What we do

The Design Institute is focused on unlocking socio-economic value for South Africa through design.

The Design Institute is committed to support the realisation of new ideas into sustainable enterprises, creating socio-economic value through targeted design interventions.

The SABS Design Institute’s strategic direction is based on the premise that the national design system should utilise the broad nature and bridging capacity of design to address the existing innovation chasm by linking R&D with the user, the market, the social environment for the benefit of the country’s socio-economic growth.

South Africa needs a functional national design system that is responsive to the needs identified by the national economic and industrial growth policies as well as the national challenges of high unemployment, poverty and inequality in the country.


The Design Institute activates the national design system by
• Creating design awareness of the benefits of design with the wider public through exhibitions, awards, conferences, seminars and publications;
• Facilitating design support by implementing programmes to assist businesses and entrepreneurs to use design to improve their businesses;
• Nurturing a new generation of designers by supporting traditional design education (degrees and post graduate courses) as well as providing a variety of design related training courses aimed design entrepreneurs.
The Design Institute realises its role to influence policy directives to incorporate design as a catalyst of economic equity. In this regard it is facilitating the formalisation of design as a critical element of the National System of Innovation.