASOutward Bound Adventures
Packard FoundationPAHOParticipant Pasadena Public LibraryPathPlanned Parenthood
PrincetonProject 51Project Concern IntProximityRancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation CenterRonald McDonald House
RubbermaidSappi: Ideas that MatterSCECSentient ResearchSilicon Valley Community FoundationState of California Seismic Safety
SurdnaSHESocialabUS dept of InteriorTAMA Art UniversityTECHO
Tongji University College of Design and InnovationUCLA Business of Science CenterUNESCOUNFPAUNDPUNICEF
UNICEF US FundUNIFEMUnited We StayUNOPSUSC AnnenbergUSC Norris
USGSVANSVentureWellWHOWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution World Bank
Women DeliverYMCA
designmatters networks
AIGACumulus AssociationDesign Ignites ChangeDesigners AccordDesis NetworkIDSA