Design Graduate Career Profile

RISD Section 19

Design Graduate Career Path

Generally people involved in art and design use a creative talent to produce pieces of work. This might be anything from a theatre backdrop to a design for a page of a book; from an item of jewellery to a stained glass window, from a colour scheme for a room to a company website – the list is endless.

The following are the main categories in which artists and designers can specialise:

Graphic design, which can include these areas of employment:

  • Publishing and printing
  • Advertising
  • Digital media

3D design, which can include these areas of specialisation:

  • Ceramics
  • Fashion and textiles
  • Furniture design
  • Industrial/product design
  • Model-making
  • Jewellery/metal work
  • Theatre/set design
  • Fine art
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Film, television and photography

There are many other jobs you can do with art and design training. Museum, exhibition, gallery and auction house work are possibilities. With additional training you could teach art, work in community arts or become an arts therapist. Art conservationists, dealers and auctioneers need specialist knowledge as well as wide understanding of the art world. There are lots of careers and jobs associated with the fashion and textile industries outside of actual design. These include buying and merchandising, sales, marketing, PR, journalism, garment technology and product development.

If working for a museum, art gallery or theatre sounds appealing then you need to be dedicated, well qualified and persistent. Within the arts sector a common entry level role is as an arts administrator, which encompasses publicity, box office work, finance, basic admin and photocopying. Within this role you could work in a small arts centre or theatre where you may be needed to turn your hand to anything. Or as an arts administrator you could be employed by a number of smaller arts organisations where responsibilities are divided among staff.

Museum work for graduates is split between a jack-of-all-trades work and specialisation in the largest organisations. A typical entry level role is a museum or gallery exhibitions officer who organises exhibitions and events as well as possibly undertaking other admin duties. An officer might also have to research possible exhibits, arrange their loan, organise their transport and oversee their installation. Working on funding, publicity and catalogues could also be entailed.

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