Working in arts, craft and design with a degree (or similar)

With an art, craft or design-related degree or similar qualification and a portfolio of your work, you could find work in a design studio or craft workshop.

While a degree in a relevant subject will help, experience is important too. You might need to work for free or on a low salary to gain experience. If you want to set up your own studio or workshop and sell your work, you will need to think about developing your business skills.

Example jobs

Graphic designer

Creates initial ideas and works up to produce final graphic designs.

Furniture designer

Designs and creates furniture.

Community arts manager

Works with groups to encourage the use of art to improve people’s lives.

Jewellery designer

Designs and creates jewellery.

Photographer

Takes pictures for lots of different uses, from creative to technical.

Potter or Ceramist

Designs and creates pottery objects from clay.

Fine artist or sculptor

Creates their own 2D or 3D art for sale.

Case study

I design the look of packaging and all marketing materials. This includes anything that's printed, for example, logos, brochures and exhibition panels.

Jake, senior designer at a graphic design company

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Many people work freelance or are self-employed. This means that you will only be paid for the hours you work.

If you work for yourself, you will only be paid when you sell your work. It is common for people to do a number of different projects or jobs at a time to earn a living.

Pay level graph

Typical working conditions

You might work in:

  • your own studio or workshop creating your own designs, items or pieces, selling your work in shops or at fairs
  • a company’s studio or workshop producing work under instruction or for a client
  • in an office, designing things on a computer
  • in different locations, running community projects.

Many people in the industry are self-employed or work freelance. You will need basic business and sales skills to help you do this. Hours may be long or irregular.

Qualifications needed

  • A degree or foundation degree in a relevant subject is useful, but more importantly you will need a strong portfolio of your work.
  • Relevant experience will also help. Employers will also want to see good English and maths skills, as well as experience of using relevant software.

Career path

Career paths in this industry are flexible.

  • Many people continue to gain new skills and study new techniques throughout their careers.
  • Progression and an increase in pay will come with experience.
  • You might want to work your way up in large design agencies.
  • Or you might want to set up your own studio or workshop.

Useful links

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Creative Choices