List of all Designmatters Case Studies in Chronological order.
In partnership with COANIQUEM – a pediatric nonprofit medical facility that provides free treatment to young burn survivors across South and Latin America – this Designmatters studio continued the work established in previous Safe Niños studios in order to design holistic healing environments for a new rehabilitation campus in Concepcíon, Chile, the second largest city in Chile.
As part of their field research, students spent two weeks at the Santiago and Concepcíon campuses, connecting with staff, patients and their families. Students toured cultural aspects of Chile and natural regions important to the indigenous peoples, the Mapuche. These in-person experiences informed and laid the research foundation for the students’ design thinking and ideations as they worked to transform an ordinary building into a place of learning, empowerment and healing.
With support from the California Arts Council and in partnership with Create CA, a nonprofit that advocates for high-quality arts education for all students, this ArtCenter ACX studio invited high school and college students to learn organizing principles, case making and design process fundamentals as they translated concepts into powerful visual messaging. Meeting virtually, students from across California developed graphic posters that supported arts education, advocated for more arts options in California schools, and celebrated the benefits of studying the arts. Their final creations were showcased in a virtual gallery.
In the Spring of 2023, this Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to explore the intricacies of design and what it means for something to be considered “beautiful” or “good”—and how those concepts can be incorporated into design for social change. Students examined how the study of aesthetics has expanded today beyond style and beauty to include various forms of sensory experience in relation to values, taste, and power.
Through readings and project executions, students analyzed the social forces that shape design knowledge and practice, uncovering how knowledge and resources can produce cultural, social, and ecological imbalances. Coursework, discussions, and lectures also equipped students to apply refined design and research methods to their design practices that can offer critiques with richer technical and theoretical know-how.
This Designmatters studio in Fall 2022 invited students to decode ideological aspects of brand messaging and values to learn how brands shape personal and collective identities.
Lectures, readings and stimulating presentations from experts, scholars and practitioners provided students with a deeper understanding on how factors such as psychology, politics, race and gender reveal how brands contribute to the production of subjectivities as much as market value—redirecting analysis toward branding as a binding agent of identity.
Throughout the studio, students worked on group projects involving dismantling and reconfiguring strategies for popular brands; they also produced a campaign-style agonistic brand with the goal of provoking justice at multiple scales.
In partnership with Cedars-Sinai Research Center for Health Equity, this Fall 2022 Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to explore the current lack of diverse representation in clinical trials. By designing an inviting digital and print awareness campaign, Los Angeles Latino and Korean community members would possibly consider participating in clinical trials; likewise healthcare providers, who often are subject to racial biases, would consider inviting members of these ethnic communities to become involved in potentially life-saving cancer treatments.
Students created strong messaging, resource material, language and cultural identity collateral along with distribution systems that focus on community members and leaders, healthcare practitioners, clinical staff, primary care physicians and advocates. Understanding the barriers involved in engaging these audiences, students crafted campaign resources and toolkits that cemented the overall importance of taking part in clinical trials that could save lives.
In this Designmatters studio, students explored the connections between Los Angeles’ indigenous past, present, and future relationships with native plant life – and the opportunities for non-natives to learn about the land they live on. The recent cultural appropriate of white sage “cleansing” by non-natives – and the subsequent destructive poaching of the sacred plant to fulfill demand – offered students a doorway into more complex issues involving stewardship of native habitats, indigenous land rights, and settler colonialism.
With a grant from the LA County Department of Health Services, the Cedars-Sinai Research Center for Health Equity joined forces with Designmatters and the Graphic Design Department to challenge ArtCenter transdisciplinary students to develop a campaign advocating tobacco cessation for the LGBTQIA+ communities, which have some of the highest tobacco rates in the U.S. Students interacted with health and community experts as they researched reasons for high tobacco rates while learning the history of LGBTQIA+ health activism. On this foundation, they created a campaign that featured a unique visual identity and appropriate materials/systems so community organizations can help members quit their tobacco habit.
In partnership with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and with a grant from the Rose Hills Foundation, this Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to co-create a community-based campaign to encourage caregivers and parents to vaccinate their children ages 6 months to11 years in a specific Black and Latinx Pasadena neighborhood.
In the Summer of 2022., this research-led transdisciplinary Designmatters studio challenged students to explore the past, present and future of democratic participation and civic engagement – and consider how design thinking can play an instrumental role in the election process along with building frameworks and strategies for the future.
Conducting primary investigations about the state of civic participation in the L.A. metro area and with inspiration from expert advisors, students paid close attention to their own exploration processes as they honed their research skills to envision new ways to engage the public in
the political process.
Building upon the work accomplished in previous Safe Niños Studios, this Designmatters studio, in the Spring of 2022, engaged ArtCenter students with long-time partner COANIQUEM – a pediatric nonprofit medical facility that provides free treatment to burn survivors across South, Latin America and the Caribbean – to create new multi-media messaging about childhood burn prevention. Students had support from experts in child development and entertainment fields to craft appropriate campaigns to educate children about the dangers of open flames and fireworks. Drawing on existing COANIQUEM characters, student teams crafted new characters, environments and storylines for effective educational solutions that reached across various media platforms from games, animated series, children’s books and other media. Conceptual campaigns included games, animated series, children’s books and other media that delivered the message in a fun, upbeat and child-appropriate manner.
