Article: Design


This article covers the following jobs:

  • Ceramics Designer
  • Computer Games Designer
  • Costume Designer
  • Fashion Designer
  • Footwear Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Glass Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Interior/Exhibition Designer
  • Jewellery/Silver Designer
  • Packaging Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Signwriter/Signmaker
  • Textile Designer
  • Theatre/TV Designer
  • Transport Designer
  • Visual Merchandiser
  • Web Designer.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Video: - Various: Design

Graphic design

Graphic design involves getting across a message or creating a visual effect using illustration, photography and/or typography. Most graphic design work is produced using computers.

Graphic design is used in many areas including the design of packaging for different products, and producing signs for shops and offices.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers use illustration, typography, photography and computer graphics to create a visual effect or put across a message.

Many graphic designers work for design or advertising agencies. They may design posters, advertisements, brochures, packaging and websites.

Graphic designers use computer graphics in their work. For example, they use software to create visual effects, edit an image or design a website.

Graphic designers need to have creative and original ideas. They need to work well under pressure and pay attention to detail.

Most graphic designers have a degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant subject, such as graphic design.

Packaging Designer

Packaging designers create designs for all forms of packaging, including bottles, cartons and boxes. Their designs must protect and preserve the contents of the package and be visually pleasing.

The designer finds out from the client what kind of packaging is required. They then make a series of rough sketches to show to the client. They use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to do this.

When they have decided on the best design, packaging designers use modelling techniques to produce a three-dimensional model before the design is finalised and production begins.

To become a packaging designer, you are likely to need a degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant subject such as product design, graphic design or three-dimensional design.


Illustrators produce illustrations (drawings, images or diagrams, for example) to communicate information visually, make a product easier to understand or appear more attractive.

They produce illustrations for a wide variety of products, such as book covers, magazines, text books, manuals and greetings cards.

Some illustrators specialise, for example, in medical illustration, commercial illustration or scientific/technical illustration.

Illustrators carry out a lot of research so that they have all the right information to produce the illustration. They use traditional tools like pencils and pens for drawing and computer graphics.

To enter this job, you usually need a degree or Higher National Diploma in graphic design or illustration.


Signwriters/signmakers paint or make signs used outside shops, pubs, hotels and so on.

Signwriters paint traditional signs by hand. They use paintbrushes and signwriters' enamel.

Signmakers use more modern techniques. These include making three-dimensional lettering, screen printing, producing vinyl lettering, and bending glass to make illuminated signs.

You can enter this job after completing a course in signmaking or by doing a combination of employment and part-time study.

Computer Games Designer

Computer games designers create the ideas for computer games and help to determine the way they look and play. They begin with an outline of the game and then specify the game's art and interface.

They might develop games for a number of different platforms (types of computer), for example, PCs (personal computers) and consoles (dedicated games machines), apps for tablets and mobile phones, or online through the internet.

Computer games designers produce sketches and storyboards, and design the characters and their environment. Some designers work on just one level of the game.

Most entrants hold a degree or Higher National Diploma, often in computer games design or graphic design.

Web Designer

Web designers use a combination of design and computing skills to produce websites. They design the look and feel of the website, often receiving a brief from a product manager or a client.

It's very important that the website should be easy to read and navigate, so the designer usually begins by thinking about the user's needs. Web designers decide on the style and size of text, graphics, sound, animation or digital video. They also decide on the combinations of colours to use.

Web designers might use a programming language or specialist tools to create buttons and links, to manipulate images, or animate parts of the site.

Many entrants have a degree or Higher National Diploma, although some employers value experience and proof of creative abilities (such as a personal website) as highly as academic qualifications.

Interior design

Interior design relates to organising inside space by designing and co-ordinating light, colour, textures and fittings. An interior designer considers what the room or building they are designing will be used for, and who will be using it.

Theatre/Television Designer

Theatre/television designers design and supervise the creation of sets for theatre, television and film productions. They read scripts and then work out what the sets should look like.

Theatre/television designers make decisions about the size of sets, colour schemes and scenic features. They do careful research, for example, to make sure that any historical details are correct.

