Graphic Design Colleges in Johannesburg

Best Graphic Design Colleges in Johannesburg


Johannesburg, the pulsating heart of South Africa’s economy, is also a vibrant canvas for the art of graphic design. In this city, where creativity intersects with cultural diversity, the graphic design colleges in Johannesburg stand as lighthouses guiding the next wave of visual communicators. Institutions like the University of Johannesburg, Greenside Design Center, and Inscape Design College offer more than just education; they are the crucibles where artistry and innovation are forged into careers. These graphic design colleges in Johannesburg are not just shaping skilled designers; they are sculpting the visual voices that will narrate Africa’s stories to the world.

Graphic Design Colleges in Johannesburg

University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is a prestigious institution that offers a rich and multifaceted Graphic Design program through its Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA). This program is renowned for its dynamic approach to visual communication and its commitment to producing creative thinkers and problem solvers who can change our reality with powerful visuals.

UJ’s Graphic Design program is structured to use design as a means of communication, where the work produced embodies the individual’s ideologies, philosophies, and methodologies. With a focus on a range of design methods, processes, and techniques, students create professional communication designs, such as advertising campaigns, posters, books, magazines, corporate identity programs, packaging, apps, and websites, both individually and as members of creative teams.

The program is designed to intelligently apply design thinking, resulting in life-enhancing outcomes. Students are prepared for multidisciplinary creative careers in an ever-evolving design world, with graduates employed nationally and internationally in various fields, including government, science, IT, banking, and digital design. They are trained to design logos, app user interfaces, social media posts, packaging, murals, websites, brochures, magazines, illustrations, and infographics.

University of Johannesburg’s Department of Graphic Design offers a Bachelor of Arts in Design, which specializes in Communication Design. The facilities provided by the university include six spacious studios, a computer lab with the latest high-end graphics computers, and access to the Faculty’s Fabrication Lab with 3D printers and Virtual Reality generators. The award-winning department accepts a select few candidates and keeps class sizes relatively small to give each student the resources and one-on-one time they need to advance in the discipline and their interests.

Career opportunities for graduates are vast, with the ability to enter a communication design career by working in design studios, marketing consultancies, branding and advertising agencies, and for newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Employment can also be found as an in-house designer for companies or state-supported institutions, or graduates can choose to freelance or start their own graphic design business.

In essence, the University of Johannesburg’s Graphic Design program is a gateway to a world where design is not just an aesthetic choice but a powerful tool for change. It prepares students to become leaders in the field, ready to tackle the complexities of the design industry and make a lasting impact on society. The program’s founder, Professor Bahia Shehab, succinctly captures the essence of UJ’s graphic design undergraduate program, highlighting the unique blend of creativity, critical thinking, and practical skills that students can expect to learn.

Greenside Design Center

Greenside Design Center (GDC) in Johannesburg is a specialized design college that has been nurturing creative talent since 1987, celebrating over 35 years of commitment to design education. The center offers a range of qualifications in graphic design, including a Higher Certificate in Graphic Design (NQF5), a BA Degree in Graphic Design (NQF7), and a BA Honours in Graphic Design (NQF8), catering to students at different stages of their educational journey.

The BA Degree in Graphic Design at GDC is designed to develop students into competent and employable designers with a specialization in print-based communication. The program emphasizes the ability to form, create, and rationalize both design and theoretical arguments, as well as the ability to implement and critique print-based design processes. This comprehensive approach ensures that students are well-prepared for the professional world, capable of producing high-quality work that communicates effectively and resonates with audiences.

GDC’s focus is on producing highly-skilled, innovative, and confident designers who can professionally critique and execute any design task. Students learn critical industry-required skills and the industry-standard software suite, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign, with access to a 1-year student license. Additionally, they receive a free Office 365 Education A1 license for the duration of their studies.

The college boasts specialized labs, including the MakersLab and VRLab, which give students the chance to see their designs and ideas become a reality. The Makers Lab allows for hands-on experience with various materials and techniques, while the VRLab offers exposure to the latest in virtual reality technology. These facilities provide an environment where students can experiment and innovate, pushing the boundaries of traditional graphic design.

GDC also provides industry exposure through events like the annual design showcase and Date Night, where potential industry partners are invited to view student work. This, along with job placement assistance through the college’s industry network and online recruitment portal, ensures that students have the best possible start to their careers.

In summary, Greenside Design Center stands as a beacon of excellence in graphic design education in Johannesburg, offering a nurturing environment where students can develop their skills, creativity, and professional acumen to become leaders in the field of visual communication.

