Where to study graphic design in South Africa

with 316 Comments

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

Oakfields College

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

Boston City Campus & Business College


Keyline Graphics

Pixel Craft

316 Responses

  1. Gameda Benefeld
    | Reply

    Hi Erica
    My daughter has graduated with a degree in Education from CPUT.She now wants to do a graphic design course but not for 3 years.UCT is offering a short course.Is that advisable and what can you do with it in her situation?

    • Erica
      | Reply

      Hi Gameda, sorry but a short course won’t be enough to get a permanent job in Graphic Design. Your daughter should at least do a one year course, have a look at friends of design.

  2. Danny
    | Reply

    Hello Erica
    Im in a dilemma here, Im considering the e-learning option of Style Design college, it all sounds wonderful, only problem is How do i know for sure if it’s accredited by South africa? I found an article where their Accredited status was stripped a few years ago. This is what their site says :

    Accreditation is an ongoing process as colleges such as SDC strive to improve and add new programs to meet the needs of industry. SDC enjoys accreditations and affiliations with the following bodies below. South African applicants are required to contact these bodies for information on the program accreditation status before applying.

    How am i supposed to contact the SA bodies to verify? I’d really appreciate any help you can offer

    • Erica
      | Reply

      Hi Danny, sorry I am only getting back to you now. Unfortunately I don’t know much about Style Design College, but to find out if they are accredited have a look at the Council on Higher Education website.

    • Grant Kauffman
      | Reply

      Hi Danny
      Qualification and site accreditation or in this case re-accreditation is ongoing (Annual). I concur with Erica with regards to verifying accreditation status at Council on Higher Education. Remember that international accreditation is also an important consideration.

  3. malcolm
    | Reply

    My name is Malcolm I’m 38 years old and would love to get into graphic design. Am I too old and how do I go about doing it. I did a course in 1995-1997 did not pursue it as I went into something else .I am currently residing in Gauteng and I am unemployed.(Where can I get an internhip)

  4. Nikeeta
    | Reply

    Hi Erica,

    I am currently residing in JHB. I have experience and a diploma in photography, but when applying for jobs most need graphics experience as well. I would like to do a course in graphic design and was wondering where are good colleges in JHB?

  5. Mondina Ngandwe
    | Reply

    Hi, I want to does a graphic designing course. I have a full time job staying in Mpumalanga. I did a short course for 3 months. but I am still struggling with coral draw. I do all my designs in Adobe photoshop. I want to upgrade myself. I don’t mind going to joburg everyweekend. I need weekend classes. pls help.

  6. faeez
    | Reply

    Hi Erica,do youby any chance know if the cityvarsity campus is any good?

  7. Ncesh madikiza
    | Reply

    I have a question ,do you have a one year course for Graphi Design, how much the deposit, how much all in all?, how do you pay. I want to start by January 2015.

  8. Caroline
    | Reply

    My name is caroline. Am 18.from Kenya…
    am kindly requesting if you know any best graphic design colleges.
    and their requirements to enter the school as well..

  9. Alicia
    | Reply

    Hi Erica

    I want to study graphic design but unfortunately I cannot do a full 3 year program, Please advise on where I could go and inquire, that will not cost me fortune. What I was thinking is doing all the adobe creative suite courses and apply for an internship, will that be enough to apply and get a proper internship? Alicia

  10. grant
    | Reply

    Hi Erica

    I would like to know how an organisation (vega) could be included in the ranking system which you have in place?

    I look forward to your response.

    kind regards

    Grant Kauffman

    • Erica
      | Reply

      Hi Grant, so sorry I am only getting back to you now. The ranking system was faulty, but I have corrected it now.

  11. Muneeza
    | Reply

    Hello. Do I need an art portfolio for graphic design? I’m getting mixed answers from a lot of universities. I’ve taken Chemistry, English Lang, maths and computer studies in AS.

    • Erica
      | Reply

      Hi Muneeza, thanks for your comment. Each university will specify their own portfolio requirements. Exact briefs of portfolios and entrance assessments will be forwarded to you if your application has met the University’s minimum admission requirements.

  12. Themba
    | Reply

    Hey erica

    I would love to go to the other schools for graphic design but finances are not on my side is rosebank college any good ???

    • sensibly terrible
      | Reply

      1) graphic design is by no means cheap. You will need to meet requirements. Average cost for said course is around R17k to R20k. 2) get a job; study part time. That could help you pay off your fees over the viable period. Otherwise, get someone to loan you money for the course, or, if possible, get a scholarship. Nuff said.

  13. Aviwe
    | Reply

    Hi Erica my name is aviwe i want to know when should i apply if i ddnt apply for graphic design this january?

    • sensibly terrible
      | Reply

      dear aviwe,
      Its a simple case of go-back-to-the-institution-of-choice-and-ask-for-their-future-dates-of-admission. A simple phone call or a quick visit to their web site should suffice.

  14. Ndumiso
    | Reply

    Hi am Ndumiso am 18 years From Durban in South Africa. I want to study the Graphic Design and I’m lost I don’t know where to study Graphic Design. The Graphic Design school that I know they don’t do “games” which is what i want to study i don’t Mind full time or part time if I’m studding what i want.

    • sensibly terrible
      | Reply

      pixelcrafttraining is a good place, i guess. Be careful not to underestimate an institute’s degree of relevance when considering their influence in helping you towards your goal. Graphic design is a simple term with far-reaching capabilities.

  15. Tanya
    | Reply

    Hi I’m interested in the Style Design college graphic design course , I was wondering if you have had any reviews from others about the college , I have emailed them to ask about the accreditation and they say they are not accredited in South Africa as they are an international college. Does that mean that I should do a National degree instead of a international one. Really like that its all online, as I work Fulltime and would still like to get a degree.

