How To Become A Graphic Designer In South Africa

Becoming a graphic designer in South Africa requires careful preparation and education. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in graphic design is typically necessary for entry-level and advanced positions. It is important to stay updated with industry trends and advancements, build a strong portfolio, and consider the various career paths available in the field.

Welcome to AtticSalt

Your creative hub for elevating online presence and visual identity. We are a South African web and logo design agency dedicated to helping businesses stand out in the digital world. Whether you need graphic design services, website development, or printing solutions, we have got you covered.

Our Services:

  1. Graphic Design & Printing: From logos and branding materials to brochures, pamphlets, and business cards – we offer comprehensive graphic design services tailored to meet your specific needs. We ensure high-quality prints that leave a lasting impression on your customers.
  2. Website Design: A well-designed website is crucial for establishing an impactful online presence. Our experienced web developers create user-friendly websites with stunning visuals and seamless functionality that reflect the essence of your brand. Whether it’s an e-commerce site, a portfolio page, or a blog – our team will bring your vision to life.
  3. Digital Design: The digital landscape is constantly evolving. With our expertise in UI/UX design and social media content creation, we can help you stay ahead by creating captivating visuals for social media platforms, email campaigns, banner ads, and more. Let us boost your social media presence and engage audiences like never before!
  4. Marketing, Mech, & Signage: Get noticed wherever you go! We provide marketing materials such as banners, flyers, t-shirts, caps, mugs, and more to help promote your business at events, trade shows, or even within the company. We have got all the designs and printing needs covered so you can focus on what matters most – your business growth.
  5. Web Hosting & Maintenance: We understand the importance of a reliable and secure web hosting service. Our team ensures that your website is always up and running smoothly, with regular maintenance to keep it optimized for performance. We take care of the technical aspects so you can focus on managing your business.

How It Works:

  1. Consultation: We believe in open communication with our clients. Reach out to us via email, WhatsApp, or video call, and let us know about your design needs. Our team will be happy to discuss ideas, strategies, and answer any questions you may have.
  2. Design Brief & Quote: Getting started is easy! Fill out our Brief Form to give us a detailed understanding of your project requirements. This will help us to provide transparent pricing based on the work involved. We want you to feel confident in our services from the start!
  3. Strategy & Timelines: A well-planned strategy is the key to successful design projects. Once we have agreed upon the right approach, we will establish clear timelines for each phase of the design process. You can trust us to deliver on your timelines to optimize efficiency and satisfaction.
  4. Finalize Project & Delivery: Throughout the project, you are part of the collaborative process. Your satisfaction matters most. Whether it’s feedback or revision requests – we encourage open communication to perfectly tailor your designs. Upon finalization, we focus on delivering high-quality files ready for you to use across all platforms and channels.

Let’s Work Together:

Whether you are looking for graphic design solutions, a stunning website, digital marketing materials – or all three – AtticSalt has got the expertise to bring your vision to life. Let us take care of taking your brand to the next level while you focus on the growth and your success!

Connect With Us:

Stay connected with AtticSalt through social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also reach out to us directly via WhatsApp at +27 61 5380336 or email us at We are here to answer any questions and discuss how we can help you elevate your online presence.

“Do not be afraid of change. Variety has always been the spice of life. Monotony, on the other hand, should terrify you.” – Magriet Perold, Managing Director

What is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the art of storytelling through visual communication. It involves using images, graphics, and text to create visually appealing designs that convey a message or evoke emotions. In today’s digital age, graphic design plays a crucial role in building brands and attracting audiences.

Visual communication is essential because humans are highly responsive to visuals. We process information faster when it’s presented visually compared to plain text alone. This makes graphic design an effective tool for conveying complex ideas and messages in a concise and engaging manner.

Graphic designers have the unique ability to transform concepts into compelling visuals that resonate with their target audience. They use various elements such as color palettes, typography styles, layout compositions, illustrations, photographs, and other graphical components to bring ideas to life.

The role of graphic designers goes beyond creating aesthetically pleasing designs; they also play a vital part in establishing brand identities. Consistency across all visual touchpoints helps build recognition and trust among consumers. Graphic designers work closely with clients or marketing teams to understand their goals, target market, and desired messaging. They then translate these insights into captivating visuals that align with the brand’s values and objectives. Whether designing logos, brochures, social media posts, or websites, the goal is always to present a cohesive image of the company to its audience. Through their creative expertise, graphic designers help businesses stand out in crowded markets by crafting unique and signature visual identities.

