DFA Local Campus Studios and National Leadership Studio build student capacity to take on the key issues of our time. 

Local Campus Studios

Design for America Campus Studios embody DFA’s mission: building design innovation leadership while making a meaningful social impact. Students from interdisciplinary teams work with local community partners to tackle pressing, real-world challenges. Teams work throughout the school year on projects that last anywhere between eight weeks to a year. Studios are supported by professional experts who provide mentorship, faculty members who connect students to university-resources, and the DFA network which offers instruction and best practices. Students prepare for a future in the field of innovation, build life-long friendships, and help change their communities for the better.

“Design for America helped me realize what I actually want to do for the rest of my life.”

Melissa Ngu, Cognitive Science & Human Computer Interaction, DFA UC San Diego

“DFA has become core to these students’ college experience, doing social good and learning a ton about leadership.”

Erin Liman, Entrepreneurship Coach and Experience Strategist, Innovation is Social LLC, DFA Mentor

“Adobe is proud to support the students of Design for America. We are inspired by their application of Adobe Creative Cloud outside of the classroom, in their endeavors to create local and social impact.”

Georgie May, Senior Marketing Manager, Adobe, DFA Sponsor

National Leadership Studio

National Leadership Studio is the flagship five-day conference that brings together over 110 DFA student leaders representing 36+ campuses from across the DFA network to learn and practice the design innovation process and build leadership skills. Held each year at Northwestern University, the event prepares students to return to their campuses ready to lead, innovate, and respond to key social challenges in their communities.

"DFA participants make an impact. They may implement a solution locally – or become entrepreneurs to find ways to scale their ideas and solve the problem they set out to address."

- Paul Gudonis, CEO, Myomo, Inc. and Member, McCormick Advisory Council, Northwestern University

 Our Design Innovation Process

process icons separate-01

a meaningful social challenge

process icons separate-02

with users and stakeholders

process icons separate-03

the challenge

process icons separate-04

many solutions

quick prototypes

process icons separate-06

with real-world users

Use Our Tools

DFA has developed a series of methods and tools to help interested students, faculty members, or mentors utilize our human-centered design process to tackle local social challenges. We welcome using and sharing these tools freely, but we ask that the Creative Commons license be respected.

Good luck! We can't wait to see the great things you do. 


DFA Process Guide 

A comprehensive blueprint of the DFA human-centered design process ... Learn More


1-Day Design Challenge

Details coming soon! 


Mock Ups

Details coming soon! 


DFA Scoping Wheel 

A helpful visual to identify social challenges to tackle that are meaningful, accessible, and scalable ... Learn More