Inscape Design College

Inscape Design College in Johannesburg offers a transformative Bachelor of Design specialising in Graphic Design program that equips students for professional careers in visual design. This comprehensive program encompasses a wide range of skills and knowledge in visual communication design, interaction design, and motion graphics, preparing students to create meaningful, relevant, and captivating messages and visual engagements.

The curriculum at Inscape is grounded in principles of sustainability, ethics, social responsibility, and circular economy principles, addressing challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students are encouraged to think critically, explore innovative design solutions, and understand the profound impact their work can have on individuals, communities, and the world at large. The program fosters a holistic understanding of design, urging students to consider the ethical implications of their creative choices and to align their work with principles that promote sustainability and social responsibility.

Working and building upon the comprehensive foundation laid down by the Bachelor of Design which specializes in Graphic Design at Inscape, the modules offered in the final year to the students provide an opportunity to apply their acquired skills and knowledge in a transformative manner. The capstone project is the culmination of the program, where students solve complex problems through extensive research, design thinking, and practical application of skills. They also develop a signature graphic design focus within the capstone project, refining visual design, conceptual thinking, and typographic skills.

The integration of business studies into the curriculum prepares students for real-world challenges, exploring circular design and sustainable development goals within a business context. The Inscape Way ensures that students are immersed in a comprehensive knowledge base, covering in-depth exploration of visual communication design, interaction design, and motion graphics.

The program details include three years of full-time study, NQF level 7, eight sessions per week, each lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes, with an additional 2.5 hours of independent study per session. Continuous project-based assessment and digital and print portfolio submissions in the second and third year are part of the program structure. Moreover, 240 hours of Work-integrated Learning must be completed in the third year, providing students with valuable industry experience.

In essence, Inscape Design College’s Bachelor of Design specialising in Graphic Design is more than just a qualification—it is a journey that transforms students into conscientious and innovative professionals, ready to thrive in the dynamic field of graphic design.

The Academic Institute of Excellence (AIE)

The Academic Institute of Excellence (AIE) in Johannesburg is a beacon of innovation and quality education in the field of graphic design. AIE offers a comprehensive Graphic Design & Visual Communication program that caters to students seeking to master the fundamentals and advance to specialized media design. The program is known for its modern technological approach and excellence in delivery, ensuring that students are well-prepared for the evolving demands of the design industry.

AIE’s curriculum is designed to provide a strong foundation in graphic design principles while also encouraging students to explore their creativity and develop their unique visual language. The program covers a wide range of topics, including interactive multimedia, web design, digital media marketing, game design, and 3D visualization, rendering, and animation. This diverse offering enables students to gain a holistic understanding of graphic design and its applications in various media.

The institute prides itself on its innovative approach to education, blending traditional design techniques with cutting-edge technology. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and software, allowing them to bring their ideas to life and stay ahead of industry trends. AIE’s commitment to hands-on learning means that students are not just learning about design; they are actively engaging in the design process from day one.

AIE’s Graphic Design & Visual Communication program is structured to ensure that students are industry-ready upon graduation. The program includes practical projects and real-world challenges that simulate the professional environment. Students are encouraged to think critically and strategically, developing solutions that are not only visually appealing but also effective in communicating messages to target audiences.

Graduates of AIE’s graphic design program are equipped with the skills to pursue careers in various sectors, including advertising agencies, design studios, publishing houses, and as freelance designers. The institute’s focus on excellence and student success is reflected in the quality of its graduates, who are known for their technical proficiency, creative flair, and strategic thinking.

In summary, the Academic Institute of Excellence offers a dynamic and forward-thinking graphic design program that empowers students to become leaders in the field of visual communication. With a curriculum that balances theory and practice, AIE prepares its students to make a significant impact in the design world and beyond.

Ending Notes

As we conclude our exploration of Johannesburg’s graphic design colleges, we are left with a vivid picture of a city that is not only the economic powerhouse of South Africa but also a thriving center of artistic and educational excellence. The institutions we’ve journeyed through are more than mere buildings; they are vibrant communities where creativity is cultivated, skills are honed, and futures are forged.

From the comprehensive programs at the University of Johannesburg to the specialized offerings of the Greenside Design Center, and the innovative curriculum at Inscape Design College, each institution contributes to the rich mosaic of Johannesburg’s educational landscape. These colleges are not just shaping the designers of tomorrow; they are shaping the future of visual communication in South Africa and beyond.

As students emerge from these halls, equipped with the tools of the trade and a vision for the future, they carry with them the spirit of Johannesburg—a spirit characterized by resilience, diversity, and boundless creativity. They are ready to take their place in the world of design, to tell new stories, and to create visual experiences that will captivate and inspire. The journey through Johannesburg’s graphic design colleges is a testament to the city’s role as a beacon of hope and innovation in the world of design. 

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