Share this page

Select an icon:

Job Photographs

  • A woman is standing at a table putting together a colourful, tall glass sculpture.  There are some pictures hanging on the wall behind her.

    Installing glass work in a gallery.

  • A woman is standing next to a table.  She is looking through some colourful documents.

    Looking through photos, images and brochures to gain inspiration for new design ideas.

  • Two women are standing next to a worktop in a design studio.  They are looking at a long section of stained glass which is on the worktop.

    Showing a potential client an example of previous design work.

  • A woman is painting a semi-circular section of stained glass.

    Putting the finishing touches to a design.

  • A woman is inspecting some stained glass.  There are some pictures in frames on the wall above it.

    Viewing a finished piece of artwork.

  • A woman is using a large machine to add colours to a small section of glass.

    Working with glass to get the desired effects.

  • Two women are standing in a design studio.  They are looking at some colourful images.

    Discussing design details with a client.

  • A woman is sitting at a well-lit desk in a design studio. She is painting, using very fine detail.

    Glass designers need to pay attention to fine detail in their work.

  • Glass Designer

  • Glass Designer

Glass Designer

Introduction

Glass designers are specialist craft or product designers working in three main areas: studio glass, architectural glass and stained glass. Their aim is to design functional, reliable and cost-effective products.

Also known as

  • Designer, Glass

Video: - Stuart: Glass Designer

Work Activities

As a Glass Designer, you will specialise in craft and design products.

You'll be working with:

  • studio glass - this involves the design and production of decorative and functional glassware items
  • architectural glass - this involves the design and manufacture of products such as windows and lighting
  • stained glass - this is a highly skilled area of design and involves renovation projects, or decorative designs for buildings, for example

You will be involved in every process of designing the product as well as the assembly.

It is often on a self-employed basis.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Glass Designer, you need:

  • understanding of shape, colour and form
  • creative and artistic skills
  • the ability to communicate ideas in the form of sketches or models
  • an understanding of production processes and the different materials you might use to make glass products
  • problem-solving skills
  • to work to deadlines and budgets
  • good communication, presentation and negotiation skills
  • knowledge of design-related software

Self-employed or freelance Glass Designers will need business and marketing skills.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates are given below:

  • Starting: £24,000 - £25,000
  • With experience: £26,500 - £31,000
  • Senior Glass Designers can earn more than £35,000

Self-employed Designer-Craftworkers are likely to earn at the lower end of the range, especially when starting out.

Self-employed Glass Designers experience more fluctuation in their incomes, so you may earn a lower figure.

Hours of work

Glass Designers usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, late finishes and weekend work may be required, especially as deadlines approach. If you are a self - employed Glass Designer, you may work irregular hours, depending on how much work you have week to week.

Where could I work?

Employers include high volume, glass product manufacturing companies, and specialist design consultancies. They may also employ freelance Glass Designers.

Opportunities for Glass Designers occur with manufacturers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for Glass Designers to become self-employed, as Designer-Craftworkers and work from home, a shared studio or a workshop.

You may have the ability to promote your own work online so it might be easier for self-employed Glass Designers.

Consultancy and fixed-term contract work may be available for experienced Glass Designers.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in design industry magazines/journals, on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.

It's a good idea to build up a network of relevant contacts, as not all design jobs are advertised. Making speculative job applications can also be effective.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

A common route into this career is from a foundation course in art and design followed by a degree, HND or foundation degree in a subject that includes glass design. These are often three-dimensional or combined design courses. Glass design is commonly studied with ceramics design.

However, you will need at least 5 GCSEs graded 9 - 4 (A* - C) in maths and English as well.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

Alternatively, there are craft glass-making courses available in some colleges. These cover glass-blowing, decoration, hand-forming and lathe working. These courses may be suitable for Glass Designers who hope to become self-employed. Some courses are available part-time during the day and others are offered as evening classes. A few are available full-time.

Some of your training will be on-the-job.

