Designers, who have been in the industry for a while, run the risk of becoming overly familiar with their own work and losing perspective of what the end user sees and experiences. Ria van Zyl, head of the honours program at the Design School of Southern Africa (DSSA), a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), says that designers should continually invest in their own professional development. The only constant in design is change; the search for new skills and knowledge is endless. In order to stay relevant and aligned with the times as a designer, it is imperative to continuously learn. You can achieve this through self-study, attending workshops and seminars, attending short courses or through post graduate studies.

Graphic Design has become so integrated in the business world today, that one of the challenges facing the “new” graphic designer is to know and understand more about client businesses and integrate design activity with business operations. In fact, we see a new shift towards in-house design teams being employed in all types of businesses where designers have to work alongside other employees to achieve business goals. Contemporary design problems are also known to be complex, and need professionals from various disciplines to work towards solutions. These shifts in the design industry require designers to acquire additional skills and knowledge. As a designer the focus of your undergrad qualification will be on what to do, where the focus at a post graduate level is on why or sometimes why not.

Designers need to be innovative in enhancing their ability to translate research into solving user needs, and be able to provide a well researched argument and evidence as to why your design concepts are the right way to go.  In doing this you will be better equipped to communicate your design decisions with your clients who, in today’s competitive market, value the integration of graphic design with business strategies and operations.

Design entrepreneurship is another exiting area where designers find new and innovative ways to generate income. But in order to do this, designers need to learn how to target audiences and propose, develop and manage projects.

The IIE’s BA Honours in Graphic Design presented at DSSA is an example of post graduate studies that provide designers with the opportunity to give their career a boost and improve their knowledge and skill-set in the design field. The course is flexible and structured to provide designers with research, visual design and design management skills necessary to continue with a sustainable career doing what you love most – design!

DSSA has a midyear intake for their BA Honours Graphic Design program on the Pretoria and Bordeaux campuses and interested designers are encouraged to visit  the course is available on a part or full time basis and mode of delivery will be determined by the interest of the group.