5 Types of Design Careers That'll Put Your Imagination to Work
You’ve had a creative streak your whole life – from designing your friend’s wedding invitations to helping your relative create a business logo. These artistic tasks probably feel like a fun hobby to you—but did you know you can actually get paid to be creative?
There are several types of design careers that will allow you to flex your creative muscles and bring in a paycheck that proves just how valued your natural talents are. A career in design could be just what you need to break out of a job rut and launch a career in an industry you love.
More than 444,000 design jobs are out there looking to employ imaginations like yours.* One of them could be your chance to put your creative skills to work Learn about five types of design careers to see if one them was designed for you!
1. Industrial design
Industrial designers create concepts and designs for manufactured products. This includes anything from toys and furniture to cars and smartphones. They bridge the gap between a great idea and the finished product consumers see on store shelves. These designers ensure the end user will be happy with the design and functionality of a product. Some are also tasked with ensuring their company’s brand is conveyed through the product design.
As an industrial designer, you can expect to spend your days researching the ways consumers might use your product. This is done through consulting with team members about design requirements and budget, sketching design ideas by hand or with computer software, creating prototypes and testing your designs. All this responsibility comes with a median annual salary of $59,610, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), making industrial design a great career option for creative types.**
Common job titles in the industrial design field:
- Commercial designer
- Product development engineer
- Mechanical designer
2. Interior design
Interior designers do much more than make a room look pretty. It’s their job to make sure a space is beautiful and functional. These designers need to consider details like where to place electrical outlets, how to adhere to building codes and how to stick to a client’s budget while still achieving the goals for their space.
If you desire to work in interior design, you’ll need to be familiar with reading blueprints and creating room designs with computer-aided design (CAD) software. Project management skills will also come in handy since it’ll be your responsibility to meet deadlines and keep a project on budget. You will likely be well-compensated for your hard work with a median annual salary of $47,600, according to the BLS.
Common job titles in the interior design field:
- Decorating consultant
- Showroom designer
- Interior architect
3. Fashion design
It takes a lot of work to create the clothes, shoes and accessories you wear on a daily basis, and it all comes down to fashion designers. They’re responsible for everything from learning about fashion trends and attending trade shows to producing prototypes and adjusting designs.
“A fashion designer’s job description will vary depending on the size of the company and what they consider to be a designer’s role,” according to Morgan Swank, designer and freelance illustrator. Some typical job duties include choosing fabrics, collaborating with technical designers, creating designs with CADs and creating presentation boards.
A career in fashion design will require hands-on creativity—it could be the perfect job path for you if you love to sew and draw, according to Swank. It will take a lot of planning and coordination to take a design from idea to production, so organization skills and the ability to meet deadlines are also key traits in this field. You can expect a median annual salary of $62,860, according to the BLS.
Common job titles in the fashion design field:
- Costume designer
- Personal stylist
- Tactical designer
4. Graphic design
Graphic designers create layouts and logos for everything from books and magazines to billboards and websites. They need to consider their clients’ goals, the message of their design and the intended viewing audience with each project they design. They ensure that a project’s text, layout, colors and overall design work cohesively together to communicate with an audience.
Teamwork will be a huge component of your job as a graphic designer since you’ll often work in conjunction with sales teams, marketers and web developers. You’ll need to possess a strong eye for detail to prevent errors from being published. You’ll blend your creativity with communication for a median annual wage of $44,150, as reported by the BLS.
Common job titles in the graphic design field:
- Web designer
- Art director
- Graphic artist
5. Motion design
Motion designers are similar to graphic designers. Instead of designing for print or static digital media, motion designers use digital tools to apply visual effects to videos, games, apps and online animations. They’re the ones who animate your kids’ favorite cartoons and create all of the special effects in your favorite TV shows and movies.
Technology will be at the core of your career as a motion designer, but that’s not the only proficiency you’ll need. You should be able to work on a team, implement feedback, create storyboards, hand-draw illustrations and have an expert understanding of light, color and shadows. This variety of talents is worth a median annual wage of $61,370, according to the BLS.
Common job titles in the motion design field:
- >Multimedia artist
- Visual effects (FX) specialist
Design your creative career
It’s never too late to launch the creative career of which you’ve always dreamed. If any of these types of design careers appeal to you, it’s time to take your creative streak from craft to career.
Think it’s too late to launch a creative career you love? Think again! Learn about three design pros who successfully changed careers. If they can do it, why can’t you?
*Total jobs added for all positions according to the 2012 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
**Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.