In the Spring of 2022, ArtCenter partnered with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the American Red Cross Pacific Division, to host an interdisciplinary Designmatters studio. The studio challenged ArtCenter students to learn about the specific dangers of wildfires in California and to create a compelling statewide multi-modal campaign that encourages residents to take direct preventable action. Through digital research across a variety of platforms and media, the campaign had generous input from a variety of experts in the fields of science, disaster planning and firefighting.
This Designmatters Studio challenged transdisciplinary students to learn about the disparity and dangers facing pregnant Black birthing people in Los Angeles County who are four times more likely than white birthing people to die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. Students collaboratively designed a comprehensive multi-modal awareness campaign with the goal of expanding access to equitable child birthing experiences and increasing awareness about choosing Black midwifery to improve health outcomes – for the birthing person, baby and the entire family.
This Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter graduate and undergraduate students to explore the current state of museums and other institutions as they recontextualize their collections to present a more honest representation of history and culture that is not entangled in racism, colonialism, homophobia, sexism and other forms of oppression.
Students were tasked with delving into the details of an exhibit showcasing African peoples opened to the public in the 1960s. Students reframed various aspects of exhibit with cost-effective measures that included new technologies, visual layering and updated commentary offers visitors a more complete view of the history of exhibit along with exploring 1960s attitudes and the ever-changing role of museums in society.
This Designmatters Studio challenged students to discover the rich diversity and current challenges facing local wild bee species. Working with biologists, scientific researchers and community advocates, student teams conducted field research, interviewed experts and conceptualized conservation outreach efforts that would benefit bees and help humans better understand these insects as important ecological links.
Students explored how biomimicry can serve as a resource in their design solutions; additionally, they were advised to approach the subject as systematic network that mimics nature itself through complex, interrelated and nested-dependent design ecosystems. Teams created innovative campaign solutions that incorporated products, services, spatial interventions and events.
This Designmatters Transdiciplinary Studio, in the Summer of 2021, challenged ArtCenter students to design interventions and customizable solutions that would ensure all Angelenos have access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. Students explored causes of vaccine hesitancy along with sources of misinformation and inequity in distribution while engaging with experts in the field such as researchers, doctors, policy makers and community organizers. Interdisciplinary student teams co-created with these Knowledge Partners to uncover opportunities, form concepts and field test their designs. Working directly with local professionals provided students with first-hand, on-the-ground experiences of addressing a contemporary real-world problem as it unfolds.
In the Spring of 2021, Transdisciplinary ArtCenter students were challenged to co-create with Knowledge Partner Homeboy Industries to develop comprehensive, effective and low-cost campaign strategies that will lead to better recruitment outcomes for a more diverse pool of mental health professionals who can serve the Homeboy community as volunteers. Mental health is a national issue especially during the pandemic, and mental health among people of color a particular concern. Homeboy Industries, an organization that sees mental health as central to their work, could develop and leverage the Homeboy Heals brand to encourage overall stronger connections within communities of color that could appeal and increase volunteer signups and retention.
This project brings together archive and library professionals, designers and design disability advocates and partners from SAA’s Accessibility and Disability Section, The Braille Institute, and Pasadena ADA. “Participatory design” (sometimes referred to as co-design) actively involves all stakeholders and constituents (e.g. community leaders, partners, archivists, citizens, end users) in research and creative activities. This ensures that the project designs with, not for, disabled communities, creating accessible, informative, and flexible experiences for every user.
In partnership with the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), this Designmatters studio in the Fall of 2020, challenged ArtCenter student teams to co-create with librarians and teen subjects in order to re-imagine teen-designated library spaces — both digital and physical — as welcome learning resources and community spaces for social connections. Teams researched, interviewed and developed workable solutions as they designed experiences, programming and physical environments to meet the unique needs of teenagers in today’s online world and tomorrow’s post-pandemic future.
This Designmatters studio challenged transdisciplinary ArtCenter students to design spatial experiences that offer emotional, mental and physical support for older adults facing extreme isolation because of the pandemic. Students learned how the global crisis has illuminated the psychosocial issues and inequities faced by homebound older people, especially those who are ethnic minorities, ill or in nursing homes, palliative or hospice care systems.
Students engaged in workshops interacting with healthcare providers and practitioners, policy makers, designers and activists. Through the process of co-creation and a lens of empathy-based design, students researched and developed solutions that would promote community, well-being and connection.
In partnership with the J. Craig Venter Institute, this Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to explore, conceptualize and translate scientific research on symbiosis into compelling visuals that communicate scientific discoveries to a broad range of audiences. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IOS 1926972.
Through multiple class visits from scientists, transdisciplinary students were exposed to the intricate details of symbiosis in nature and how that partnership creates unique relationships among all life forms, from microscopic bacteria to the largest animal in the world, the whale. Students conducted additional research, ideated and designed visual representations of symbiosis to a specific target audience, merging art and science for an engaging and scientifically sound illustrative project.
