On campuses across the country,

interdisciplinary student teams collaborate with faculty, staff, and community leaders to address challenges in their local communities. DFA uses design thinking for positive impact.

Our tools, model, and coaching instill community, encourage creativity, and build student capacity to take on any challenge. Together, we use design as a force for good.


Local Teams Create Positive Impact


Tackling challenges with local partners


Generating solutions with mentors 



Putting ideas into practice 

It's a unique approach to social challenges - and it works.


Where We Work

Design for America is proudly housed at Northwestern University. Student-led studios are currently on 29 college and university campuses around the country, hosting 125 teams with over 1000 volunteer members, mentors, and community leaders. Studio members share ideas, resources, and best practices, while being supported by a network of more than 9,000 partners and fans.

Don't see a studio nearby?

Our Impact


students engaged


projects launched


secured to scale ideas

Founded at Northwestern University

"Design for America encapsulates the power of design innovation. Students from multiple disciplines come together to address real problems using design thinking to create impact. It benefits everyone."

- Julio M. Ottino, Dean, McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University

Our Partners

DFA is possible in part because of the generous support from: 



DFA Spring 2016 Project Gallery

DFA Spring 2016 Project Gallery

June 10, 2016

This past year, DFA students, mentors, and community members have collaborated to accomplish some truly amazing things through the DFA design innovation process. From educating liver transplant patients about their newly acquired diabetes to diverting clothes and other goods from the landfill, DFAers worked on a huge range of meaningful, local, and scalable projects. Check … Read More

Talking Design and Social Impact on Big Shoulders

Talking Design and Social Impact on Big Shoulders

May 27, 2016

Design for America’s headquarters at Northwestern University, just outside of Chicago, gives us unique access to top leaders in social entrepreneurship and civic technology. We had the pleasure of being interviewed by one of these leaders, Adam Hecktman, for the web series Big Shoulders – which features Chicago’s leaders and drivers of civic technology and … Read More

DFA Welcomes Extraordinary Group of New Studios to the Network

DFA Welcomes Extraordinary Group of New Studios to the Network

May 23, 2016

New studios are now on the map! Supported by our flagship DFA National at Northwestern University. The DFA network is growing with a group of exceptional new studios joining the network! This past year, they’ve worked to build excitement on their campuses, build relationships with their community members, apply the human-centered design process to a … Read More