Designmatters, Art Center College of Design


As an educational department and Concentration at Art Center, Designmatters partners with every discipline to focus on art and design education with a social impact agenda and "real-world" outcomes.

The work is implemented through a series of unique partnerships and alliances with global development agencies, government groups, academic institutions, local and national nonprofits, and leading industries.

Through Designmatters, students are invited to apply their talents, creativity and toolbox of skills to address some of the most troubling humanitarian and social challenges of our time with empathy, discipline, and unwavering optimism to effect change.


Art Center College of Design


Year Established:

Mariana Amatullo
Co-Founder & Vice President

Elsa Ruffino
Director, Designmatters Department

Helen Cahng
Coordinator, Designmatters Department


University professor of political science and international law expert speaks to a multi-disciplinary design studio embarking on a public education exhibition to underscore and visually translate the Articles of the Declaration of Human Rights, on the eve of the document's 60th anniversary.
Studio prototypes aiming to provide visually-based health education materials for non-literate nomadic communities living in northeastern Kenya (1st photo) are deployed in the field by partnering international development organization healthcare workers (2nd photo).
Product Design Faculty member investigates one artisan's production at a hand-woven textile-based women's cooperative in Guatemala's Lake Atitlan region, where the lake's bacteria outbreaks have damaged the tourism-driven economy relied upon for decades by local populations.