Preparing for a Career in Graphic Design

Becoming a graphic designer requires careful preparation and education. It is important to consider your training, objectives, as well as your creative and technical background. By taking the necessary steps early on, you can set yourself up for success in this dynamic field.

Obtaining Relevant Education and Training

One of the first things to consider when preparing for a career in graphic design is obtaining relevant education and training. Many universities recommend completing basic art and design courses during high school to develop fundamental skills that will serve as a strong foundation for further studies.

These introductory courses provide an opportunity to explore various artistic mediums such as drawing, painting, photography, or digital media, which are all valuable tools used by graphic designers today. They also help students understand key principles of composition, color theory, and visual communication – essential elements within the realm of graphic design.

Additionally, it’s worth considering pursuing higher education through accredited institutions offering specialized programs in graphic design. These include universities, colleges, private schools, etc. A bachelor’s degree from one of these institutions provides comprehensive knowledge about different aspects related to graphic design, including website visual designs, studio arts, motion graphics, printing techniques, typography, among others. This formalized learning experience equips aspiring designers with both theoretical understanding and practical skillset required to excel in their careers.

By carefully selecting educational opportunities aligned with personal goals, you’ll be able to gain invaluable insights into industry best practices, current trends, and emerging technologies. The combination of academic instruction with hands-on projects allows students to apply what they’ve learned while building a diverse portfolio that showcases their abilities.

In conclusion, careful preparation plays a crucial role in establishing a successful career path as a graphic designer. Considering training objectives and creative backgrounds helps individuals make informed decisions about their future education choices. Completing basic art and design courses during high school provides a foundation for further studies, while accredited universities, colleges, or private schools offering graphic design programs provide comprehensive knowledge and practical skills necessary to excel in this dynamic field.

Education and Training

To become a graphic designer in South Africa, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is often required for both entry-level and advanced positions. There are several accredited universities, colleges, and private design schools that offer comprehensive graphic design programs.

These educational institutions provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in the field of graphic design. The curriculum of these programs typically covers various aspects of visual communication and design principles.

Website Visual Design:

This course focuses on teaching students how to create visually appealing websites by combining aesthetics with functionality. Students learn about user experience (UX) design, interface layout, color schemes, and image selection, which plays an important role when designing effective web pages.

Studio Art:

The Studio Art course provides aspiring designers with hands-on experience working across different mediums including drawing, painting, and sculpture. This helps them understand artistic concepts better so they can apply it effectively within digital platforms.

Computerized Design:

In this era where technology has taken over almost every aspect of our lives, it becomes crucial for Graphic Designers to be well-versed in using industry-standard software tools. This course equips students with the essential skills needed to work efficiently and creatively using software like Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator), Sketch, Figma, etc.

Motion Graphics:

With increasing demand for animated content, this course teaches students the fundamentals of creating motion graphics. They learn how to use animation techniques to bring static imagery to life. This can be applied in different mediums including videos, gifs, banners ads, or even social media posts.

Printing Techniques:

Understanding printing processes is essential for good graphic designers. In this course, students learn about different printing techniques, materials, and finishing options. They also develop skills in preparing files for print and ensuring their designs look their best on paper.


The Typography course focuses on the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and visually appealing. Students learn about different font styles, typographic hierarchy, kerning, etc. They also explore how typography can be used as a powerful design element in various projects.

Design Principles:

This course provides students with an understanding of the fundamental principles of design such as balance, color theory, line composition, etc. They learn to apply these elements in their work to create visually pleasing compositions.

By completing these courses within a graphic design program, students gain valuable knowledge that will help them excel in their careers. The combination of technical skills with creative thinking allows graduates to produce high-quality designs that effectively communicate messages for clients or brands.

Attending an accredited institution ensures that aspiring graphic designers receive quality education from experienced professionals who are well-versed in industry standards and practices. It is important for individuals interested in pursuing this career path to research different educational options available throughout South Africa before making a decision.

Overall, a bachelor’s degree provides aspiring graphic designers with the necessary foundation needed to succeed professionally. It equips them not only with practical skills but also helps develop critical thinking abilities which are essential when solving complex visual communication problems.