    Thanks you for your time

  16. faeez
    | Reply

    Hi,what’s the best places to study graphic design in durban?

    • sensibly terrible
      | Reply

      not a hard question to get answered. Google ‘graphic design courses durban’. Voila

  17. langavi
    | Reply

    Hi am 16 years old and am in grade 11 and i want to become a graphic design so my problem is that i dont know that which course should i study for to become a graphic design

  18. Micaela Namanya
    | Reply

    Hi, thanks for the post. Aside from a two week professional design course at a university, I am a largely self-taught editorial designer (with over 10 years layout (quark/indesign/basic photoshop and ilustrator) experience. I am looking to hone my skills in this area and in art direction but work commitments mean I can’t afford a year of study time. Any suggestions? Much appreciated.

  19. Lungi
    | Reply

    Hi Erika, many thanks for your useful service. My nephew wants to do design (animation) after matric, he is currently in level 1 (grade 9). We are looking for a good art school where he can do visual art/design, do you know of any except mainstream high schools that offer these subjects?

  20. Patricia
    | Reply

    hi.yes I wanna study graphic designing but at moment I m still weighing my option.

  21. George
    | Reply

    Hi Erica

    I initially went to study GD after school at PUK. For some reason I changed my mind and went a different route. Now we are running a small construction business, and starting a commercial crocodile farm, but I still feel I want to make GD a part of my career as well. Where can I study in a distance learning situation?

  22. Carmen Jansen van Rensburg
    | Reply

    I am in Matric this year. I would like to know about you bursaries for 2016.
    Where can I look for a person that will show me the ropes , so that I can be absolutely sure that this is what I should

  23. Nino
    | Reply

    Hi ive just completed a short course graphic and web design. now the institute i was at never even mentioned\assisted me in compiling a portfolio.im currently thinking of pursuing my path in graphics(improving my studies) and im self learing adobe but now a friend advises that i should move into the animation path but im
    not so sure about that..help do you think its a good idea

  24. carien
    | Reply

    Im stressing about my subjects…im gr 11 now and really want to be a graphic designer…my subjects are CAT…EGD…dasign and math lit….are these subjects right??

  25. Megan
    | Reply

    Hi Erica.

    I could not get into UP as I only have a 26 and not a 30 APS score although I have a degree pass. I am currently in matric. Should I take a gap year and try aim to get into UP for Information design or is there somewhere else that offers Information design thats just as good. I live in Newcastle so closer to home would be good.

  26. Esie Tamakloe
    | Reply

    Hi Erica.
    I am a young student, currently in grade 10, trying to figure out the different subjects needed for Graphic Designing. I do the subjects Physical Sciences, Visual Art and Geography. This term I received the percentage of 49 for Physics which I was very disappointed with, so I thought of the decision of changing the subject Physics to Business Studies. Will this have any effect on the career choice I am trying to do? What are the compulsory & recommended subjects needed for Graphic Designing?

    Pleas contact back me so that I’ll have answers to these questions and so that I’ll make a more cleverer decision, for I don’t want to mishandle my future.

  27. Du
    | Reply

    Hi Erica

    I need basic graphic design understanding and application, I’m in my mid-40’s and would like to do a short course either full-time or part time. I’m computer literate

    I’m in KZN, I have a home based embroidery, screen printing and other related printing business, to be brutally honest, I outsource most of the business as I’m unable to do what some customers want, the demand is growing and I need to shape up as well. I have some basic self-taught understanding of Corel Draw, very basic. I have studied material from UCT (GetSmarter: Graphic Design Short Course) and Pixel Craft (12 Week Graphic Design Course) in Durban, both courses that I think are relevant start in May 2015. Firstly, (1) is what is offered by these institutions relevant to my business and secondly, (2) if what they offer is relevant, which one do you recommend most? Please help!

    • Erica
      | Reply

      Hi Du, both will give you a good basic understanding of graphic design, but I do like the fact the Pixel Craft includes Photoshop and InDesign as well!

  28. edwin
    | Reply

    good day
    Can you study part time for a diploma or degree?
    What would be an average price of these courses more or less?

  29. mandy
    | Reply

    Hi Erica

    I was wondering is it possible at all to study graphic design without being able to draw? I have always wanted to draw and enjoy being creative but havent had the opportunity to pursue it before. I am in a fortunate position to pursue my interests, can you give me advice on how to go about?
    do I need to do a short course on how to draw before enrolling for graphic design?

    • Erica
      | Reply

      Hi Mandy – drawing is not a requirement for graphic design, but you do need to be creative. If your application has met the school’s minimum admission requirements, they will forward you exact briefs of portfolios and entrance assessments. To ensure that your portfolio stands out from the rest, I would recommend doing a drawing course first. Best of luck.

  30. HK00_9
    | Reply


    I’m coming from an outside country to study graphic design in Pretoria, SA. I’ve been surfing from site to site in order to find out what could be the best school or university to study graphic design. After all this investigation I found out 3 schools that seemed great for what I want to pursue as a full-time career; University of Pretoria, Open Window School of Visual Communication, and DSSA. In your most honest opinion and for being someone that have been in this field for quite long time, which of this school have the best graphic design program and where would you recommend me to go and have a degree BA in Graphic Design? Please help! I’m very undecided about it!

  31. Richard Magwaza
    | Reply


    I have a BTech in Marketing (CPUT). Now I have an interest of doing graphic design for a duration of 6 to 12 months. I wont mind doing presentations or assignments but seating for an exam will be a bit problem. just want to know which institution can cater for me .

  32. Richard Magwaza
    | Reply

    …one more thing I cant draw, and don’t have portfolio just a passion for graphic design and web development.

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