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This course has been designed to meet the needs of students wishing to study general graphic design, covering a broad range of skills – and new media applications – which is a new area of study in Zimbabwe. It also offers opportunities in building a portfolio that will reflect the student’s ability and interest.
Most of the learning on the programme is achieved by studio based practical work.The course content reflects the rapidly expanding design field which now includes print (graphic design and advertising) and new media (interactive design, web design, web animation, and visual effects [3D modelling, Motion Graphics and Digital Video]).
Newly added Animation in partnership with Autodesk.

Programme structure




Foundation Studio Term 1,2,3 3 hour session x 36
History of Art & Design Term 2, 3  3 hour session x 24
Digital Studio  Term 1, 2, 3 3 hour session x 36
Visual Communication  Term 1, 2, 3 3 hour session x 36
Graphic design 2 & Design History 2 Term 4,5,6 3 hour session x 36
New Media 1 Term 4, 5  3 hour session x 24
New Media 2 Term 4, 5, 6  3 hour session x 36
Advertising Design  Term 4, 5, 6  3 hour session x 36
Thesis Project  Term 6  
Animation Term 1, 2, 3  

Course description

History of Art and Design 1

This covers a brief overview of historical developments that have influenced graphic design and typography.The syllabus takes the student through early writing systems up to the Bauhaus and may include thematic and historical aspects of African art making. Practical projects explore the tools and materials used in early scripts up to letterpress. Field studies and research look at how historical events have shaped the environment in a local context.

Foundation Studio

This module allows the student to explore a wide variety of techniques and processes.The following are offered dependent on resource availability: 

  • colour theory
  • textural studies
  • printmaking
  • painting techniques
  • drawing
  • collage

The first term is an introduction to the practice of observational and expressive drawing and is designed to assist students who have limited art training. Gallery visits increase student’s visual awareness. 

Projects are conducted on and off campus with class crits on a regular basis. Individual tutorials are held throughout the term. Beyond class assignments, students are expected to keep a working sketchbook and complete homework assignments.Terms 2 and 3 become a workshop based module offering 3D, product design, surface decoration. Practical projects give students the opportunity to work with different media within a problem solving framework.

Digital Studio

This module is an introduction to the Macintosh computing environment and various software packages that are commonly used in graphic design. Basic instruction in InDesign (importing pictures and text, typesetting),

Photoshop (simple image manipulation, layers) and Illustrator (object drawing) prepare the student for the realisation of design projects. Instructions are given in the use of scanners and digital cameras. Students are also required to improve keyboard skills and file management.

New Media 1

Term 1: through project based study the student is introduced to web design and familiarised with the internet inZimbabwe, basic HTML and software.The module concludes with the student constructing a web site.

New Media 2

The aim of this course is to foster creativity without barriers and allow the student to experiment with new media in preparation for a wide range of applications within the ever shifting boundaries of graphic design.The module looks at interactive design, digital video, computer based editing, animation and web design.

Students are introduced to DIRECTOR as THE ultimate authoring tool for all kinds of interactive projects. At the end of the module the student will present a multi media presentation backed up with a short thesis to support the project.

Graphic Design 2 – Investigation and analysis; Design History 2

This module has two main components - typography and design. Students are introduced to more complex projects involving typographic hierarchies and the use of grids and are required to make design decisions using type and image. Project briefs require students to follow the process of problem analysis, visual investigation and concept development.

Work completed in this module will be considered for final portfolio inclusion.This module picks up from Art and Design 1 and introduces students to post modernist ideas in design. It also offers a more in-depth look at developments in typographic practice and allows for independent areas of research and study during the final term.

Advertising Design

This course is project based and taught by outside professionals.The student is exposed to a variety of projects including brand and corporate identity, packaging and advertising.There will be opportunities to work on ‘live’ briefs from industry and experience work placements in a professional environment. 

Reproduction and printing techniques are covered in the final term.The function of design is explored through the analysis of design problems which is reinforced with visits by working professionals.

Thesis Project

The student picks a topic of their choice and chooses the medium to showcase the abilities gained during the course of their two years of study at ZIVA. It is a pre-requisite for the diploma.


In the virtual world of 3D students can create anything imaginable and with our 2 year diploma in 3D and visual effects they will be introduced to the production pipeline that will cover all bases from story boarding, concepting, product and environment modelling, character modelling, texturing, sculpting, rigging characters for animation, lighting, rendering and compositing. Students will become proficient in Autodesk software like Maya and Mudbox.