This paper focuses on developing growth mindset attitudes in first year design students. A successful design process is built on practice, struggles, growth, mistakes, and failures; a growth mindset influences students’ positive attitudes and approaches towards those building blocks of successful design. It is not only necessary for a seamless transition into higher degree design courses but also fundamental for students’ ongoing learning success within their degree and their professional practice after exiting university. This study looks for effective strategies that can be embedded in courses to help first year students develop and cultivate a growth mindset. It may seem that design students can absorb the culture of such key elements to success – making mistakes and seeing them as a positive stepping-stone towards their own mastery – from their lecturers, studio teachers and tutors. However, many students in their first year design degree, when asked about their attitudes towards setbacks in our exploratory study, indicated that they view struggle as an indication of “not belonging”, challenges as a sign of “not being good enough”, and efforts as “something for people without natural talent”. As such mindsets are likely to hinder success, it is essential that we do better to embed a design culture in our students’ education that thrives on learning from mistakes and struggles. Carol Dweck’s (2006) research on the psychology of mindsets and motivation provides an important foundation in this study, shedding light on why and how widespread such limiting attitudes are.