Where to study graphic design in South Africa

posted in: Study Design | 261

So you want to be a graphic designer and don’t know where to start? Well back in the day when I decided to study graphic design there weren’t many design schools to choose from, but today you have a choice of independent schools, colleges, universities and universities of technology. You can do a short course, diploma or even a degree.

Graphic design is a great occupation! So to help you begin, here is a list of design schools in South Africa. To assist future students I have added a school rating system. Please give the schools listed a fair and honest rating.

Independent Schools & College

AAA School of Advertising

Artshub Institute

Cape Town Creative Academy (CTCA)


CTI Education Group

  • See Website for locations
  • BA Graphic Design (MGI)
  • www.cti.co.za


Design School Southern Africa (DSSA)

friends of design

Greenside Design Center

Inscape Design College

  • Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town
  • Graphic Design Diploma or Degree
  • www.inscape.co.za

Prestige Academy

Red and Yellow Graphic Design

Rosebank College

Style Design College

Vega School of Brand Leadership

  • Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town
  • BA Degree in Brand Building and Management
  • www.vegaschool.com


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

North West University

University of Johannesburg

  • Johannesburg
  • Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture
  • www.uj.ac.za

University of Pretoria

University of Stellenbosch

Universities of Technology

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Central University of Technology

Tshwane University of Technology

Vaal University of Technology

  • Vanderbijlpark
  • Department of Visual Arts and Design
  • www.vut.ac.za

Short Courses


Pixel Craft

261 Responses

  1. Hi Erica

    My daughter is in matric this year. She is set on studying interactive graphic design. We are based in Pretoria but she does not mind going to Cape Town as Stellenbosch has such a lovely student culture. . Our choices currently are: Stellenbosch Academy, University of Stellenbosch, University of Pretoria and Cape Town Creative Academy. Based on your criteria which of these ones will you recommend. Isn’t the universities too academic with too little practical exposure? What does the industry and potential employers prefer.
    Thanks a mil!

  2. Hi Erica. We are suppliers of all art supplies that’s required by Artist and Students. We are called The Paintbox Fineart and Graphic Design Supplies and is based in Durban only. We have been supplying most institutions in Durban with First Year Kits for their students for the past twelve years. We stock only branded items as used by the industry. I have been advised by a lot of parents that had they been aware of us when registering their children at the various institutions, it would made life much easier and cheaper in terms of purchasing their child’s stationery requirements for the year. Thought it will be of assistance to all visiting your site. Any enquiries can be sent to adrianlazarus@hotmail.com

  3. I am now in grade 11 an seriously thinking about studying interactive design but I am very worried about my subjects that I chose. I took cat, consumers and geography because my school dose not give visual arts. I am very creative even if I have to say so myself but my drawing is not amazing as those you see in the internet. My dream is to study at the open window school of visual communication. I would like some more information about what you must be able to do to become a interactive designer and if they will accept me with my current subjects.

    • Hi Bernadt, thanks for your comment. The Interactive design course at Open Window is an excellent choice. Their Admissions Criteria are as follows:

      • A National Senior Certificate (issued from 2008) or a Grade 12 certificate.
      • For Diploma studies: 15 (or p-count of at least 10).
      • English is the language of instruction at The Open Window and is a required subject with a minimum APS of 4 (50%).
      • Even though Art or art-related subjects are not a requirement, acquiring skills in drawing is of paramount importance for students to pass all levels.
      • All applicants must show creative potential, above-average problem-solving skills, basic drawing competency and observational abilities.

      For more info about admission requirements, please see Study Graphic Design: Admission Requirements

  4. Ilza Olivier

    Need more info on graphic design courses please.


    Hi Erica – I remember spotting starting salaries for Graphic designers on your blog, but when I checked again, I couldn’t find it. Could you please inform me what the starting salary (junior) is. This is obviously not a solid and confirmed figure but I would like to know more or less. Thank you for your blog. Learn a lot from it. Regards, Linda

  6. hey there…im doing matric this year and i am interested in doing Graphic designing as a career but im not sure if i qualify with the subjects that i am doing (Biology,Pure Maths,Business studies Geography and English)…is it possible?

