AIGA and Design Ignites Change join forces to support social innovation

New professional fellowship program offers seed funding and mentoring to creative professionals

Design Ignites Change Fellowship 2013 300NEW YORK—March 5, 2013. In recent years, there has been a powerful shift in the creative industry. Many design and architecture professionals have turned their efforts toward self-initiated work that has the potential for positive social impact. While the recent emergence of a flourishing social design field is a much-needed shift of consciousness for the creative professions, there is still a great deal for practitioners to learn about using their talents in a sustainable way.

“Too often, even the best and most creative social design concepts fall flat at the implementation stage. In many cases the imagined impact is far greater than the actual impact,” said Mark Randall, principal of Worldstudio and co-founder of Design Ignites Change. “As creative professionals learn to transfer their skills from working in service of their clients to working as entrepreneurs or in direct partnership with non-profits and communities, we have found one of the greatest needs to be informed guidance from experienced advisers on how to make their concept a reality.”

A new program developed by Design Ignites Change and AIGA, the professional association for design, aims to address this need: Creative professionals with a concept that has the potential to ignite positive change are invited to apply for a “Design Ignites Change | AIGA Fellowship” by June 7, 2013. Award recipients will receive seed funding to get their projects started, but more importantly they will receive professional guidance and mentoring on how to turn concepts into reality, to support lasting change. The combined funding and mentoring for each recipient is valued at $10,000.

Design has traditionally been a service industry where a client drives the inception and development of a project; this fellowship will support individuals breaking from this mold with an entrepreneurial spirit to initiate their own concepts. This not only helps designers use their skills in new and exciting ways, but also allows an opportunity for fresh, creative passion to be injected into the social sector.

In addition to fostering powerful projects, the fellowship aims to expand the capacity of the design profession working in the field of social innovation. Educating the creative community on how to successfully implement socially-inspired work through case studies of fellowship projects is an important part of the program.

For more information and to download an application, visit

About Design Ignites Change

Design Ignites Change, a collaboration between the Adobe Foundation and Worldstudio, believes that creativity holds enormous power to spark positive social change. We support 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. We currently do this through awards, scholarships, mentoring, fiscal sponsorship and workshops.

About AIGA

AIGA is the professional association for design, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA today serves more than 22,000 members through 67 chapters and 200 student groups throughout the United States. AIGA stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers.

For further information, please contact:
Jennifer Bender, director of communications and marketing
AIGA | the professional association for design