Staying Updated with Industry Trends

In the dynamic field of graphic design, it is crucial for professionals to stay updated with industry trends and technological advancements. The world of visual communication is constantly evolving, driven by rapidly changing consumer tastes and preferences. By staying informed about the latest developments in the industry, graphic designers can ensure their work remains relevant and competitive.

Importance of Staying Updated

One of the primary reasons why keeping up with industry trends is important is because consumer tastes are always shifting. What may be considered trendy today could become outdated tomorrow. As a graphic designer, understanding these changes allows you to create designs that resonate with your target audience and effectively communicate your client’s message.

Technological advancements also play a significant role in shaping the landscape of graphic design. New software tools emerge regularly, offering innovative features that enhance creativity and streamline workflows. By familiarizing yourself with these technologies early on, you can leverage them to deliver high-quality designs efficiently.

Staying updated not only benefits individual career growth but also ensures competitiveness within an ever-evolving market. Clients seek out designers who demonstrate knowledge about current trends as they want their brands represented using contemporary aesthetics that appeal to modern consumers.

Ways to Stay Updated

  1. Attend Design Conferences: Design conferences provide opportunities for networking while exposing attendees to cutting-edge ideas from leading experts in various fields related to design.
  2. Engage With Online Communities: Joining online communities such as forums or social media groups dedicated specifically towards discussing new techniques or sharing inspiration helps keep track of emerging styles.
  3. Follow Influential Designers & Agencies: Following influential designers or agencies on platforms like Behance or Dribbble provides exposure to their work and allows you to stay updated on the latest design trends.

Advantages of a Formal Graphic Design Education

A formal education in graphic design offers numerous advantages for aspiring designers. Whether you are just starting your career or looking to enhance your skills, obtaining a degree in graphic design can open up new opportunities and help you stand out among your peers.

Qualification for More Job Opportunities:

One of the primary benefits of pursuing a formal education in graphic design is that it qualifies you for more job opportunities. Many employers prefer candidates with relevant qualifications as they demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the field. With a bachelor’s degree in hand, you will have an edge over other applicants when applying for entry-level positions at agencies, studios, or corporate organizations.

Increased Earning Potential:

Another advantage of having a formal education is increased earning potential. According to industry research, individuals with higher levels of educational attainment tend to earn higher salaries compared to those without degrees. By investing time and effort into acquiring specialized knowledge through academic programs focused on graphic design principles and techniques, you position yourself better financially within the competitive job market.

Standing Out Among Peers:

In today’s saturated marketplace where creativity abounds but talent stands out less frequently than desired by professionals seeking employment prospects; standing apart from others becomes crucially important if one wants their work noticed above all else! A formal education equips students not only with technical expertise but also critical thinking abilities necessary when solving complex visual communication problems creatively – making them highly sought after by prospective clients who value originality combined seamlessly alongside practical application skill sets honed during coursework completion stages throughout undergraduate studies undertaken specifically tailored towards meeting individual needs unique unto themselves alone!

Advantages Of A Formal Education In Graphic Design:

  1. Comprehensive Skill Development: Pursuing an accredited program ensures that students receive comprehensive training across various aspects such as typography, color theory.
  2. Industry-Relevant Knowledge: Academic institutions often collaborate closely with industry partners ensuring curriculum relevance.
  3. Access To Resources And Facilities: Students enrolled in graphic design programs have access to state-of-the-art facilities, software, and resources that may not be readily available outside of an educational setting.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Being part of a formal education program allows you to connect with fellow students as well as industry professionals through internships, workshops.
  5. Portfolio Development: A structured curriculum provides opportunities for project-based learning and portfolio development. This enables students to showcase their skills and creativity when applying for jobs or freelance work.

In conclusion, pursuing a formal education in graphic design offers several advantages such as qualification for more job opportunities, increased earning potential, and the ability to stand out among peers. By investing time into acquiring specialized knowledge through academic programs focused on graphic design principles and techniques, you can position yourself better financially within the competitive job market while also honing your creative abilities. So if you’re considering becoming a professional designer, it’s worth exploring accredited institutions offering comprehensive courses tailored specifically towards meeting individual needs unique unto themselves alone!

