Status of Design in SA
Source: Suné Stassen, Creative Director: Rock City Foundation
Design is a wide field spanning different industries and disciplines. In South Africa, some sectors of Design are well developed, while others are emerging. Increasingly, South African Design is taking its place on the international stage, and there is exciting potential being developed all the time. Design has also been introduced as a high school subject, and while curricula have been thoughtfully devised, it will still take some time for the subject to mature.
Already there has been a substantial investment in the development of quality educational resources including classroom guides and textbooks. In addition, high school studies are enhanced and supported by the involvement of learners in industry competitions, awards and expos.
Professional Standards & Institutional Support
In South Africa, many fields of Design have established their own professional associations, such as BCSA or better known as Brand Council (the Graphic Design council of South Africa), the SAIA (South African Institute of Architects), iid (South African Institute of Interior Design) and Industrial Design Association of South Africa (IdeaSA). Leaders in the fields run these not-for-profit membership organisations; setting standards, promoting their professions, networking with their global counterparts, establishing annual awards, showcases and expos, and running programmes to support students from their disciplines. In addition, the Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA) is a professional organisation of design educators that employs dynamic strategies to promote and support Design education in South Africa.
There is both government and corporate recognition of the importance of fostering high quality Design in South Africa and for the development of strong, diverse Design Industries. Institution such as SABS Design Institute support the roles and impact that Design can play in stimulating the economic, technological and social development of our country.
Recognition and Reward
Over the past years, South African design industries – along with corporate and media partners – have established a number of exciting, high-profile annual SA Design Awards such as the Loeries Awards, Competitions and Expos such as the Open Design Cape Town Festival; Design Indaba; Cape Town, Johannesburg and African Fashion Weeks to mention just a few, that are regarded as significant events on both local and international calendars. These initiatives bring a depth to the field of Design as a whole, while also providing fantastic opportunities for Design practitioners to be recognised and rewarded for their outstanding work and individuals and the rest of the public to participate in. Regular participation in both local and global Design events helps professional designers and students to broaden their experiences, hone their skills, showcase their work widely and make quantum leaps along their career paths.