Design Ignites Change

Design Ignites Change began in 2009 as a five year initiative in partnership with Adobe Foundation. This signature Worldstudio program supports creative professionals, as well as high school and college students, who use design thinking – the combination of unleashed creativity and executable actions – to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

By championing creativity as a way to address global and community issues, Design Ignites Change strengthens the field of social impact design through financial support, education, fiscal sponsorship and visibility.

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Download a pdf snapshot of our activities: 2009-2016 »

Creativity holds enormous power to impact positive social change. A range of programming offers support to architects and designers who want to make a difference.

The hub of the initiative is a website where, students, educators and creative professionals can browse social impact design projects, research sources of financial support and uncover educational opportunities.

The initiative has provided college and university students and educators with over $100,000 in financial support. 2014 Student Innovation Award winner RAXSA, created by students at Virginia Tech, is a portable outdoor vending station for empowering and protecting female street vendors in rural India.

The Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award is an annual $10,000 grant to support a professional designer’s social impact project. 2014 recipient, Francis Carter and the Corbin Hill Food Project, supply fresh vegetables to the food deserts of New York City.

Mentoring initiatives connect college students and professionals with high school students; together they work on projects with compelling social themes. This short video – Create Don't Hate! – promotes tolerance using billboards.

Mapping Impact is a new research initiative for the creative community to identify and compile tools, metrics and best practices that will inform impact assessment of socially minded projects.

Design Troops is an initiative currently in development where interdisciplinary teams create grassroots creative solutions to a national social issue.

A fiscal sponsorship program provides individuals and organizations lacking non-profit status – like Inquiring Minds in Brooklyn – the benefits of United States government 501c3 designation to help launch their initiatives.

Design Ignites Change brings speakers and workshops to schools and organizations across the country. A 2012 lecture and workshop at East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania, accompanied an exhibition.

Design Ignites Change partners with corporate social responsibility efforts through custom programming. A collaboration with Mohawk Fine Paper produced letterpress notebooks which were sold nationwide, raising funds for a mentoring program.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of a wide range of partners!