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)


CTU Training Solutions


ELMI College

  • East London
  • Advanced Certificate in Graphic Design
  • 1 year (Full Time)

friends of design

Greenside Design Center

Inscape Design College

  • Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town
  • Graphic Design Diploma or Degree
  • 3 Years

Oakfields College

  • East Rand, Pretoria and Somerset West
  • National Certificate in Interactive Media.
  • 010 591 7314 | 012 361 0416 | 021 850 0383
  • 2 Years

Open Window School of Visual Communication

Prestige Academy

Red and Yellow Graphic Design

Rosebank College

Ruth Prowse School of Art

Vega School of Brand Leadership

  • Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town
  • BA Graphic Design
  • 3 Years


Nelson Mandela University

North West University

University of Johannesburg

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

Short Courses

Boston City Campus & Business College


Keyline Graphics

Pixel Craft

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  1. I’ve finished my matric last year & im keen in studying graphic design at tut but I don’t have a design portfolio what should I do if I ain’t studied GD before.?

  2. Hi Erica

    I’m very good at drawing and I’m thinking of applying at TUT for graphic design course but the problem is that they need a portfolio when applying for graphic design and I don’t know what to put inside the portfolio. should I include like my favorite pictures of artist that I have drawn??

  3. Hi, I’m looking to study UX or UI and I know a lot of multimedia courses offer it in the final year where would you suggest is a good place to study multimedia design

  4. hello, I was also looking at Style Design College and was wondering if anyone managed to find out if this is a legitimate college?

  5. Hello, drwing is my talent so i supposed to design because i am good with drawing, i wish one day to design my new models cars that will be including for disabilities people like me to feel like everybody. so the problem is i didint finish at school but i need the college who deal with dwaing pls

  6. Hi I’m also looking for a place to study and to study something that will have a positive out put after my studies but I don’t know what to study and I’m good at art but I don’t know what to study.

  7. Hi Erica, what are the options for children with learning disabilities but are creative. The normal tertiary educational process and systems don’t really cater or enable these kids to take the next step in their lives. Do you know of any institutes that supports dyslexic and learning disabled kids tertiary education in graphic design or any other design fields.

  8. I want to do a Graphic Design, a diploma for 2 years, i’m located in Johannesburg, but it’s being a difficult to find a college where i can do Diploma of Graphic Design for 2 years, if any one knows one please be free to suggest me. Thank you!

  9. Hi erica

    Are there still no learning institutions in SA.. that offer a diploma in GD on a part time basis? Im based in durban and have searched everywhere but cant find any thing. So bummed 🙁

  10. I am a student studying interactive media NQ5at artshub institute.I am very interested in studying Graphic design but I can’t continue my studies at a private college because I don’t have the funds and I am currently on a scholarship.So I need advice.Should I continue studies at a University because they have financial aid or look for a internship?

  11. Hi, Erica
    I was wondering if i complete a short course in graphic design would it help in order for me to study a BA in Graphics design as i passed matric with admission to diploma and not admission in bachelors, thanks.

    1. Hi Keegan, a short course won’t help but if you do the diploma in Graphic Design first, you will then qualify to do the degree.

  12. Please assist. I have been working on CoralDraw for over 25 years and find the X8 current version a total pain.
    I am now interested in an alternative software programme that can do the same or better that Coral.
    I am prepared to come for training

  13. Hello Erica
    Thanks for this very practical post. Im sure many students use it. Just to let you know that the information for Nelson Mandela University has changed. It its now:

    Port Elizabeth
    BA Degree in Visual Arts: Graphic Design
    3 Years
    4th Year Honours Visual Arts: Graphic Design

  14. Hi Erica! I was wondering if you maybe have any idea of places in bloem, even if it’s private institutes, where I would be able to study graphic design as a degree, not just a diploma? I’m really keen on studying it at a university but Bloemfontein is my first option and UFS doesn’t have a graphic design course like the other universities. Thank you!

  15. Hi Erica

    My daughter was very good in drawing at school, she didn’t necessarily think of graphic design as a study option. She was interested in acting, went for a course at AFDA and reality has kicked in that, that industry is tough. She didn’t pass with a Bachelors but a diploma. She’s 22 years old, does the age exemption still apply so that she can enrol for a degree in design or can she do a 1 year diploma and then a 2 year qualification in designing?

    1. Hi Bulelwa, it will depend on the diploma level and credits your daughter received. She will have to contact the school where she wants to study to confirm what year she can continue with.

  16. Hello Erica thank you making this information available to us. My question is; do know of any bursary/scholarship that I might apply for to study at one of the independent institutions?

  17. I want to study graphic design online. please can you assist me with contact info for suggested options

  18. Hi, I have a kid who is not doing well on high school. He is in grade ten. Is there any college that can assist him study graphic design next year.

  19. hi, i finished my matric last year and i could not get the needed score to do graphic design. i went back to do a re-write but i could not get the desired marks. What options are there so that i can be admitted at university or college?

  20. Hi I want do master degree in graphic design or multimedia in Pretoria or Johannesburg , It is course work or research

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