Jobs in the design industry take many forms, from more traditional design roles to the new ones emerging as technology advances and provides ever more opportunities. 

Graphic design jobs

Graphic designers, for example, can work in many different areas, from book design in the publishing industry, to web design and packaging design for the food and drink industry. Some graphic designers work on a freelance basis, while many work for design agencies or as part of in-house departments of larger companies.

Technical design jobs

There are also more technical design jobs, such as architects, product designers, spatial designers, lighting designers, landscape designers and mechanical design engineers, as well as those working on screen: digital animators, computer game designers and VFX artists.

Product & production design jobs

Product design is all about creating new three-dimensional products through an understanding of the relationship between art, science and technology. Product designers have the ability to exploit each of these things in different ways to create new products.

Prop and set designers, for example, fall under the umbrella of “production design”, and have the responsibility of bringing productions (plays onstage, films, music videos, adverts) to life. Every backdrop, every piece of furniture and every single prop needs to perfectly reflect the production’s style, design and era. These designers could be designing the overall look of a production, or actually making the pieces required from scratch.

Architectural design jobs

Architects design buildings, using both sketches, technical drawings (usually using design programmes like AutoCad) and making detailed small-scale models of buildings. They also work with local groups when a building is going to impact on a particular community, especially when commissioned by local councils: design workshops can help architects design buildings that fit with the needs of the group that will be using them. Architects also deal with less design-related tasks such as applying for planning permission, and selecting and managing contractors.

Design apprenticeships

School leavers wanting to work in this sector could do an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) after taking their GCSEs, and train in roles like design assistant, trainee technical illustrator, and junior artworker.

They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in roles like desktop publishing assistant, technical illustrator, junior graphic designer and junior product designer. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.

School leavers could also look at the design courses on offer at further education college or university. 

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