Welcome to our latest blog post, where we explore the question of which graphic design courses in South Africa are worth your investment.
In our previous blog we discussed what to look for when choosing an institute before registering for a graphic design course, this time we are looking at the key skills you need to ensure you are well-prepared for the media industry.
With the rise of digital media and the increasing importance of visual storytelling in today’s world, the role of the graphic designer has evolved into media design where a designer is expected to have skills in more than just pure design.
To start a career in graphic design in South Africa one must have the proper training and be multi-disciplined. However, with so many graphic design courses in South Africa, it can be difficult to know which courses are worth your time and money. In this article, we outline the critical skillset you simply must have to able to offer your clients or prospective employers the expertise and value they need.
Whether you are just looking for the best graphic design schools in south Africa, starting out in your graphic design career, or are looking to take your skills to the next level, this post will provide valuable insights and information on what subjects or disciplines you should learn to give yourself a diverse skillset that sets you apart from the average designer.
1. Graphic Design
Graphic design is the foundation of all visual communication, and it is crucial for graphic designers to have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of design in 2023. This includes color theory, composition, and typography. A designer who has mastered these elements is able to create visually stunning designs that effectively communicate a message.
One of the most important aspects of graphic design in 2023 is logo and brand design. As the importance of a strong online presence continues to grow, so too does the significance of a well-designed logo and consistent brand identity. A designer who can create a memorable logo and cohesive brand identity will be in high demand.
Social media has also played a major role in the growth of brand design. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have made it easier for businesses to connect with their audience and build a strong online presence. A designer who understands how to create visually appealing content for social media will be able to help their clients stand out in the crowded digital space.
Are you Learning the industry standard apps?
In addition to understanding the principles of design, a graphic designer in 2023 must also be proficient in industry-standard software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. While it is possible to learn these tools on your own, certified training in these applications will be critical for those looking to be hirable as a graphic designer. Employers often prefer to hire designers with formal training as it ensures that they have a solid understanding of the software and can hit the ground running on projects. Ensure you the course you are attending teaches you the above aspects and software as it will underpin your education as a graphic designer.
2. Desktop Publishing
Desktop publishing is the process of creating and formatting documents for print or digital distribution. In 2023, a designer must be proficient in programs such as Adobe InDesignto create professional-quality documents for a variety of purposes, such as brochures, posters, and books.
Despite the increasing popularity of digital media, print is still alive and well in 2023. In fact, there is a growing demand for high-quality printed materials, particularly in the areas of package design, business cards, and corporate identity. These materials need to look exactly as they appear on the screen, and designers need to have a solid understanding of how to make artwork print ready for offset lithography and digital print.
In addition to traditional print materials, designers also need to be familiar with silk screen and t-shirt printing for promotions. These techniques are often used for creating custom merchandise, and they require a different set of skills and knowledge than traditional print materials.
Does the course cover designing for commercial print?
To get a job as a designer in 2023, it is essential to have the ability to design for print. This includes understanding how to create print-ready artwork, as well as knowledge of traditional and digital print techniques. Employers often prefer to hire designers who have a diverse set of skills and can work on a variety of projects, including print materials.
Desktop publishing is a critical skill for graphic designers in 2023. Print is still in high demand, particularly in the areas of package design, business cards, and corporate identity. Unfortunately, not many graphic design courses in South Africa provide a good understanding of how to make artwork print ready for offset lithography and digital print, as well as knowledge of silkscreen and t-shirt printing for promotions. To get a job as a designer, it is essential to have the ability to design for print and have a diverse set of skills.
3. Web Design
Web design is an essential skill for graphic designers in 2023, as more and more business takes place online. A designer must be able to create visually stunning, responsive, and user-friendly websites that are optimized for search engines.
One of the most popular and widely-used web design platforms in 2023 is WordPress. This open-source content management system (CMS) allows designers to easily create and manage websites, and offers a wide range of customizable templates and themes. In addition, designers should be familiar with tools such as Elementor, which is a popular WordPress page builder plugin that allows for easy design and customization of web pages.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another important aspect of web design in 2023. A designer should understand how to optimize websites for search engines to increase visibility and drive more traffic. This includes an understanding of meta tags, header tags, and keywords, as well as the importance of creating high-quality, relevant content.
