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Design Ignites Change


Interviews with chairs of fifteen university-level design programs revealed that educators and students were frustrated by the inability to actualize social design concepts due to lack of resources, expertise, and time. Simultaneously, leaders at Adobe were seeking to align with initiatives that would support the next generation of designers and developers, fill gaps in high school art and design programming, increase brand loyalty amongst professional designers, and demonstrate Adobe’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen.


Based on the findings from interviews with university Chairs, Impact Collaborative (in partnership with Worldstudio) began developing Design Ignites Change (DIC), a global platform that would provide tools, guidance, and financial support to university students and educators to actualize design-led solutions to community-based social issues.

Two of Adobe’s goals, originally outside the scope of DIC, were to support high school students and engage professionals, thus an additional component was developed — a high school mentoring program to address 1) cuts in art and design programs in high schools; 2) lack of diversity in the design profession; and 3) a groundswell of professionals interested in giving back.


At launch, 22 universities and eight high schools were committed to the DIC program. Through a partnership with AIGA (the professional association for design), mentors were engaged for the high-school component.

In addition to Adobe, several other corporate partners were engaged to resource the program through its initial year, including Clear Channel, Frog, Google, and Johnson & Johnson.


Through a simple template, case studies of the university and high school projects were added to the DIC website by educators. Grant awardees were showcased. Media partners were engaged. DIC stakeholders received traditional and social media content to share with their internal and external audiences. Over the course of its five-year run, DIC received coverage in hundreds of media outlets, most notably: The New York Times, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, and GOOD.


At the end of DIC’s first year, a survey was deployed to all participating stakeholders (educators, students, partners, etc.). Based on the results, a decision was made to provide additional support for the awardees in the form of access to experts in a variety of areas which increased the impact of the program. An annual survey and series of interviews were conducted at the close of each year.


Over the course of five years, Design Ignites Change engaged educators and students from 85 universities and high schools, as well as over 900 creative professionals in developing and implementing solutions to community-based challenges, globally. Over 700 student-led projects, in over 53 cities and across 7 countries, were supported through the program during its five-year lifespan.

Additionally, through strategic partnerships and promotional campaigns, Adobe’s commitment to Design Ignites Change was visible to an engaged network of over 75,000 educators, students, designers, architects, and business leaders.

strategic partners

AIGA | the professional association for design, American Society of Interior Designers, Clear Channel, Cooper Hewitt, Designers Accord, Johnson & Johnson, Lamar Advertising, Frog Design, Mohawk, Public Architecture, Sappi Fine Paper


CSR strategy & business integration, program design, corporate philanthropy, design & social change, education, global, human rights, research, stakeholder & community engagement, strategic partnerships, impact measurement, messaging & communications



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