When they have finished their research, they produce scale models and detailed drawings. They find, buy or hire props.

To become a theatre or television designer, you are likely to need a degree in a relevant subject such as theatre design, interior design or architecture.

Interior/Exhibition Designer

Interior and exhibition designers make the best use of space, a process called spatial design/planning.

Interior designers concentrate on the places where people work and live.

Exhibition designers design and oversee the creation of exhibition projects.

Both types of designer begin with a brief and carry out detailed research. They need information about what the space will be used for and who will use it.

They make rough drawings and speak to the client for feedback. They are likely to use computer-aided design (CAD) in their work.

Interior designers pass their drawings and specifications on to an interior decorator who decides on wall-coverings, curtains and additional furnishings. Exhibition designers create imaginative and eye-catching exhibition stands.

To become an interior or exhibition designer, you are likely to need a degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant subject such as interior or spatial design.

Visual Merchandiser

Visual merchandisers design and create window and floor displays for retail outlets. Their displays are used to encourage and promote sales, and make stores attractive places to shop in. Typical projects might include dressing the window of a clothes shop or re-creating a furnished room on the floor of a furniture shop.

Visual merchandisers begin by choosing an appropriate theme, usually a seasonal event such as Christmas. They pick a colour scheme and props and make a scale drawing. When they have done this, they assemble the display. They have to handle props and merchandise carefully, as they may eventually be sold.

To enter this job, you usually need a relevant qualification, such as those offered by the British Display Society (BDS).

Fashion and textile design

Fashion and textile designers design clothes and shoes and the fabrics used to produce them. Textiles are used for many other things besides clothes, for example, carpets and curtains.

Footwear Designer

Footwear designers design new shoe styles or alter existing ones. They keep up to date with changes in colour and dress fashion. They decide on the heel height, colour, material and shape of the shoe. Experienced footwear designers have the freedom to develop new styles, as well as make changes to existing ones.

Starting from a sketch, the footwear designer makes paper patterns or designs straight onto a computer-aided design (CAD) system. Footwear designers need to be creative and good with their hands.

Entry to this job is usually after a relevant degree or Higher National Diploma such as footwear design or fashion design (containing elements of footwear design).

Textile Designer

Textile designers create designs for woven, printed and knitted fabrics and also for carpets, wall-coverings and soft furnishings.

Textile designers' duties vary according to where they work. Those working for a small company may spend most of their time reworking traditional designs. In large companies, there is usually a small team of designers who create new ideas.

Designs are prepared using traditional materials such as pens and paints, or computer-aided design (CAD) systems. When the design is finished, a sample is made. If this is satisfactory, it is made into the final product.

For entry to this job, you usually need a degree or Higher National Diploma in a subject such as textile or fashion design.

Fashion Designer

Fashion designers create designs for clothing and fashion accessories.

Haute couture is the most exclusive area of design. Haute couture garments are produced for individual clients and their seasonal collections influence the rest of the fashion industry.

Fashion designers who work in wholesale manufacturing produce designs that are suitable for mass market production. Their designs are the ones seen in most high street shops and mail order catalogues.

Fashion designers need knowledge of garment structure, pattern cutting and technical processes, even if they are not directly involved in these activities.

Most fashion designers enter the industry after a degree or Higher National Diploma in fashion design.

Jewellery/Silver Designer

Jewellery/silver designers create designs for jewellery, silverware and other decorative products.

Jewellery/silver designers usually do some research before they begin their designs. This may involve looking at other jewellery products, finding out which materials are available, and deciding what kind of people are likely to buy the products.

Following the research, the jewellery/silver designer then draws their ideas to show what their designs will look like. Many jewellery/silver designers use computers to help prepare these drawings.

The jewellery or silverware is then produced in various ways.

The usual way into this work is through a relevant degree or HND course, such as jewellery or silversmithing.

Costume Designer

Costume designers work in theatre, film or television production. They design costumes and pick accessories such as jewellery, hats and bags to suit particular characters and settings.

Before they start to design, they read the script and carry out detailed research, especially if they are designing period costumes. They then take measurements of the cast members and create the costumes. They work closely with directors, producers, set designers and performers so that the designs suit the overall look of the production.