Responding to Covid-19 in the Summer of 2020, this Designmatters studio challenged transdisciplinary ArtCenter students to address the varied needs of individuals/groups as they adjust to the isolation of pandemic life, while focusing attention to the newly energized racial equality movement spurred by social unrest after the murder of George Floyd. Student teams identified specific groups of people (students, elderly, etc.), researched pain points and, through the process of co-creation and design-thinking, conceptualized solutions that would reflect new circumstances of living alongside the coronavirus crisis, as well as pathways toward a more racially just and equitable society. Students employed technology, analogue responses and strategic thinking to present viable options that represented a wide range of possibilities of resiliency.
In partnership with Cedars-Sinai Research Center for Health Equity (RCHE), ArtCenter students engaged with researchers, doctors, healthcare providers, community organizations, and advocates to understand the history and severity of the cancers as it impacts the LGBTQIA+ communities in order to develop effective campaign elements across multiple platforms.
In partnership with Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena, ArtCenter students conceptualize and create an engaging age-appropriate museum play experience and a companion Pop-Up exhibit for educational outreach at community locations.
ArtCenter students introduced local high schoolers to various artistic mediums, and through the creative design process, conceptualized and produced pieces for an art exhibition on the Legacy L.A. campus.
Using data associated with the Census 2020, ArtCenter students created multidisciplinary projects to promote participation in the upcoming census, targeting populations that are typically undercounted.
Inspired by the momentum created by previous Safe Niños Studios which engaged ArtCenter students to create innovative environmental elements for two satellite campuses of COANIQUEM – a nonprofit pediatric burn treatment facility based in Santiago, Chile – this Designmatters development seminar challenged interdisciplinary students to continue to refine and improve on key design elements/environments that would be physically installed onsite on the Chilean campuses at Antofagasta (in the north) and Puerto Montt (south).
In partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Geological Survey and the City of Long Beach, this DesignStorm challenged transdisciplinary ArtCenter students to address the impact of rising sea level on the Long Beach communities of Belmont Shore, Naples Island and the Peninsula. Students developed adaptive design planning models along with short-, medium- and long-term resilient solutions that incorporate temporary and permanent concepts to allow residents to remain in their homes as long as possible.
Based on a program developed by stakeholder Sentient Research, this Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to create an appealing branding program and user interface for a mobile-based health program that will support and empower young parents ages 16-21 who often face social isolation, marginalization and stigma as they juggle competing priorities of school, work, employment, and family commitment. The program will provide engaging and easy-to-access information, parent and relationship-building resources, and peer-to-peer connections to help young parents navigate their journey.
In partnership with Cedars-Sinai Research Center for Health Equity, this Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to explore the role of technology in a city-wide health initiative to create a culture of healthy, active and engaged communities for all residents of Los Angeles. Students developed apps as well as other technology-based and low-tech solutions for multiple interventions that also integrated outcomes for stakeholders with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP), Discovery Science Cube Los Angeles and Garmin International.
ArtCenter students partner with COANIQUEM, a Santiago, Chile based nonprofit who provides free burn treatment to children from underserved communities across Latin America. Interdisciplinary student teams design holistic healing environments for kids at COANIQUEM’s burn rehabilitation campuses in Antofagasta to the north of Chile & Puerto Montt to the south.
Sponsored by the Mary Pickford Foundation, this Designmatters studio teamed up ArtCenter students with high schoolers from the Ramona Gardens public housing development to create an art-filled event at Alvarez Park that would celebrate and connect the Boyle Heights community with its cultural and natural surroundings through projects that explore self-expression and ideas of environmental justice.
In collaboration with the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) and supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), ArtCenter’s Designmatters and Graphic Design Departments hosted the Building Trust, Bridging Divides Studio which challenged transdiciplinary students to develop a visually compelling and technology-infused awareness campaign and branding program, to build understanding and empathy between the LBPD and the diverse communities of Long Beach that would ultimately encourage more prospective local recruits to consider a career in law enforcement.
The Fall 2018 Design for Sustainability 2: Design Smarter: Reimagining Electronics for Repair & Recycle studio in partnership with Homeboy Electronics Recycling challenged students to explore the economics, systems and processes of e-waste to create an innovative product or system that efficiently utilizes materials, processes, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, repair, reuse, recycling and end-of-life.
Smart Image, Social Impact is an ArtCenter Illustration course taught by faculty and Designmatters Illustration Track leader Esther Pearl Watson. During the Fall 2018 iteration of the studio, the students worked with United We Stay (UWS), a nonprofit immigrant advocacy organization. The final project for the course challenged the students to critically dissect common myths about immigration, and through graphic and illustrative art, present the compelling realities of undocumented residents in America and their positive social, economic, and cultural contributions. The stylish posters, along with an informational pamphlet illustrating United We Stay’s Undocumented Americans’ Bill of Rights, is targeted to raise awareness and encourage voters – especially young and/or apathetic – to advocate for changes in the current immigration process.
Packard Fellowship invited ArtCenter students, faculty to develop concepts for new wing at Aquarium of the Pacific, Pacific Visions. In the first part of 2019, the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific will unveil Pacific Visions, an impressive addition to its seaside campus. This $53 million, two-story, 29,000 sq. ft. wing will display innovative, state-of-the-art educational and artistic platforms to communicate the challenges and opportunities of the world’s oceans – and it will also feature two exhibits conceptualized by a pair of ArtCenter students and a faculty member.