  7. If you are in Durban and you are looking for short, practical courses check out http://www.pixelcrafttraining.co.za. We offer courses in Graphic Design, Desktop Publishing, Web Design for Graphic Designers,Photography, 3D Animation and intro to Game Design.

  8. Hi Erica

    Do you know of any other Graphic Design short courses?

  9. Goodmorning.

    My daughter has just moved to Johannesburg and she wants to study Graphic Design. We stay near Edenvale. I wanted to ask if you might know any institutions that is close to home and she can study graphic design?

    Thank you

  10. Absoulut3 Zer0

    I would like to know if the Bachelor Of Arts (Culture And Arts) Multimedia Studies: Computer-Generated Multimedia at Unisa is still being offered?
    I am currently at the verge of finishing my B.Tech in Electrical Engineering. I have done Programming and Software Engineering modules (Agile Development) throughout my course. I have developed a hidden passion for Game Development. I have created many games in Java and wish to extend my knowledge of game development. I have looked at institutes like Boston, Varsity etc. but those institutes are not as advanced as Unisa (With reference to OpenGL, C++, AI and other Graphic Modelling modules offered at Unisa).
    Please advise if this course is still running at Unisa.

  11. hi Erica.my son wants to study graphic design at CTU .is this institution registered .pls help

  12. Elrie Pieterse

    Hi Erica
    My daughter is in Gr12 now and we went to the Openwindo’s openday last year. She loved it so much and would desperately want to go study there. We also visited Poch Univeraty but she liked OpenWindow mucn more.
    My question to you is: What other institute on your list would compare the best to Open window and why?
    We live in Swakopmund Namibia and have to consider that fact when we send our children off to university.

    Open window is in PTA where most of our students go to Stellenboch or Capetown.

    What is your opinion of Open Window?
    We cannot apply only for one institute

    Thank You
    Elrie Pieterse

    • Hi Elrie, thank you for your comment. I have only heard good things about Open Window and I know they have a very good reputation with excellent results in student awards and are one of South Africa’s best-known and respected art and design higher education institutions. For other schools with a good reputation you can try AAA School of Advertising Cape Town, Stellenbosch Academy of Design & Photography, North-West University or Vega School of Brand Leadership.

  13. Elrie Pieterse

    Thank you..
    We are so confused there are so many different causes to study. What is the difference between Visual Communication, Communication Design, Interaction Design and Multimedia Design. Do you have to study a spesific course to be one of the above or is there a course that you can do that will cover a hole lot of careers where you can do everything.
    When we visited Open Window thy told us that their students can do a wide spectrum of jobs because they are trained that way. Do we look at the careers first and then decide what to study or do we look at the courses first and see what employments thy give? In the olden days it only used to be art , and that was it!

    • Hi Elrie, sorry for the late reply. Visual Communication, Visual Arts and Communication Design are the same as Graphic Design. They all include the study of the various Aspects of Graphic Design, so on completion of the diploma or degree you can go into Advertising, Packaging, Illustration etc (see my post for more details on the Aspects of Graphic Design). Interaction Design and Multimedia Design focus more on digital media, ie 3D animation, Game Design, Web Design, Video and Sound Editing. Some courses I have listed do include Multimedia Design in their program, but mostly if you want to specialise in digital media it would be best to rather do a degree in Multimedia. Hope that helps!

  14. How much are corses

  15. Hi!
    I matriculated in 2013, taking a gap year in The Netherlands this year. I’m keen for a creative career. Have been looking at institutions around Cape Town to do a photography course. Any chance you can give some advice on which on to choose?! Many of them only offer a certificate…

  16. I Erica
    have graduated with diploma in graphic design from Ghana will like to feather my course in one of the universities in South Africa in animation and motion graphics

  17. Hi Erica
    i want to know if you guy do scenic designs, been looking for scenic design school in south africa

    • Hi James, I have searched for schools which offer scenic/set design but I can’t find any either… I think you should search for a Set Designer in South Africa and ask where would be the best place to study. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  18. Hi Erica, I came across your blog whilst doing some research.

    My Partner currently wants to do Web Development, you seem to know an awful lot of where to go ect.

    Do you know if Web Development is a Diploma / higher?
    Could you help me with some good institutions (The preffered ones) In JHB/KZN and Cape town? I would really appreciate the help, there are so many courses but he wants something real behind his name.