Responsive design is another crucial aspect of web design in 2023. With the increasing use of mobile devices to access the internet, it is important for websites to be optimized for all screen sizes and devices. This includes an understanding of media queries and using flexible grid systems to ensure that websites look and function correctly on all devices.
Why should a graphic designer be able to design web sites?
Clients expect a graphic designer to now be able to work with websites. So ensure you have web design skills and you’re competent with platforms such as WordPress and tools like Elementor, and have knowledge of SEO and responsive design to create visually stunning, user-friendly, and optimized websites that drive more traffic and increase visibility. Not having basic web design skills leaves money on the table. Your clients are likely to go elsewhere and not comeback to you.
Animation is a rapidly growing field, with more and more companies using animation to tell their stories and engage with their audiences. In 2023, a designer must be able to create high-quality animations using tools such as Adobe After EffectsThis includes knowledge of motion graphics, 2D animation, and video compositing.
The demand for animation is growing in 2023 as it is an eye-catching and valuable marketing tool that stops scrolling and differentiates an advertisement from static competitors. Animated videos, commercials, and explainer videos are becoming more and more popular as a way to grab the attention of audiences and effectively communicate a message. Additionally, even small micro-animations such as an envelope icon opening when clicked, add a level of depth and sophistication to websites and apps, making them more engaging and interactive for the user.
Why you should learn animation
Animated content is not just limited to videos, animation is also being used in web design, app design and even in print, such as augmented reality and holographic print. Animated infographics, interactive product demos and micro-interactions are becoming increasingly popular as a way to make information more engaging and easy to understand. If the course you are attending does not cover animation, try to learn it with a short course so that you have this amazing skill to offer.
Animation is a diverse field that requires a combination of technical and creative skills. In 2023, a designer must have a strong understanding of the animation software and tools, as well as the ability to create visually stunning and engaging animations that effectively communicate a message.
Remember, animation is a rapidly growing field, and a designer who is skilled in animation in 2023, will be able to create high-quality animations and be in high demand. Animation is not only limited to videos but also in web design, app design and print. A designer must have a strong understanding of the animation software and tools, as well as the ability to create visually stunning and engaging animations that effectively communicate a message to be able to create an impact in this field.
5. Video Editing
Video has become one of the most popular forms of content on the internet, and video editing skills are in high demand in 2023. A designer must be able to use software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro to create engaging and visually stunning videos. This includes knowledge of video editing, color correction, and sound design.
With the rise of social media, video content creation has become increasingly important. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have made it easy for businesses to connect with their audiences and build a strong online presence. Video is a powerful tool for storytelling, and it is often used to create brand awareness, promote products and services, and increase engagement.
In 2023, a graphic and media designer needs to have video editing skills to meet the needs of clients. This includes understanding how to create visually stunning videos, as well as knowledge of how to optimize videos for different social media platforms. For example, understanding the aspect ratio and video length requirements for Instagram and TikTok, as well as the best practices for Facebook and YouTube.
YouTube is a particularly important platform for video content creation. With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, and it’s a powerful tool for reaching a global audience. As a result, the need for video editors is rapidly increasing and video editors with a solid understanding of the video editing software, video optimization, and storytelling techniques will be in high demand.
In conclusion, video editing is a critical skill for graphic and media designers in 2023. With the rise of social media and the increasing popularity of video content, it is essential for designers to have the ability to create visually stunning and engaging videos that effectively communicate a message. Video editing skills are particularly important for YouTube content creation, as YouTube is a powerful tool for reaching a global audience. The need for video editors is rapidly increasing, and designers with a solid understanding of the video editing software, video optimization, and storytelling techniques will be in high demand.
In conclusion, as a prospective graphic design student in South Africa, it is essential to have a diverse set of skills that will set you apart from the competition. Graphic design fundamentals such as color theory, composition, and typography are crucial for creating visually stunning designs that effectively communicate a message. Additionally, web design, animation, and video editing are all in-demand skills that will make you more valuable to potential employers. And finally, a strong understanding of the software and tools used in the industry is crucial for delivering high-quality work to clients. By mastering all of these skills, you will be well-equipped to succeed as a graphic designer in South Africa and take your career to the next level. So, don’t waste your time and money on graphic design courses that don’t offer a comprehensive education, invest in your future and acquire the skills that will make you a successful graphic designer. Use this article as a guide to your career, and to choose the best graphic design courses in South Africa