Sponsored by the Mary Pickford Foundation, this Designmatters studio teamed ArtCenter Fine Art students with artists from Art Division, a non-profit organization located in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles that serves young artists committed to pursuing and studying the visual arts. As a field that blurs the lines between art and life, the Spring 2018 studio, Socially Engaged Art, emphasized participation, dialogue, and action from a place of shared concerns. The class was formatted to encourage collaboration to foster skills of negotiation, while holding space for individual voices and unexpected innovation within art production.
In partnership with California Common Cause, this Designmatters studio challenged interdisciplinary students to explore the past, present and future of democratic participation and civic engagement by examining the history of United States elections, voting rights, civil rights, media representation and power. Gaining insights from experts, gathering field research, and participating in local canvassing activities and citizen ethnography, students created campaigns, collateral and experiences aimed to increase voter participation and citizen empowerment in and beyond California.
Inspired by the momentum of the Safe Niños Studio in the Fall of 2017 which engaged ArtCenter students to support the work of COANIQUEM – a nonprofit pediatric burn treatment facility in Santiago, Chile and Designmatters partner – this Designmatters Development Seminar challenged interdisciplinary students to design and implement an easy-to-assemble, pop-up structure/system that would be field tested on site at the Lollapalooza Festival in Santiago, Chile. To reach and engage new audiences about the mission of COANIQUEM and its new charity thrift store chain, the transformable modular pop-up structure would later be employed at trade shows, outdoor events and large festivals as well as inside COANIQUEM thrift shops.
With a grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, this Designmatters Studio brings together the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute with the ArtCenter Interaction Design Department to facilitate interdisciplinary students in designing interactive data visualization projects based on elusive underwater movement patterns by ocean eddies.
ArtCenter and Tongji University College of Design and Innovation students design with artisans to revive traditional crafts and create social impact.
In partnership with the UCLA Business of Science Center (BSC) and with support from VentureWell, this Designmatters studio challenged ArtCenter students to take advantage of groundbreaking technology advancements to conceive, design and prototype innovative products that would improve the quality of life across a broad spectrum of human health and well-being issues.
As part of ArtCenter’s ongoing Pacific Rim project in partnership with Tama Art University, Toyko, ArtCenter students collaborated with Tama students and faculty for two weeks to study, explore and be inspired by the rich biodiversity of the Costa Rica ecological landscape to later design sustainable spaces, materials innovations, furnishings and experiences. This immersive experience challenged students to draw upon the influences of biomimicry and nature’s biological forms for concepts that reflected symbiotic relationships with natural resources.
ArtCenter students partner with COANIQUEM, a Santiago, Chile based nonprofit that provides free holistic burn treatment to children from across Latin America. Interdisciplinary student teams designed unifying concepts, store layout and back-of-the-store systems for a series of more than 50 country-wide COANIQUEM thrift shops that will raise funds to support COANIQUEM’s free burn treatment programs while building a community of socially-engaged consumers and volunteers.
ArtCenter students envisioned innovative forward-thinking ways reimagine iconic Barbie Dreamhouse for 2022 by responding to the cultural and societal needs of children around the world while creatively predicting how people will live, work and play in the future.
ArtCenter students were challenged to develop a comprehensive transmedia awareness campaign about safe sex practices for the City of Long Beach which has seen a dramatic increase in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during the past two years.
The Healing Tree is a comprehensive system of environmental graphics, a storybook and a ‘passport’ that transforms the campus of COANIQUEM, a nonprofit treatment center for pediatric burn survivors, into a magical land where patients and their families go on a healing journey accompanied by characters Camilla and Lucas and a cast of animal characters that represent the different treatments offered at COANIQUEM.
Kyoto CULTURE // CRAFT – in collaboration with Kyoto Seika University – is a cultural exploration of Kyoto, Japan, a city as rich in its history and tradition as it is forward thinking. Participating students in the studio traveled to Kyoto for nearly two weeks to develop a unique perspective about the social, ecological and cultural significance of traditional making and crafting.
During the Spring 2017 “Interactive Selfie Stations studio,” Interaction Design students were challenged to further develop, prototype and test project solutions from the Spring 2016 Blue Hope studio centered around marine defaunation, which targeted ways to integrate art with science to create engaging interactive elements for visitors of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach for the new Vanishing Animals exhibit.
Communicating the Wellbeing of a City with Santa Monica challenges ArtCenter students to work alongside Santa Monica civic leaders, residents and other stakeholders to translate the City of Santa Monica’s pioneering Wellbeing Index into innovative transmedia design campaigns that communicate a shared understanding of the community’s strengths and needs, encourage collaboration among city leaders and local organizations, and improve a collective sense of wellbeing for all residents of Santa Monica.
In partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the Ocean Impact Studio challenged Illustration students from ArtCenter College of Design to tell visually engaging stories about the benefits of marine aquaculture as “Seafood for the Future.” The projects developed by students would communicate reasons why farm-raised seafood is a healthy, sustainable food choice for today’s fast-growing human population; likewise, the storytelling would dispel myths and misconceptions about farm-raised seafood.
