Which qualifications in design are available in South Africa

There are numerous careers in design out there, and an equally large number of  courses on offer for each, but sometimes there isn’t enough information about what each career entails and how to study towards it.

Much like our previous feature that focused on the top STEM degrees in the country and how much they earn you, here we will focus on listing the different design careers available locally and which institutions are offering them.

Graphic Design

As a graphic designer you will create designs for marketing collateral, product illustrations, brand identities and websites using computer software. Here you will merge technical still with artistic ability to create designs that communicate with a desired audience.

This course normally takes up to four years of study and is available in both private and public institutions. Available at University of Johannesburg and other universities across the country.

User Experience (UX) Designer

UX designers are responsible for making websites, mobile applications, software or video games easier to navigate and more intuitive for users to interact with. They study and evaluate how people feel about a particular system and design their product to cater to the needs of the user.

This course is available at the University of Johannesburg under the Digital Media Design course, which takes a minimum of four years.


Photographers utilise their creativity and composition skills alongside their technical expertise to capture photographs that tell a story or document an event. The majority of photographers work with digital cameras and editing software to capture subjects in commercial quality images.

On this course it will require a minimum of three years to be a photographer, this course may be a bit pricey as it requires students to purchase camera equipment. You can study this at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and a variety of private institutions.

Interior Design

In this career you will work with interior spaces to improve the safety, functionality and aesthetic appeal of the area. This job entails selecting colour schemes furniture, flooring, lighting and all other elements of a room or building.

Interior design courses are available at the University of Johannesburg and Tshwane University of technology as well as private institutions and it will take you a minimum of three years to complete.


Here you will be responsible for designing, drawing, making layouts and preparation of photographic sequences which are integrated into multimedia and gaming products. Animation comes in three different prominent forms such as two-dimensional classical hand drawn animation, three-dimensional computer graphics and the stop motion animation.

You can study this course at the Wits School of Arts in the form of a BA in Digital Arts, along with it being available at private institutions.


These people combine the visual and audio materials gathered from various resources and then add into one single combination. The field is concerned with computer controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images, animation, audio and any other media where every type of information can be represented, sorted, transmitted and processed digitally.

You can study Media studies at the University of Witwatersrand with it taking a minimum of three years for this qualification. It is also available at private institutions.

Art Direction

This profession involves working in a variety of settings such as magazines, newspapers internet-based publications and advertising or public relation agencies. They communicate with clients while overseeing project budget and timelines, reviewing and approving all creative materials before presenting to clients.

Available at the Wits School of Arts as a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts qualification.


Advertisers work with agencies to organise campaigns for clients, responsible for selling advertising space or time for media firms. They normally work with sales staff to develop concepts for campaigns, partner with creative teams to produce layouts negotiate contracts and prepare overall campaign budgets.

You will need to study Marketing or Digital Marketing at any public institution or private institution to acquire a qualification in Advertising.

Fashion design

This career involves designing new clothing and accessories, designs are sketched on paper and then colours, materials and textures of the final product are determined. You will study fashion trends by reviewing magazines and attending fashion shows.

You may study this course at public institutions such as Tshwane University of Technology (PDF) and University of Johannesburg, as well as private institutions.

Film and video editing

Use technical software to construct promotional or artistic productions from footage shot by camera operators. Editors work with directors and producers to determine which material is most captivating for their audience and place together scenes. Editing process involves trimming footage down into segments, marking frames for audio and organising raw footage into seamless and polished final product.

You will study a minimum of three years, and at the University of Witwatersrand Arts School you will need to complete a Bachelor of Film and Television degree.

Industrial design

As an industrial designer you will create concepts and designs for manufactured products which includes anything from toys and furniture to cars and smartphones. They bridge the gap between a  great idea and the finished product consumers see on store shelves. Some companies will require that you ensure that the company’s brand is conveyed through the product design as well.

This course is available at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, as well as private institutions.

Motion design

Similar to graphic design, they use digital tools to apply visual effects to videos, games, apps and online animation. They also create some of the special effects on TV shows, movies and cartoons.

For this course you will have to take the Graphic design route where the courses are available in public and private institutions.

Web designer/ developer

Creates web interfaces and website pages for the internet development of a website creating pages, layout and graphics for web pages. They design and develop the navigation design and structure of a site. Make decisions regarding what content is included on a web page.

To acquire this qualification you can study BA in Information Design at University of Pretoria (PDF).

Some of the private institutions offering the above mentioned courses: 

AAA School of Advertising 
Greenside Design Center
Inscape Design College
College of Digital Photography
Vega School
Rosebank College
Varsity College
SAE Institute
Prestige Academy
Oakfields College

[Image -CC 0 Pixabay]


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