Careers in Design

Design careers include just about everything that requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. When we speak of art and design careers here, we include all sorts of careers ranging from fine arts to UI and UX design.

When one talks about ‘art’ it is usually just fine arts or traditional arts that come to mind. However, art is an umbrella term that encompasses all sorts of creative careers ranging from painting and sculpture to filmmaking and classical dance. Art refers to all sorts of fields that essentially appeal to one’s senses – be it visual, audio, or audio-visual.


The key purpose of design is to create aesthetically beautiful yet functionally useful products, spaces, user interfaces, and environment. In almost all instances, designed objects, interfaces, spaces, and environments are for the use of or experience of a person, a group of people or the masses.

For example, when Period Movies are made, the dresses are designed by the famous fashion designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee.Manish Malhotra. 

See other examples – a beautifully and functionally well-designed furniture could be used by some people who can afford it. A well-designed flower vase could be bought by many. A well-designed mobile user interface is liked and used by many. A beautiful sculpture installation like the Sardar Patel statue could be appreciated by the mass.

Steve Jobs  had said that Apple,  is more about Art  and less about technology. Dont forget that Apple is the most respected technology company today and Steve Jobs who created it was not an engineer but an artist.

So, design careers need creativity, imagination, skills, and understanding of the functionalities or utilities of the things that are to be designed. For example, a fashion designer must understand the needs of the person or persons who would wear the clothes that she designs. She must understand the personal preferences, occasions on which the clothes would be worn, and so on.

Are Traditional Art, Commercial Arts, and Design distinctively different?

  • No. Although traditional art is quite exclusive among the three, still it is not always clearly different from commercial art. For example, a person or an enterprise may commission an artist to create a work of art such as a portrait or a painting or a sculpture. In such cases, the traditional artist is working within a set of specifications and her incentive for the work is also fixed.
  • Then, scope of work in commercial art and design careers overlap a lot. Both require creativity, design skills, techniques, and understanding of the needs of the people or enterprises which would use the work of commercial art or designed products, space, user interfaces, or environment.
  • Design careers require a lot of imagination and creativity. The same are required for traditional art and commercial art. Then traditional art, commercial art, and design – all three could be very rewarding for the artists and the designers.

This article involves a range of art and design careers for the future that pay fairly well and give people a chance to use their creativity and artistic skills.

Art and Design Careers

The following fields of art and design are across an academic spectrum and involve various art and design subjects that one can study. Many of these fields are interdisciplinary.

However, all the art and design careers have one thing in common: they essentially focus on your creativity, your ability to think out of the box, and express yourself. Art and design subjects open a wide array of job opportunities that are often related to seemingly unrelated subjects. But creative work is a part of almost any field.



Broad Fields under Art and Design Careers

  • Applied art and design.
  • Architecture
  • Experience, information and interaction design
  • Fashion, apparel and textile design
  • Industrial design
  • Intra disciplinary art and design
  • Lifestyle and accessories design
  • Material design and craft
  • Visual and communication design

Applied Art and Design Careers

Applied art and design refers to using art and design to aesthetically improve the appeal of mundane products we use in our everyday lives. This allows people to use their creative skills to enhance products. Art and design careers pertaining to applied art and design are:

  • Commercial Art
  • Floral Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Surface Design
  • Tablespace Design

These are only a couple of examples but commercial art and design ranges across a broad range of design careers and is perfect for anyone who wants to give their creativity the free reign but also actively engage in constructive work.


Architecture Careers

Architecture is the process of designing and planning the construction of buildings and other structures that may be used for private or public use. It is important to distinguish between architecture and the physical process of construction itself. Some careers in the field of architecture are:

  • Architectural Design
  • Architecture
  • Building Engineering & Management
  • Built Environment Design
  • Ekistics
  • Environmental Architecture
  • Health Architecture
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Real Estate Development
  • Recreation Architecture
  • Restoration Architecture & Architectural Conservation
  • Retail Architecture
  • Space Architecture (designing of spacecraft, space stations, etc.)
  • Sustainable Building Design
  • Urban Design

Architecture requires creativity and artistic skill but is also considerably more technical as well.


Experience, Information and Interaction Design Careers

Interaction design is the process of designing the way the interaction between users and products. Information design is a closely connected area and focuses on presenting information in the best way possible to users. Experience, information and interaction design careers are all based on working with computers. These designs are different from traditional art in the sense that it uses tools based on technology and not physical materials. Some of the careers in this field are:

  • Digital UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) Design
  • Information Design
  • Interaction Design

Fashion, Apparel and Textile Design Careers

Fashion, apparel and textile design focus on using the physical properties of textile and fabric to suit our needs and to create aesthetically appealing as well as functional dresses to wear as well as other products for several uses.