In collaboration with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, the Design for Freedom from Disability Studio brought together Caltech engineering students and ArtCenter product design students to design, modify and/or create innovative and affordable products that would improve mobility, usability and quality of life for the physically disabled.
In partnership with the Environmental Design Department and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, and with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Resilient Coastal Cities Studio challenged ArtCenter students to conceptualize, design and create an exciting, engaging exhibit that would effectively communicate a call to action for the residents of Long Beach and other coastal cities for resiliency in the face of climate change.
In partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), this studio – a continuation of the “Where’s Daryl?” educational toolkit created in 2012 and a byproduct of the Uncool Studio in 2011 – challenged students to develop an easy-to-use and functional online teacher training portal so the anti-gun violence curriculum could be scaled nationally and reach a wider potential audience of users.
A continuation of the Spring 2016 Safe Niños Studio, the Safe Niños Development Seminar was inspired by the motivation to reimagine the 6-acre campus of COANIQUEM, a nonprofit pediatric burn treatment facility in Santiago, Chile and Designmatters partner. Students refined and improved on final outcomes presented at the Spring Studio, moving design concepts closer to actualization and implementation.
Fresh Eyes Cuba will challenge a group of top ArtCenter students to discover new ways of thinking, designing, and communicating and re-examine their own assumptions and worldviews with fresh eyes through a deep immersion and cultural exchange in Havana, Cuba. Fresh Eyes Cuba is a Designmatters and Graphic Design Trans-disciplinary Studio and Study Away supported by the Autodesk Foundation.
In FUTURE CRAFT Japan+Thailand, the 11th annual Pacific Rim collaboration between ArtCenter College of Design in California and Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan, students and faculty from both schools collaborate to envision new opportunities for design to create social impact with artisans in Northern Thailand, in partnership with the Lanna Culture & Crafts Association and the Thai Ministry of Industry.
In partnership with ArtCenter’s Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography and with a grant from the Autodesk Foundation Fund, the “Words in Exile” studio challenged students to effectively communicate the plight of worldwide refugees by creating social issue text and imagery designs using the hand-crafted art form of type-setting and letterpress printing.
The Good Food For All Studio challenged ArtCenter students to create a socially-conscious visual branding campaign for a new concept for a healthy food initiative for the City of Compton, a “food desert” where residents lack easy access to healthy and affordable fresh produce. Students used the inspiration of the farm-to-fork model of FoodHub.LA, a proposed dual-model social enterprise consisting of a farmer’s market and food processing facility to be located in Compton.
Students and faculty travel to the COANIQUEM pediatric burn rehabilitation center in Santiago, Chile to conduct design research on the challenges faced by children and the professionals and communities responsible for caring for them.
Students targeted ways they could integrate art with science to create engaging interactive exhibits for visitors of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach that would stress the urgency of marine defaunation and possible mass extinction of ocean life while encouraging behavior that could mitigate and reverse this potential ecological collapse.
In partnership with Los Angeles based art collective Project51, students and faculty members from diverse disciplines came together to share expertise and examine how researching and making within real-world urban contexts can inspire creative interventions, foster cross-cultural dialogue, and engage critically with the ecological, social, political and cultural landscapes of the L.A. Riverfront.
In Summer 2015, Designmatters and the Illustration Department launched a partnership with Center Theatre Group (CTG), Los Angeles’ largest non profit theatre company, through the Play Time studio, which introduced students to the many behind-the-scenes aspects of theatre with hands-on making, exploration and projects. Students explored how costumes, sets and the written word come together to create theatre by reading and writing scripts, designing costumes, puppets and sets, and visiting the artists at CTG’s The Shop and attending performances at CTG’s three theatres. Building on the success of that studio, CTG continued to work with ArtCenter students on the Fall 2015 Designmatters studio “Play Time: Community.” For this studio, students were asked to design dynamic systems of communication that would promote awareness of CTG’s three theatres, utilize the new CTG brand identity, encourage participation in community programs and amplify CTG’s relationship with communities throughout Los Angeles.
The Advocacy Committee of the Texas-based EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) sponsored an Advanced Graphic Design studio in the Fall of 2015 for students to research and discover the components of effective communications campaigns and then create cross-platform campaigns that deliver a clear and engaging message about the value of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy as treatment for traumas especially Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Social media advertising campaigns were launched and actively tracked as to their effectiveness in eliciting target responses, a process that presented students and client with authentic real-life feedback on campaign performance.
In the summer of 2015, the Environmental Design Department, in collaboration with Designmatters, sent ArtCenter students to Costa Rica on an eco-retreat lab to directly explore the rich tropical landscape and the concepts of biomimicry, an innovative study of incorporating the natural world into man-made design and sustainability aspects. Drawing on their personal experiences in the jungle wilderness and utilizing the inspiration of nature, students returned to the Pasadena classroom to imagine and create sustainable resort/vacation complexes in the Costa Rican rain forest that would appeal to unique audiences.
In the spring of 2015, students in this advanced lighting studio participated in the first-ever Natural Light International Design Competition (co-sponsored by artist Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun) to create an affordable, sustainable, portable and artistically-pleasing solar-powered LED lamp which would have global appeal to both off-grid communities and those in industrialized nations such as Europe and the U.S.
