About Greenside Design Center

GDC is a specialist design college based in Joburg, South Africa. Established in 1987, GDC has pursued its vision to be leaders in design higher education to nurture innovative and responsible designers for the greater good of humanity. We offer Degrees and Honours Degrees in the fields of Interior, Multimedia, Graphic and Visual Communication Design. We also specialise in Design Thinking, offering a Higher Certificate and two-day workshops.

At GDC we value innovation and critical thinking in the design process, which we believe is fundamental to designing for sustainability and social development. From the first year of study, students are encouraged to think critically about the role design plays in shaping societies. They are taught to recognise the power they have and how to manage this responsibly. Our 10Percent Initiative is a manifestation of this, and our students produce an array of amazing designs for real communities.

What is 10%

10% is the college’s institution-wide community engagement project. Our students across all levels of study and all disciplines, come together to form new multidisciplinary teams, and apply their design expertise to work with a real community. The project is four weeks long (equating to roughly 10% of the curriculum) and subscribes to the ideal that designers should engage with ‘the other 90%’ that have typically not enjoyed the benefits of design interventions.


The types of communities GDC works with and the design solutions produced vary enormously, from designing prototypes of products for local communities to manufacture for new business, to creating promotional material for street artists, to re-designing exhibition spaces at the Origins Museum, to information graphics for mental health, to educational material for schools and street children.

10% Achievements

  • Awarded the Design For All Award from the International Federation of Interior Designers/Architects
  • Endorsed by the Philadelphia University and the Royall Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Selected as the focus ofthe 2014 international Cumulus Conference hosted by Greenside Design Center and The University of Johannesburg
  • Finalist in the SA Innovation Awards


Nzomela Herbal Bread was founded by Jabulani Ngwenya and Bulelani Williams in 2018. The company started in an effort to combat one of the township’s biggest challenges; hunger. Nzomela realised that the majority of the township relies on bread that is both unhealthy and expensive for residents who live below the breadline. Nzomela Herbal Bread provide high-quality and low-cost bread to underprivileged communities. 



The Ilima Learning Centre caters to the community of Lanseria and the workers of Stature Steel Company to empower and develop skills. This facility houses a school, creche and skills development workshops for adults in the community, primarily women. The group’s main focus was to create a minimalistic brand style which draws from the imagery of “the house on a hill” and an olive tree. They found inspiration from designs drawn from nature, in an elegant, professional manner.



This 10 Percent brief, titled ‘Life Below Water’ is a directive undertaken by students of GDC and artist Marc Edwards, and is focused on collecting data from the Braamfontein, Montgomery and Westdene spruits, in Johannesburg's Northern Suburbs. Primarily a research based project, our findings were divided up into various sub-groups loosely categorized in sections, namely History, Geography and Biology as well as web and exhibition design.



Without you we cannot move forward. We are aiming to expand in order to help thousand more people transform their lives through design – we can only do this with your support! If you know of a community that we could work with, or an organisation we can collaborate with, or if you have resources we could apply in our projects, let us know and we will contact you back.

Join our community to keep up with our projects and see how you can make a difference.