Career Paths in Graphic Design

After completing a degree in graphic design, you open yourself up to various exciting career paths. The skills and knowledge gained during your education can be applied across different industries and sectors. Here are some of the potential career paths available for graphic designers:

1. Graphic Designer:

As a graphic designer, you will use your creativity and technical skills to create visual concepts that communicate ideas effectively. You may work on projects such as designing logos, brochures, websites, packaging materials, or advertisements.

2. Art Director/Creative Director:

In this role, you will oversee the creative process within an advertising agency or marketing department of a company. Your responsibilities include managing teams of designers and ensuring that their work aligns with clients’ objectives.

3. Commercial & Industrial Designer:

Commercial and industrial designers focus on creating functional products while considering aesthetics, usability, and marketability. They collaborate with engineers, sales representatives, and manufacturers throughout the product development process.

4. Marketing Manager:

Marketing managers play a crucial role in promoting businesses by developing strategies to attract customers and increase sales. As part of their job, they often coordinate campaigns involving print media, digital platforms, television commercials, social media, etc.

5. Multimedia Artist/Animator:

If animation is something that interests you, you could pursue opportunities as a multimedia artist/animator. In this field, you would bring characters, virtual worlds, and special effects come alive through computer software programs. You might find employment at film studios, gaming companies, multimedia agencies, or even educational institutions.

6. Public Relations Specialist:

Public relations specialists help organizations maintain positive relationships with stakeholders including consumers, the public, potential investors, journalists. They develop communication plans, strategies, press releases, arrange interviews, event planning, etc.

7. Software Applications Developer:

As technology continues advancing rapidly, so does the demand for skilled professionals who can build user-friendly applications. Graphic design graduates have a solid foundation in design principles and aesthetics, which can be valuable when developing visually appealing software applications.

8. Software Quality Assurance Tester:

Software quality assurance testers are responsible for ensuring that the final product meets high standards of functionality, user experience, and visual appeal. They test various aspects such as layout, functionality, navigation, and overall user interface to identify any bugs or issues before release.

9. Web Developer/Web Designer:

Web developers/web designers create websites using their knowledge of graphic design and coding languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. They work closely with clients to understand their requirements and translate them into functional, visually pleasing websites.

These career paths offer diverse opportunities for growth within the field of graphic design. Depending on your interests and strengths, you can choose a path that aligns with your goals. Keep in mind that these roles may require additional skills beyond graphic design, such as project management, coding, digital marketing, or leadership abilities. As you gain more experience, you will have the chance to specialize further within specific industries or niches. With dedication, persistence, and continuous learning, the possibilities are endless!

Salary Expectations

When considering a career in graphic design, it’s important to understand the factors that can influence salary variations. Several key elements come into play when determining how much a graphic designer can earn in South Africa.

1. Education Level:

Having a higher level of education often leads to better job prospects and increased earning potential for graphic designers. A bachelor’s degree is typically required for entry-level positions, while advanced roles may require additional certifications or specialized training.

2. Work Experience:

Work experience plays an essential role in determining salary expectations within the field of graphic design. As with many professions, gaining practical experience through internships or freelance work allows individuals to develop their skills and build up their portfolio over time – both crucial aspects considered by employers during hiring processes.

3. Design Skills:

The specific skill set possessed by a graphic designer also impacts salary expectations significantly. Designers proficient in various software applications such as Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator) are highly sought after due to their ability to create visually appealing designs across different mediums like print and digital platforms. Additionally, expertise in areas such as web development or motion graphics can further enhance earning potential within this competitive industry.

4. Geographical Location:

Geographical location has an impact on salaries throughout all industries – including Graphic Design. In major cities where there is high demand for creative professionals, such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, the cost of living tends to be higher, resulting in relatively higher average salaries compared to smaller towns. However, it should be noted that remote working opportunities have become more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This means some companies might offer flexible arrangements allowing you to live outside these metropolitan areas without sacrificing your income.

5. Type Of Employer:

Lastly, the type of employer one works for will affect earnings. Graphic designers employed at large corporations, trendy agencies, or established studios generally receive more generous compensation packages than those who work independently as freelancers. While freelancing offers flexibility, you may need to work on multiple projects simultaneously and handle your own business expenses.