This Designmatters studio presented students with the skill sets to reimagine how illustration is used on all of today’s fast-paced media platforms. Building on contemporary topics of social concern, as well as personal revelations, students became informational storytellers as they explored text/visual pieces, traditional print outlets, and the ever-changing landscape of multimedia digital formats.
In the fall of 2014, Designmatters and the Product Design Department collaborated with the Nike Foundation, Yale School of Management andfuseproject with the challenge of empowering and getting resources into the hands of adolescent girls living in poverty around the world. Student teams on both coasts built on existing everyday practices and developed social impact design ideas for income-generating and time-saving tools and techniques that are widely accessible, radically affordable and can be used intuitively by girls in diverse cultures all over the world.
Southern California-based Vans sponsored a trans-disciplinary studio for students to consider the world of 2025, and how the iconic shoe/apparel/lifestyle company could engage future customers in a broader world market, while offering sustainable designs, transportation and manufacturing practices along with consumer-driven customizations.
In the Summer of 2014, faculty and students from the Advertising Department teamed up with Designmatters and the U.S. Department of the Interior Technical Assistance Program (US DOI ITAP) office in Chile to create a campaign to raise awareness on illegal trafficking of endangered species in order to catalyze public support towards a direct call to action for Chile’s policy makers to enact CITES legislation.
In Summer 2014, this Designmatters studio hosted by the Graphic Design department positioned students and faculty to work with national and regional leadership of the Arthritis Foundation to contemporize the Foundation’s brand strategy for the long-term future, create a communication program spread across multiple platforms and produce a clear, memorable and user-friendly print, online and broadcast presence.
In spring of 2014, The Educational Partnerships division, together with Designmatters, held a three-day, heavily facilitated design workshop at ArtCenter College of Design dedicated to our partners, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), and to the question: ”What is the potential for alternative product development that is in line with the SHE brand story and leverages its existing capabilities, expertise and patent-pending technology using banana fiber?”
In the Spring of 2014, Homeboy Industries partnered with Designmatters on a Graphic Design-led studio class with the goal of elevating the Homeboy brand and amplifying its presence in Los Angeles.
Continuing to build on the investigations and experiences of the successful and award-winning SAFE AGUA Chile and SAFE AGUA Peru projects, students traveled to Altos del Pino, in Bogota, Colombia to co-create with families innovative technical design solutions for their community, seeking to overcome some of the social issues created by water poverty and to make an impact through resulting products and systems.
Students in the Fall 2013 Real Change Movement studio, addressed homelessness in Pasadena by designing a transmedia, public awareness campaign in conjunction with City of Pasadena leaders. By activating public support for tangible, self-sustaining housing solutions for Pasadena’s homeless communities, the students in the class aimed to create an actionable campaign for real change. The Real Change Movement studio is a continuation of the Fall 2012, Change on the Street studio in which ArtCenter students sought ways to harness the community’s compassion into long-term design solutions to end homelessness, and mitigate panhandling.
Students in this Summer 2013 transdisciplinary studio applied their multi-departmental skills to create a public awareness campaign for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California centered around the topic of ocean exploration.
In the Spring of 2013, the Illustration department hosted the Designmatters, On the Fence studio. The students were given the challenge of designing and installing a large scale mural on the topic of youth unemployment.
In April of 2013, the Pasadena Public Library and Designmatters co-hosted a series of hands-on creative workshops for children and their families, with the educational objective to raise anti-gun violence awareness in young children without raising fear.
Building upon the work of the fall 2012, Next Wave branding and identity campaign, this Spring 2013 class was challenged to create a visually appealing, scientifically-based, entertaining and quality motion graphics film for USGS partners, to disseminate important tsunami early warning messages for Southern California.
Students in this spring 2013 TDS applied their multi-departmental skills to create a global campaign with a twofold focus: to develop positive burn prevention messages, and to increase awareness and support for children burn victims.
“Where’s Daryl?” is an anti-gun violence educational toolkit for educators and middle-school youth. The program emphasizes prevention, and asks youth to consider their assumptions about guns and discuss the real negative impacts they can have on their lives and goals.
In the fall of 2012, ArtCenter students responded to a public RFP issued by the City of Pasadena to submit proposals for the architectural design and construction of an Armenian Genocide Memorial to be erected in Pasadena’s Memorial Park.
In the fall of 2012, students in this Trans-Disciplinary Studio addressed the vital need for the coastal communities of Southern California to have a clear and engaging message about the risks and hazards of tsunamis.
In the fall of 2012, ArtCenter students addressed two critical issues facing the city of Pasadena: homelessness and panhandling. Through the development of a public education campaign, and the design of re-purposed parking meters, the class sought ways to harness the community’s compassion into long-term solutions to end homelessness, and mitigate panhandling.
Students spent the Summer 2012 term redesigning the spatial experience for Goodwill of Orange County’s retail stores, with a focus on social responsibility, environmental awareness and making a positive impact on the community.
A multi-disciplinary team spent the Summer 2012 term investigating the living needs of low-income housing dwellers in India, and then building furniture prototypes for use in the high quality, low-cost housing championed by social entrepreneurship nonprofit Ashoka.