  19. Hi!
    I want to take a design course but metriculated with a diploma, will this matter and if so is there courses I can take before to qualify.

    Thank you

    • Hi Alli, thank you for your comment. There are some schools which offer a Bridging Course in Graphic Design – have a look at Design Plus offered at Greenside Design Center College of Design.

  20. Hi Erica,

    I want to do my BA Honors degree in visual communications. I was planning to go to Open Window but i’m moving down to Cape Town end of this year. Any suggestions?

    Thank you for your site.


  21. HI Erica,
    Are their any online courses in Graphic design you can suggest. We use graphic design in our business. I work on Coreldraw and Photoshop but would really like to expand my knowledge. At the moment it will be easier to do this online, but I do not trust all the online study sites. Thank you!

  22. Hi Erica,

    This is a great forum – well done!

    I already have a Diploma in Graphic Design but I would like to get my degree in Graphic Design. As I work full time I need to find an online degree course and I only wish to study the modules that lead to degree level. Any advice or recommendations would be mush appreciated.

    Thank you. Sandra

    • Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment. I don’t know of any online courses for a Degree in Graphic Design. Most Universities of Technology offer a BTech degree in Graphic Design and give the option to complete the course in two years part time. This may be your best option. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  23. HI
    i finished matric in 2013 and i have been looking for a self study course in Graphic Design but i just cant seem to find the perfect place, what is the best and cheapest place to go to. i live in Pretoria, South Africa and i need to find a close and cheap place to get my studies done. Whats your advice for me??

    and Much Appreciated

  24. Dear Madam

    My son, 17 years old want to study graphic design (animation). We are staying in Pretoria. We visited CTI, Inscape and Open Window. Could you advise us if which of the 3 is the best and/or alternative institutions like Tukkies or TUT. I do not have any knowledge re careers in this field. Therefore, if you would be so kind to give us some advise re the institution you would recommend.

    Kind regards

    Johan du Plooy

    • Hi Johan, if your son wants to specialise in Animation, I think Open Window or Inscape will be a better choice.

  25. Hi Erica do you know which university of technologies are good?

  26. Hi Erica,

    My story is very funny but true, after completing my matric in 2008, i went on to study at the aaa school of advertising in Randburg. Then after my parents suddenly decided I went to DSSA for a year. Although i didnt pass all my subject especialy theory i couldnt go back due to financial constraints. Now that my sister is willing to assist, will i still be credited at one of the above mentioned schools or am I going to start from scratch? What would you rather recomend I do.?


    • Hi Sisa, you should be able to get credits for the subjects you passed, just confirm with the school before you apply.

  27. Choices

    Hi Erica,
    I’m considering a serious career change…; however full fime work is interfering currently :) During my search for ‘graphic design courses in south africa’ one of the options mentioned graphic design academy…online course with certification.

    Do you know anything about this? Quality; material covered; etc. Would this be comprehensive enough as a ‘starter course’ to build a portfolio and is it recognised as credible in the industry?

    Thank you.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Salome, sorry I don’t know anything about the course you mentioned. But if you are looking for a starter course, you should have a look at my post Where to Study Design Online?. Also have a look at online courses in digital marketing and advertising offered at Red and Yellow.

      • Thank you Erica for your speedy and helpful reply.
        Much appreciated.
        Kind regards,

  28. bwambale baswiri

    i would like to know whether there is scholarship at your school.
    thank you
    yours bwambale baswiri.

  29. Hello Erica,

    I don’t know if you saw this yet but as a class project our Graphic Design Course students at Pixel Craft Training have put together this animation. It has been featured on East Coast Radio and is racking up a nice amount of views on youtube :


    Hope you enjoy it!

  30. Hi Erica,

    Which of the above schools would you personally rate as the best with regard to reputation (both locally and internationally), as well as, the quality of their education?

    kind regards,

  31. HI Erica,

    your website has been extremely helpful to me – thank you! based on the rating, (and location) i decided to contact Arts Hub Institute, and was quite dissappointed. firstly, the website isnt very easy to navigate, but upon calling them, was very unhappy with the way my inquiry was handled. such a pity, especially since they have such a high rating.

    on a different note, i see that you also recommend Get Smarter – i have studied with them previously, and have recently re-enrolled for a different course. i am very happy with their teaching method and would definitely recommend them

    Thank You Erica!


