Who we are

The SABS Design Institute is the official national design promotion body of South Africa with the mission to be a centre of knowledge and a catalyst for the delivery of design.

The SABS Design Institute actively responds to the country’s need for design capability which effectively translates research, development and invention into sustainable economic opportunities and market successes. It acts as a national change agent facilitating valuable socio-economic impact.  

The first steps towards establishing the Design Institute were taken in the 1950s and 1960s, aiming to stimulate the steadily developing manufacturing industry in South Africa.  Since 1969 the Institute has been the driving force behind product design promotion in the country. Today the Institute’s focus is aligned to address current national priorities - facilitating design support and design capacity building, while creating a general awareness of the value-add quality of design.

The SABS Design Institute’s advocacy role is currently undergoing a metamorphosis from its previous focus on industrial design to driving design impact across a wide spectrum of human endeavour. In this regard, the SABS Design Institute recognizes that it serves as the primary public facilitator and national voice on design for all South African designers.

The SABS Design Institute is a promotional member of ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Designers) since 1972 and has recently become a promotional member of ICOGRADA (International Council of Design Associations).
The Design Institute forms part of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), a science council reporting to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).  It is governed by the SABS Board of which both the Chairperson and members are appointment by the Minister of DTI in accordance with the South African Standards Act, 2008.
The SABS Design Institute is located in Pretoria, South Africa.