Uncool: The Anti-Gun Violence Project is the second phase of a two-term studio supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Hosted by the Illustration department, the studio focused on the creation of illustrated children’s books as viable vehicles for anti-gun messages in children ages 6-7 years old.
Designmatters was invited by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to partner in developing a campaign with a powerful call-to-action for achieving the goals set forth in the Programme of Action of theInternational Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), specifically the agenda guiding UNFPA’s mandate to advance the human rights of young people and ensure meaningful youth participation in decision-making processes.
In this multi-disciplinary studio hosted by Advertising supported by a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, students created a violence and gun prevention campaign designed to serve a diverse population of at-risk youth. This project is a collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Health Education Programs, HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit.
In this collaboration between Designmatters and the City of Pasadena, Illustration Department Chair, Ann Field was given the challenge to art direct a series of compelling bus shelter posters along with, recent graduate, Patrick Hruby (Illustration ’10) to help raise awareness for the Pasadena Bad Weather Shelter.
Building on the investigations and experiences of the successful and award-winning 2009 SAFE AGUA Chile, Designmatters at ArtCenter College of Design once again partnered with the Latin American NGO, Un Techo para mi Pais and its Innovation Center to co-create innovative design solutions to overcome water poverty with families living in Cerro Verde, a 30,000-person slum [asentamientos] perched on the hillsides surrounding Lima, Peru.
In this two-term Environmental Design-led class, students addressed the day-to-day challenges and aspirations of greater Pasadena’s at-risk teenagers and set out to design an art park to foster safe, artistic expression.
In this Graphic Design class, students created a peer-to-peer awareness campaign to reinvigorate HIV/AIDS prevention efforts and condom use, targeting at risk African-American and Latino youth from the LGBTQ community. The project is a collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD), Health Education Programs, HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit.
A team of four ArtCenter students from three design majors were challenged to redesign the nutrition food label and related packaging to help consumers make more educated decisions about what, and how, they eat.
The Safe Agua Exhibition captures the outcomes of the social innovation collaboration for Bottom of the Pyramid Markets between the Innovation Center of Un Techo Para Mi País based in Santiago, Chile, and Designmatters. The exhibition was conceived to tour internationally as an important public educational resource to illustrate the impactful outcomes of the Safe Agua project collaboration and serve as an exemplar of the leading work of both organizations in the arena of community engagement and international development through design and innovation.
A studio hosted by the Illustration department, in collaboration with SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises), to raise awareness and motivate action in the U.S. to address a critical lack of access to affordable, eco-friendly sanitary products for many women in developing countries such as Rwanda.
This Designmatters multi-faceted collaboration with USGS engaged decision-makers in potent design-led strategy sessions and produced public awareness tools for the ARKstorm scientific scenario.
Product design-led studio focusing on public education and action strategies to address the crisis of sea level rise, in partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Students from the Illustration Department at ArtCenter College of Design created this exhibition that speaks to the topic of older adults and HIV/AIDS awareness.
In an ongoing partnership with USGS, this Graphic Design studio was asked to design a visual identity and branding strategy for the Wildfire Scenario, a set of scientific data foretelling the natural disaster that is both devastating and a reality of life in Southern California.
This studio highlights the collaboration between Photography + Imaging students and several local Pasadena organizations to explore and support the important work of our neighbors in the non-profit sector.
This trans-disciplinary seminar examined the history, aesthetics and underpinning of community-based art and design practices through a collaboration anchored in the historic Watts Art Towers district of Los Angeles.
A collaboration with Tama Art University/Pacific Rim 6
This Environmental Design-led studio developed visionary solutions to address the Graying of the Baby Boom Generation.
Students help spread the word about the HPV vaccine to Latinas throughout LA by creating informative works of art.
Celebrating their 50th anniversary, students help promote the work of international development organization PCI through visual communication projects.
The goal of this studio was to conceive and develop a multi-component branding and communication strategy for the international NGO, Project Concern International.
The students in Creating Social Value Through Design were challenged to bring their unique skills and approaches to formulate a concept designed to restore and sustain Lake Atitlan and its people.
The World Health Day 2010 campaign envisions a healthier city now and into the future. Weaving together complex urban issues, students address key health factors affecting megacities across the Americas.
Through the collaboration between Designmatters at ArtCenter College of Design and Latin American NGO, Un Techo para mi País, The Safe Agua Project addresses the quotidian challenges of safe water access for Chile’s poorest families living in slum developments (or campamentos) on the outskirts of Santiago.
Mixed Media Campaign to Promote Colorectal Cancer Screening in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic/Innovation Unit and The American Cancer Society.
The goal of this transdisciplinary studio was to conceive and develop a multi-component branding and communications strategy for the OAS Centennial in 2010.
The world is over-armed and peace is under-funded. – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening address to the sixty-second Annual DPI/NGO Conference: “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!” in Mexico City, September 9, 2009
A multi-faceted campaign raising awareness and support for prevention and treatment of cervical cancer, the Es Tiempo campaign was produced in partnership with the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
With half of the world’s population under the age of 25, the focus of the class was to generate a call to action that would be youth-oriented and capture fresh perspectives about the interconnectedness between population dynamics, reproductive health rights, and economic and social development.