Work experience

Skills gained as an Assistant in a design studio or workshop, or in a design consultancy are valued. Commercial awareness and an understanding of the glass manufacturing industry are an advantage.

Some people gradually develop a hobby in glass making into a career by selling pieces of glassware they have designed and made themselves.

Most people who enter glass design by this route do so part-time whilst working in other jobs because of the costs of developing a commercial workshop.

To enter the work or relevant courses, you need to have a portfolio of work showing your creative ability.

Progression

Many Glass Designers become self-employed. With training and experience, it may be possible to move into managerial positions.

Qualifications

The usual entry requirements for a relevant foundation course are:

  • 1/2 A levels where you'll need an A level in Art or in an art-based subject
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 4/5 subjects where some courses ask that you have a pass in English

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC level 3 qualification in art and design
  • a design Advanced Level Apprenticeship
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, course requirements vary, so please check college/university websites very carefully.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Skills gained as an assistant in a design studio or workshop, or in a design consultancy are valued. Commercial awareness and an understanding of the glass manufacturing industry are an advantage.

Some people gradually develop a hobby in glass making into a career by selling pieces of glassware they have designed and made themselves.

Most people who enter glass design by this route do so part-time whilst working in other jobs because of the costs of developing a commercial workshop.

To enter the work or relevant courses, you need to have a portfolio of work showing your creative ability.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Art and Design) could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.

They can lead to relevant degree/HND courses.

It's also possible to do a part-time Art Foundation course, which leads to a degree or HND course. Higher National Certificate (HNC) courses are also available part-time, often in the evenings and/or in the daytime.

Universities and colleges of higher education (HE) will usually consider applications from candidates who don't meet their usual entry requirements, especially those with experience in arts, crafts or design. You should check the admissions policy of individual universities and HE colleges.

The University of Sunderland offers an MA in Glass Studies, via part-time, evening courses.

Distance learning

Relevant courses in art and design subjects, at various levels, are offered by a large number of centres, by distance learning.

Training

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships and Advanced Level Apprenticeships may be available in your area.

Funding

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust offers grants of up to £15,000 to people wishing to set up craft/design businesses.

The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass runs competitions and awards to encourage the careers of students and young artists.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)

Email: info@csd.org.uk

Website: www.csd.org.uk

Getting into Art & Design Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman

Website: trotman.co.uk/our-books/getting-into-art-and-design-courses/

Glass Training (GTL)

Address: 4 Bridle Stile, Mosborough, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S20 5BR

Tel: 0114 2488874

Email: info@glass-training.co.uk

Website: www.glass-training.co.uk

Proskills UK

Skills for process and manufacturing industries

Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY

Tel: 01235 833844

Email: info@proskills.co.uk

Website: www.proskills.co.uk

Prospect4u

Careers in manufacturing

Website: www.prospect4u.co.uk

GQA Qualifications

Address: Unit 1, 12 O'clock Court, Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S4 7WW

Tel: 0114 2720033

Email: info@gqaqualifications.com

Website: www.gqaqualifications.com

craft&design

Address: PO Box 5, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8JD

Tel: 01377 255213

Website: www.craftanddesign.net

Crafts Council

Address: 44a Pentonville Road, Islington, London N1 9BY

Tel: 020 7806 2500

Email: reception@craftscouncil.org.uk

Website: www.craftscouncil.org.uk

Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust

Address: No 1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR

Tel: 020 7828 2268

Email: qest@rwha.co.uk

Website: www.qest.org.uk

Heart of England Glass

Website: heartofenglandglass.co.uk

Society of Glass Technology (SGT)

Address: 9 Churchill Way, Chapeltown, Sheffield S35 2PY

Tel: 0114 2634455

Website: www.sgt.org

Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass

Address: The Glaziers’ Company, 9 Montague Close, London Bridge, London SE1 9DD

Tel: 020 7403 6652

Email: info@worshipfulglaziers.com

Website: www.worshipfulglaziers.com

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Hiive

Hiive is the online professional network for creative people.

Website: app.hiive.co.uk/

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language

English