  32. tsholofelo

    Hi erica , i have a diploma in graphic design and web development from rosebank college and i would love to do my degree in graphic design but part time, which school would o recommend for me?

    • Hi Tsholofelo, sorry but I am not aware of any schools which offers a part time Degree in Graphic Design. Have a look at the BTech: GRAPHIC DESIGN Degree at Tshwane University of Technology. Requirements for this one year course includes a National Diploma: Graphic Design or a relevant qualification, with at least an average of 60% in the final year of the National Diploma.

  33. Hi Erica what do you think of DSSA cause my daughter studied at Uj for two years and she wants to study at DSSA now. She is doing Graphic design. Thanks

    • Hi Pumla, like UJ DSSA also has a good reputation. I think it’s a matter of personal choice.

  34. Hannatjie

    hi Erica

    My daughter is 14jr old and the other day said that she wants to be a graphic designer. What subjects to be taken when she is in grade 9?


  35. Hello Erica,
    I am from Nigeria and i am looking for a good design institute that has a one year or at most two year programme. any good choice please?

  36. Andre Visser

    Hi Erica, we stay in Wellington and my daughter would like to do BA Graphic Design at CTI Durbanville. We visit the campus and the smaller classes and environment is a plus. Any other options, considering she will function better in smaller classroom environment?

  37. Hi there,my daughter finished here matric in 2015 she will turn 16 years of age but she really wanted to study graphic design but i would like to know where i can get a bursary or any financial aid to pursue her career,so do you have any places where i can obtain more info on bursaries and places of study .

  38. Andile Mlaba

    Hi my name is Andile Mlaba and i reside in johannesburg.Im looking at doing a short course on graphic design particularly being able to use coral draw programme on computer.


  39. Hi Erica,

    Thank you for all the info, can you help me with an opinion on the Style Design College? It’s international but has a degree programme and slightly confused? Also is there a part time BTech diploma in Johannesburg?

  40. Brian Gallagher

    Hello Erica
    My son is very keen on the Greenside Design Centre to study graphic design.
    Can you comment on how do they compare with University of Pretoria and Wits?

  41. Deidre Groenewald

    Hi Erica I really need help, I’m working full time and are desperate in need for a proper diploma course in graphic design, most of the distance learning/online courses in South Africa does not present the course in full, maybe only the software or the degrees like overseas is very expensive. I didn’t have art in school and really starting from scratch but I did a short course in web and graphic design but could not finished. Long story short I’m looking for a Diploma course,
    can you maybe help.
    programs etc.

  42. Thabiso Spiro

    Hi Erica. I live in Pretoria and im intrested in Graphic Design. Im completing my matric this year and non of the subjects i do relate with art or design ( parents did not make an exception at first and they only accepted this year that its what i want ). Which institution around Gauteng is good and would take me even if i didnt do any subjects relating to design or art?

  43. Maxine Naidoo


    I am currently looking for arts and design schools in South Africa. I know that Open Window has a more practical approach to their works and that’s what I like about it but I am also looking for places in Cape Town and even the University of Pretoria. Between UP and OW, which do you suggest is best?


    • Hi Maxine, both the University of Pretoria and Open Window are excellent choices! In Cape Town, you should have a look at AAA School of Advertising, Cape Town Creative Academy (CTCA) or Red and Yellow Graphic Design.

  44. Charlene Ryhlander Hermant

    Hi, can you please advise me where the best place would be to do a course or diploma part time for Packaging Design – I am based in Bloubergstrand in Cape Town

  45. Chantelle Versteeg

    Hi there! Just read through this, and just want to inform you about CTI. They offer a 3 year BA Graphic Design degree and they really aren’t too bad! i’m busy doing my first year and absolutely loving it. They have a campus in Durbanville and in Clairemont, Western Cape.
    Your work is amazing, by the way :)

  46. tristen parker

    im studying graphic design at creative arts college doing my 2nd year but im moving to jhb so i would like to know where would be the best place to finish my 3rd year?

  47. Ifeanyi Anagor

    Hello Erica,

    I am from Nigeria and am looking to develop my skills in graphic and web design. Please i would like to know more about keyline.co.za in durban. What do you think.


Leave a Reply