In a culture of alarm fatigue, how to find innovative ways to provoke readiness without causing fear or panic? How to turn preparedness for a natural disaster of large scale into a broad-based cultural value?
Development of a logo and identity system for the Organization of American States (OAS) and the OAS’ Art Museum of the Americas for internal and external communications.
A study in branding solutions for materials to support a positive role modeling campaign to counteract gender-based violence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Transdisciplinary strategies and systems to raise awareness and help solve the global water crisis.
A multimedia public safety campaign and sourcebook initiative to increase earthquake preparedness and recovery strategies throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.
Visual communication campaign on human rights in commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary.
The design of a sustainable, low-cost health and technology facility in Nepal.
Providing platforms that enable youth journalist groups to connect about critical world issues and interact with other youth via easily accessible technology.
Integrated solutions for mobile healthcare operations, as well as communications strategies to support mobile clinic outreach in Tijuana, Mexico.
Communication strategies to promote positive messages and empower disenfranchised youth.
Systems and products that improve the quality of life for the elderly in multiple environments.
The Agua Pura Project started with field research in rural Guatemala in summer 2007 as part of a student team project developed in Professor Ken Pickar’s “Design for Development/Product Design for the Developing World.”
In continuing partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Designmatters facilitated a Summer 2007 studio to develop an integrated multi-media awareness campaign in support of the 2007 Safe Motherhood Initiative.
In April 2007, the Designmatters initiative at ArtCenter College of Design and CENTRO de diseño, cine y televisión in Mexico City began a project collaboration to document the work of nonprofit group Cihuame based in Veracruz, Mexico.
An ongoing multi-level project which begin with Designmatters partnership with the Community Health Africa Trust (CHAT) in Kenya, to develop an innovative design project to improve health services for remote Kenyan communities.
What happens when a global company meets a small design school? In the case of GE HealthCare and ArtCenter College of Design, a collaborative effort with tremendous real-world applications.
Spearheaded by the Graphic Design Department, in collaboration with the Designmatters initiative in its vital advocacy role for promoting ArtCenter as an educational laboratory for best practices and social engagement, the YouOrleans branding initiative represents a significant commitment from our creative community to contribute to the moral and physical reconstruction of New Orleans. Conceived by Graphic Design chair Nik Hafermaas as one of the 2006 AIGA Aspen Design Summit challenges chosen for implementation, the YouOrleans design brief calls for the development of a comprehensive visual identity and branding strategy to support the Katrina Furniture Project.
A Collaboration between Designmatters, The Agency @ ArtCenter and The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
In an effort to raise awareness of cancer in 18-24 year olds, the American Cancer society worked alongside ArtCenter in the Summer 2006 to create a hip and effective messaging campaign aimed at young people. Teaming with The Agency—a small group of advertising students who take on real world clients—four campaigns were designed to speak to young people with little exposure to the dangers of cancer.
Animated Public Service Announcements developed for the International Organization for Migration and the AIDS Institute addressing HIV/AIDS, Spring 2006.
As part of their seventh terms of academic study at ArtCenter, and in the wake of the devastation left by hurricane Katrina, Product Design students Wakako Takagi and Chris Favela developed a multi-phased research-based independent study project focused on renewed urban planning strategies for the City of New Orleans.
In an effort to combat the powerful influence of alcohol advertisements that appeal to under-aged drinkers throughout the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) commissioned ArtCenter to design and develop anti-drinking Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and an accompanying print campaign for international distribution. ArtCenter Advertising and Film students worked together to design an effective communication strategy. With the overall objective of targeting youth, the campaign is a wake-up call about the profound societal impact of under-aged drinking and alcohol consumption in general.
ArtCenter College of Design film student Cody Heller, challenged with the idea of creating a public service announcement as a part of her studies, thought first of the American Red Cross.
A Funded Educational Project Sponsored by Johnson Controls Interiors, Fall 2004.
At the center of the partnership between ArtCenter and the UN is a commitment to the global agenda for development represented by the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, also known as the MDGs, or a blueprint for building a better world by 2015. These eight markers for development — cutting extreme poverty in half, putting all children into primary school, and stemming the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, among others, have become widely accepted benchmarks for progress that can be met if all involved “break with business as usual,” and dramatically accelerate high-impact initiatives. In order to achieve measurable outcomes, effective advocacy and potent visual campaigns are important to increase the global awareness of the MDGs.
Conflict is at the root of human nature, and an aspect of all social relationships. Yet conflict can also foster a powerful, transformative journey when we are equipped to resolve it with a positive outcome.
This publication highlights the essential role of design in enabling toys and games to become tools for peaceful conflict resolution at the hands of children. Reflecting unique ingenuity and thought, the nine new products documented herein amuse and entertain — and in so doing, also teach, comfort, and help children to successfully cope with conflict.
Each year, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) holds its 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, an influential campaign that calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. In 2004, UNIFEM joined forces with ArtCenter and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to produce a campaign addressing violence against women and the closely related spread of HIV/AIDS. The PSAs were produced by Art Center’s Film Department in three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese) and distributed by PAHO to a large number of television and cable stations across Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States.
For more than 70 years, ArtCenter College of Design has been a world-wide leader in art and design education.