“As Art Center graduates go forward, our hope is not to simply find work in their chosen field, but also to find meaningful work. Designmatters gives them the context and the courage to find such meaning.”

- Lorne M. Buchman, President, Art Center College of Design

Designmatters Fellowships:
A Scholarship Award of Unique Distinction



Each year, up to six Art Center students are awarded Designmatters Fellowships.  These funded, high-level fellowships embed students in host organizations for one full 14-week academic term to work on strategic design projects and explore the mission, model and meaning of the host organization’s work.  For many Fellows, this working fellowship is the first step on a career path in the emergent field of social innovation. Host organizations are introduced to the power of strategic design through this new generation of designers determined to use their skills to change the world.


In recognition of the diverse and growing field of socially conscious organizations and businesses advancing positive change, the Designmatters Fellowship Program offers two types of Fellowships:

Business for Social Innovation Fellowships
Launched in 2012, the Designmatters Business for Social Innovation Fellowships place Fellows in social enterprises and private sector companies working to address critical social issues through strategic partnerships, sustainability, market-based approaches and new business models.  These Fellows combine the powers of human centered design and business to bring innovative solutions and foresight to complex, evolving consumer trends in global and emerging markets.

Past Business for Social Innovation Fellowship hosts include Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Proximity Designs.

Traditional Designmatters Fellowships
Since 2006, Designmatters International Development Fellows have served government, non-profit and multi-lateral organizations that perform humanitarian work on a global scale.  These Fellows use design to address global issues like hunger, poverty, healthcare and education in dynamic, complex, mission-driven organizations.

Past International Development Fellow hosts include UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, UNFPA, Doctors Without Borders, Ashoka Changemakers, Acacia Foundation, OAS, PAHO, International Rescue Committee, UNDP, AED, UNESCO and the United Nations DPI.


Designmatters Fellows work full time at their host organization, completing at least one core project. Beyond that, Fellows are expected to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to their host organization and actively identify opportunities to contribute to the organization and team. Fellows also receive a mentorship with Stephanie Sigg, an Art Center alumnae and current Creative Director for Bloomberg LP, to get advice on navigating the challenges of designing for social change in a professional environment. Fellows are expected to document their experience in a comprehensive and visual manner, culminating in a final presentation to faculty, staff, students and stakeholders to share their project outcomes, triumphs, challenges, and new perspectives with the Art Center community.


Through the generosity of host organizations and funders, Designmatters Fellowships fulfill Art Center College of Design’s mission to “Influence Change” by giving students the opportunity to act as change agents and citizen designers, fully engaged with the world- leading by design.   For more information on how to support the Designmatters Fellowship, contact us at: Designmatters@artcenter.edu

Want to apply?

* On occasion, Designmatters will facilitate a special Fellowship opportunity between a Designmatters Concentration student and a select host organization for the continued refinement and/or implementation of an established project, including concepts developed during Designmatters Partner Studios. In order to qualify for these customized Fellowships, a student must be declared in the Designmatters Concentration and have a well-defined project or proof of concept that would benefit from the mission, expertise, and resources available from a specific host organization.  Designmatters Concentration students may contact designmatters@artcenter.edu for more information on how to submit a Fellowship proposal.




Stephanie Sigg

Graduate Industrial Design alumna (’98)

Creative Director at Bloomberg L.P.

Stephanie Sigg lives in London and works as Creative Director at Bloomberg L.P. She also devotes a good amount of her time to Designmatters, where she mentors the Designmatters Fellows. With a masters degree from Art Center in Environmental Design, Stephanie has keen awareness of the multiple worlds in which she travels: corporate media branding and philanthropy, social and humanitarian design, and Art Center.