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


The IDEA Collective team believes that the role of design and other creative activities and tools are vital to develop core life skills in all children and promote creative intelligence for South Africa and Africa at large. This will not only increase academic performance and personal development, but is the backbone of developing human capital en masse and a workforce that is better equipped to deal with future challenges confidently and efficiently, no matter their career path.



The Origins Centre is the world’s only museum dedicated to exploring and celebrating the history of modern humankind. The Museum provides visitors with a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex heritage and boasts an extensive collection of rock art from the Wits Rock Art Research Institute. The aim of the project is to explore and deliver design solutions on the subject of the Middle Stone Age.




Students resolve the design of prototypable artefact (Fab Lab community), to inspire innovation (attract users to the Lab) and to showcase the potential of the laboratory machinery. This empowers the communities that have access to Fab Labs by allowing potential Lab users to recreate these artifacts, which in the process of making, allows them to evolve the item or create spin offs, as well as understand what the potential of the Fab Lab facilities are.



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.