DFA's response to COVID-19.

Design for America has always focused on using design for social good. Join our efforts and support the community.

The global community is facing unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 virus—practicing social distancing, marshaling medical equipment, and helping friends and family adjust. But as a network with a shared vision of hope, DFAers have incredible strength to collaborate and use our abilities to create a better future for all.

DFAers are empowered to do more: We are fostering connection and inspiration, navigating disruption in the workplace, and fighting the crisis in our local communities. This page will grow as we develop more initiatives for support. Together, we can make a difference.

Connecting the Network

DFA Sparks Series: Weekly Webinars

DFA brings the curiosity of the Network right to your living room through the Sparks Series. Speakers cover a range of topics, including bringing design to design-allergic organizations, design and healthcare in times of COVID-19, tech’s role in combating loneliness, and more!

DFA Pen Pal Program

DFAers across the nation are connecting via email, video, and other digital means in the new Pen Pal Program. Stay connected with the Network, make a new friend, and grow your online community with DFA!

Navigating Disruption

Remote Collaboration Resources

DFAers are pooling their resources to help one another adjust to working from home, learn digital tools, and provide relief to local communities affected by COVID-19. Add your own tools to this living document.

Celebrate DFA Graduating Seniors

Universities across the country are making the call to cancel in-person commencement ceremonies. Email Alden to share a note of congratulation with 400+ graduating seniors this semester!

MURAL Mondays

Whether you're a student or professional, Mural can help you and your team with remote collaboration. Join Mural Mondays to get your questions answered from DFA Fellow Ross!

DFAers take Direct Action

The Emergency Design Collective | DFA Board Member Devika Patel

The Emergency Design Collective's goal is to generate solutions that can be immediately helpful and implemented by people, patients, and healthcare providers as we find new ways of working, caring for others, and accessing critical tools in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Shout out to Devika Patel who is helping with their mission. Read about their projects, ranging from how to make at-home masks, prep for emergency room visits, and more.

re:3d Prints Medical Supplies | DFA Alumni Jeric Bautista

re:3d is joining forces in Texas to locally produce, donate, and distribute 3D printed face shields, PPEs, hand-free door pulls, as well as release all of the 3D-printable open-sourced designs they've created. Shout out to Jeric Bautista for his work on this incredible project! Join the open call for volunteers to help produce and distribute essential protective gear to those in need.

Sewing Masks for MakeHeaven | DFA Alumni Ellen Su

DFA Alum Ellen Su is volunteering her time to sew masks for MakeHeaven. A quick tip: when making fabric masks, put a colored or patterned cloth on the outside to help users know which side goes in and which out. All the masks are donated to hospitals and local organizations serving vulnerable populations.

Want more? Here are instructions on how to make your own face mask.

WDO|IBM|DFA COVID-19 Design Challenge

The COVID-19 Design Challenge is a global initiative spearheaded by the World Design Organization (WDO), IBM Design, and Design for America (DFA), bringing over 225 designers together from 33 countries to address some of the most urgent and important challenges posed by the Coronavirus. Through this effort, DFA students, alumni, and fans contributed their DFA design thinking skills, partnership-building experience with local non-profits, and collaborative spirit to create relevant and useful solutions for addressing issues stemming from the pandemic. Many thanks to our DFA participants in this pilot initiative: Glory Dang, Katie Smiley, Cyndi Chen, Ruby James McCafferty, Alex Sher, Ellen Su, Izzi Cain, Jillian Cai, Debra Dailey, Hanna Oh, Mayu Tobin-Miyaji, Rob Rausch, Vanessa Corbett, Victoria Long.

Patient Communication with VitalTalk Project

Team Leads: Ruby James McCafferty, Katie Smiley
Members: Emily Branch, Jillian Cai, Jane Degpen, Arun Joseph, Ellen Su, Daniela Vegas

"The goal of design shouldn’t always be to identify a completely novel idea or build something from scratch. Especially in a time of crisis, it should be about having the greatest impact; amplifying what’s already working and supporting those who are most equipped to carry it out....

"I owe DFA a pretty big debt because participating got me connected to my first job and set me on a path for design research I otherwise would not have known existed. My first DFA experience (9 years ago – woah) was the first time I really had to stay calm, creative, and results-oriented in the face of ambiguity. DFA gave me an initial toolkit that I’ve used to dig myself out of tough decisions and analysis paralysis time and time again. With every new design challenge I’ve taken on since then, my toolbox gets bigger and a little more adaptable.”

Katie Smiley
DFA Alumni, Design Research & Strategy,
Watson Health Imaging, IBM