The usual route towards a career as a costume designer is to complete a degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant design specialism such as theatre, costume or fashion design.

Product design

Designers in this area design a wide range of products from furniture and ceramic goods to cars and boats.

Ceramics Designer

Ceramics designers create designs for pottery products.

Ceramics designers who work in industry design goods for mass production. These include table and ovenware, floor tiles and bathroom fittings. They follow a brief that includes details such as the type of ceramics required and what the product will be used for. After they have done some research, they sketch their ideas for designs. If these are approved, production begins.

Potters or designer-craftworkers produce goods on a small scale. They use traditional craft methods, such as a potter's wheel, to produce the goods.

To become a ceramics designer, you are likely to need a degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant subject such as ceramics or ceramic design.

Product Designer

Product designers create designs for three-dimensional objects. The products range from household items such as kettles, hairdryers and washing machines, to industrial appliances.

The product designer works to a brief. First, they carry out research. They are concerned with the look and purpose of the product, materials, costs, technical requirements and methods of production.

Then, they produce a series of drawings that are used to create a model. If this is approved by the client or employer, the product designer produces a final working drawing for production staff to use.

The usual way into this work is through a relevant degree or HND course, such as product design.

Furniture Designer

Furniture designers create designs for mass-produced and hand-crafted furniture products.

The furniture designer works from the client's brief which outlines the type of furniture required, what it will be used for and who it would appeal to. Furniture designers research which designs are already in the marketplace and how well they are selling.

After their research, they make rough sketches for the client's approval. They then make more detailed, cross-sectional drawings and models. They normally use computer-aided design (CAD) in their work.

Designer-craftworkers make one-off pieces of furniture for individual clients. They use traditional craft methods to produce the finished item.

To become a furniture designer, you are likely to need a degree in furniture design or three-dimensional design.

Glass Designer

Glass designers work in three main areas: studio glass, architectural glass, and stained glass.

In all forms of glass work, glass designers develop ideas and make decisions about which materials to use and how the product should be produced. They aim to design functional, reliable, cost-effective products for manufacture.

Studio glass work involves the design and production of glassware items on a small or medium scale. Traditional techniques such as blowing, casting and engraving are used.

Most stained glass designers are employed on renovation projects, or decorative design for new or existing buildings.

Architectural glass is manufactured using mass production methods. This includes the design and manufacture of products such as windows, lighting and architectural panels.

To become a glass designer, you should take a formal training course that includes elements of glass design. These include courses in craft glass making, available at some colleges, and degrees or Higher National Diplomas that contain glass design.

Transport Designer

Transport designers specialise in the design and development of anything that transports goods, livestock or people across land, sea or air. Cars, boats and aeroplanes are typical examples.

On large projects, many designers work together, and each concentrates on a particular aspect of the design. Smaller projects may be completed by individual designers or small design teams.

Transport designers do detailed research before starting their designs, looking at who will use the vehicle, vessel or craft, which materials should be used to make it, and how much it will cost to make.

They then produce sketches and drawings, usually with the help of computer-aided design (CAD) systems. These can be used to construct a prototype which is tested. Eventually, they produce working drawings which production staff use in manufacture.

Degrees in transport design are available at a small number of universities.

Further Information


Skills for the creative industries



Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills



Creative & Cultural Skills

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



Chartered Society of Designers (CSD)



Design and Art Direction (D&AD)

Address: Britannia House, 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL

Tel: 020 7840 1111



British Institute of Interior Design

Address: 109 Design Centre East, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XF

Tel: 020 7349 0800



Association of Illustrators (AOI)

Address: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Tel: 020 7759 1010




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

Tel: 01377 255213


BBC Design


Getting into Art & Design Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman


National Theatre Wales (Welsh Enquiries)

Tel: 029 2035 3070



Wales Screen


Cyfle (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: S4C Media Centre, Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, UK, CF14 5DU

Tel: 029 2046 5533



Wales Arts International (Welsh Enquiries)

Address: Bute Place, Cardiff, UK, CF10 5AL

Tel: 029 2044 1320



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