Staff Members

Home » Ms Christa van Zyl

Head of Communication Design (Graphic) Department
Name: Christa van Zyl
Location: 129, FADA Building, APB Bunting Road Campus
FADA Graphic Design Staff, FADA Management Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0)11-559-1117


About Ms Christa van Zyl

Christa van Zyl is Head of Department and teaches graphic communication design at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg. Her research interests include Human-centred design, Service Design, Social Design and design for social development. Christa is currently doing research on socially responsible design practice, as well as action-based research for her Doctoral studies.

She is very involved within her community, and runs various of the Graphic Design departmental collaboration projects, both within the university with other departments and faculties, as well as with communities and professional bodies in and around Johannesburg.

Past and current successful partnerships include Johannesburg Zoo, UJ Centre of Ecological Intelligence, BUNA Africa, Girls and Boy’s Town South Africa, UJ PEETS, Telkom SA, The Region D Soweto Farmers Forum, Melville Residence Association, the SA Organ Donation Foundation and the International Organisation of Migration, as well as various small business co-operatives in and around Johannesburg. Christa is of the belief that Communication Design as a discipline can aid social development and urban renewal within communities, but only if the relevant people are involved and receptive to the support. In the end, effective communication designers do not design “for” the community, but “with” the community.

Conference Papers
van Zyl, CE. 2013 Design educators Forum South Africa Conference Proceedings, September 2013
van Zyl, CE. 2014 Cumulus Conference Proceedings, September 2014, The Challenges and Complexities Inherent to Multidisciplinary Community Engagement Projects in Service Learning – Green Week 2014
van Zyl, CE. 2019 Design educators Forum South Africa Conference Proceedings, September 2019, Communication Design Futures: A Pilot User Interface course Case Study at the University of Johannesburg
van Zyl, CE. 2023 Design educators Forum South Africa Conference Proceedings, September 2023, Publish or parent: Reflective, creative work on the cost of parenting for female academics pre-, mid- and post- the COVID-19 pandemic
van Zyl, CE. 2023 Design educators Forum South Africa Conference Proceedings, September 2023, It’s a zoo in there. Reflections and case studies from collaboration and participation design with Johannesburg Zoo Edu-centre: 2011 – 2023

Exhibitions & awards
Christa van Zyl has participated in multiple exhibitions, including design work for Eugene Hön’s Interventions in Practice piece (2021), Art on Paper (2014), as well as Booknesses (2016) in collaboration with David Paton, Martin Bolton, Ashton Moseley and Eugene Hön. Her most recent exhibition was in 2022, where she exhibited Voorskoot, a piece on motherhood and academia.