Fashion design careers focus on aesthetics as well as creating useful clothing. Although fashion design does include runway collections and the likes that are focused more on art and aesthetics, by and large fashion, textile and apparel design seek to find a balance between appearance and usefulness. Some fashion design, apparel, and textile design careers are listed below:

  • Costume Design
  • Fashion and Apparel Design
  • Fashion Business Management
  • Fashion Design
  • Fashion Merchandising and Fashion Communication
  • Fashion Technology
  • Knitwear Design
  • Textile Design


Industrial Design Careers

Industrial design is the creation of products and concepts that are beneficial to both the producers and consumers of mass-produced goods, optimize the efficiency of production and use the resources in the process. Industrial design careers span across all sorts of areas since there is industrial factory-type production for almost every possible commodity. Listed below are some design careers that fall under industrial design:

  • Automobile Design
  • Ceramic and Glass Design
  • Environment Design
  • Exhibition Design
  • Furniture and Interior design
  • Industrial & Manufacturing Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Machine Design
  • Product Design
  • Retail Design
  • Set and Production Design (for the film and theatre industry)
  • Transportation/Vehicle Design

Intra Disciplinary Art and Design Careers

Intra disciplinary art and design allow people interested in art to pursue careers which are grounded on art but also require interests in other areas. Those simply interested in art, or those who want to explore other careers while engaging with the subject through a more art-oriented lens will be interested in the following interdisciplinary art and design careers.

  • Art Business and Administration
  • Art Communication and Journalism
  • Art Curation
  • Art Teaching
  • Art Therapy
  • Computational Art and Media
  • Computational Design
  • Creative Entrepreneurship
  • Design Technology
  • Strategic Design Management

Lifestyle and Accessories Design Careers

Lifestyle and accessories design involves the conceptualization and designing of products and accessories that come in everyday use. While these are not essential products, they are often prevalent in many households. Lifestyle and accessories design focuses on both aesthetics and utility. Some lifestyle and accessories design careers are:

  • Eyewear Design
  • Footwear Design
  • Gemology
  • Jewelry Design
  • Leather Design
  • Lifestyle Accessories Design
  • Watch Design

Like most creative careers, lifestyle and accessories design also can involve almost any product that can be categorized as an accessory and there is tremendous scope for people to hone their creativity.

Material Design and Craft Careers

Material design and craft include all sorts of arts and crafts that involve working with one’s hands and different tools to make various kinds of products or works of art. Some examples of material design careers and careers in craft are:

  • Craft Design
  • Earthenware Design
  • Metal Work and Design
  • Natural Fibers Craft and Design
  • Stone Work and Design
  • Toy Design
  • Wood Craft and Design

Visual Communication Design Careers       

Visual and Communication Design, as the name suggests, involve work to produce designs to communicate an idea or concept through visual forms. Some visual communication design careers are:

  • Animation Design
  • Digital Design
  • Film and Video Design and Communication
  • Games Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Media Design
  • Multimedia Design
  • Photography Design
  • Special Effects & Visual Effects Design
  • Visual Communication Design
  • Web Design

Art and Design Careers That Pay Well

Any field of art or design careers can pay well provided you have the talent, and you perform very well in your work. But it is possible to list out some art and design careers which will be very prospective in the years to come. These are among the best design jobs for the future.

  • Animation Design
  • Built Environment Design
  • Computational Design
  • Digital Design
  • Digital User Interface and User Experience Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Fashion and Apparel Design
  • Film and Video Design and Communication
  • Film Design & Technology
  • Games Design
  • Installation Art
  • Product Design
  • Special Effects & Visual Effects Design
  • Surface Design
  • Vehicle and Transportation Design
  • Web Design

To conclude

Although people often have the misconception that art and design careers have to be treated only on the side, that is, as a 2nd profession or better as a hobby, that is not true. Whatever one’s passion is, there are spaces today where one can build a rewarding career in art or pursue design careers.

It would be foolish to say that money is not an important factor, because we all need financial independence in today’s world to survive but art and design careers could also be well paying.

With the diversification of the job market, different fields are also now closely connected instead of being in watertight compartments. Creative and artistic skills are also of use in more scientific and technical fields. Design careers are now the need of the hour and in the future, art and design will continue to play an important role in society as the distinction between different fields and careers becomes even more blurred.

Ask your Career Coach if you are made for a design career.

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