Designmatters projects are highly curated and are united by a universal objective: imagining and building a better and more humane future for all.

Public Policy

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CITES Project for the U.S. Department of the Interior

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.


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Real Change Movement

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 Art Center students sought ways to harness the community’s compassion into long-term design solutions to end homelessness, and mitigate panhandling.


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The Aquarium of the Pacific: Open Ocean Project

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.


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Uncool: Children’s Library Workshop Series

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.


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The Next Wave: Know the Tsunami

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.


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LAUSD “Where’s Daryl?” Educational Program

“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.


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The Next Wave

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.


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Change on the Street

In the fall of 2012, Art Center 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.


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Uncool 2: The Anti-Gun Violence Project

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.


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Supporting the Programme of Action of the ICPD: A Campaign to Promote Young People’s Voices and Choices

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 the International 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.


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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.


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Friends of the Bad Weather Shelter Campaign

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.


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Teen Art Park: A Place for Artistic Expression

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.


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Project U/ HIV-AIDS Awareness Campaign with LAUSD

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.


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Rethinking the Food Label

A team of four Art Center 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.



SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises): Awareness Campaign Directions

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.


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The ARkStorm Initiative: California’s Other “Big One”

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. VIEW PROJECT


The Graying of AIDS: Off the Wall

Students from the Illustration Department at Art Center College of Design created this exhibition that speaks to the topic of older adults and HIV/AIDS awareness.


Para Nuestras Hijas

Students help spread the word about the HPV vaccine to Latinas throughout LA by creating informative works of art



UNFPA: A Campaign Celebrating Population and Development ICPD+15

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.



The Ark Project: A Winter Storm Campaign for USGS

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?



The Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready

A multimedia public safety campaign and sourcebook initiative to increase earthquake preparedness and recovery strategies throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.


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Human Rights Public Education Exhibition

Visual communication campaign on human rights in commemoration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary.



UNICEF: Sharing Digital Stories in the Developing World

Providing platforms that enable youth journalist groups to connect about critical world issues and interact with other youth via easily accessible technology.



Project Concern International (PCI): Tijuana Mobile Health Outreach Clinic

Integrated solutions for mobile healthcare operations, as well as communications strategies to support mobile clinic outreach in Tijuana, Mexico.



Flintridge Operating Foundation: Gang Violence Prevention Campaign

Communication strategies to promote positive messages and empower disenfranchised youth.



United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Safe Motherhood Initiative

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.




A Collaboration between Designmatters, The Agency @ Art Center and The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.



American Cancer Society Awareness Campaign

In an effort to raise awareness of cancer in 18-24 year olds, the American Cancer society worked alongside Art Center 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.



International Organization for Migration (IOM) Animated PSA Project

Animated Public Service Announcements developed for the International Organization for Migration and the AIDS Institute addressing HIV/AIDS, Spring 2006



Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) PSA’s

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 Art Center to design and develop anti-drinking Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and an accompanying print campaign for international distribution. Art Center 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.



The Driven Environment in 2015

A Funded Educational Project Sponsored by Johnson Controls Interiors, Fall 2004.



Millennium Development Goals PSA Commissions

At the center of the partnership between Art Center 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.



Toys as Tools for Peaceful Conflict Resolution

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 Art Center 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.



American Red Cross PSA

Art Center 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.


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