In South Africa, the salary range for graphic designers can vary significantly based on these factors. Entry-level positions typically start at around R100,000 per year (approximately $6,500 USD), while experienced professionals with a strong portfolio and several years of experience can earn upwards of R400,000 or more annually ($26,000+ USD).

It’s important to note that salaries in this field are highly competitive and subject to change depending on market demand. However, the creative industry is known for its potential growth opportunities, and as you gain experience, your earning potential will likely increase.

Overall, a combination of education level, work experience, design skills, geographical location, and type of employer all contribute to determining how much one earns as a graphic designer in South Africa.

Benefits of a Graphic Design Education

A formal education in graphic design offers numerous benefits that can greatly enhance your career prospects and open up exciting opportunities. Here are some key advantages of pursuing a graphic design degree:

Skills and Expertise Gained through Formal Education:

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in graphic design equips you with the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise to excel in this creative field. Through structured coursework, you will learn essential principles such as color theory, typography techniques, layout composition, visual storytelling methods, and software proficiency.

Additionally, studying under experienced faculty members who have industry insights allows for valuable mentorship opportunities. They can guide you on best practices while providing constructive feedback to help refine your artistic abilities.

Exploration of Professional Career Opportunities:

One significant advantage of earning a graphic design degree is the exposure it provides to various professional paths within the field. The curriculum typically covers diverse areas like website visual design, studio artistry, motion graphics, and printing techniques. This broad foundation enables graduates to explore different avenues based on their interests, such as branding, campaign development, user experience (UX) design, digital marketing, content creation, and more.

By gaining an understanding of these specialized fields, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about which area aligns most closely with your passions and strengths. As technology continues advancing, the demand for skilled graphic designers remains high across industries, ranging from advertising agencies to corporate organizations to non-profit institutions. The versatility offered by a graphic design degree opens doors in both traditional print media as well as the rapidly expanding digital landscape.

Increased Opportunities for Advancement:

Having completed a full-fledged graphic design program gives you an edge over competitors who may not possess formal training. In today’s competitive job market, a degree can serve as a distinguishing factor that sets you apart from other applicants. It demonstrates dedication, talent, and the ability to professionally execute projects.

Additionally, many employers prefer candidates with a degree as it showcases a commitment to learning and the acquisition of specialized skills.

Furthermore, a graphic design education provides opportunities for advancement within your career. As you gain experience and build your portfolio, you’ll be able to take on more challenging projects and assume leadership roles within creative teams. You may also have the chance to specialize in specific areas, such as UX/UI design or brand strategy. This expertise can lead to higher-level positions with increased responsibility and potentially higher salaries.

In conclusion, pursuing a formal education in graphic design offers numerous benefits. It equips you with essential skills, knowledge, and expertise necessary for success in this competitive field. Additionally, it opens up diverse professional paths, enabling you to explore various avenues based on your interests. Finally, having a degree increases opportunities for advancement, giving you the potential to reach new heights in your career. Jumpstart your journey towards becoming a successful graphic designer by enrolling in a reputable graphic design program today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What are the entry requirements for graphic design programs in South Africa?

To enroll in a graphic design program in South Africa, most universities and colleges require applicants to have completed their high school education or equivalent. The specific entry requirements may vary depending on the institution, but typically include submitting an application form along with academic transcripts and a portfolio showcasing your artistic abilities. Some institutions may also conduct interviews or entrance exams as part of the selection process.

Question 2: How long does it take to complete a graphic design degree?

The duration of a graphic design degree program can vary depending on whether you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree or diploma qualification. A full-time bachelor’s degree usually takes around three to four years to complete, while diploma courses generally range from one-and-a-half years up to two years. Part-time study options are also available at some institutions, which allow students more flexibility but extend the overall completion time.

Question 3: Can I become a graphic designer without formal education?

While having formal education such as obtaining a relevant degree is highly recommended for aspiring graphic designers due to its numerous benefits including increased job opportunities and earning potential, it is possible for individuals without formal qualifications to enter into this field through self-study and building practical skills over time. However, it should be noted that competition within the industry is fierce, and employers often prefer candidates who possess recognized qualifications alongside experience gained through internships, freelance work, or personal projects. A strong portfolio demonstrating creativity, talent, and technical proficiency will greatly enhance chances of success even if lacking a traditional educational background.