What does the Design Institute do?

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

how we create the things we make

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 and the social environment for the benefit of the country’s socio-economic growth.

National Design System

National Design System
Developing design in the national context
The national design system is formed by design stakeholders from areas of design promotion, design support and design education, their relationships and respective roles. The design system is strategically guided by a strategy or policy.
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 process

The Process

A Proven process for better products and better entrepreneurs

The Design Institute uses a hands-on-design process developed for over 20 years for organizational growth. This helps staff to create better products and services but it also focuses on fundamental business skills and market understanding so that staff can align with business goals more effectively.

The Design Institute activates the national design system by:

  • Creating design awareness of the benefits of design within the wider public through exhibitions, awards, conferences, seminars and publications;
  • Facilitating design support by implementing programmes to assist businesses and entrepreneurs in using 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 at 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.


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