In Summary - Furniture Designer / Maker
Furniture Designer / Makers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos & Interviews
Videos on the Web
- Furniture Designer / Maker- from: Youtube Search
- Furniture Designers - from: YouTube Video
The Work - Furniture Designer / Maker
Furniture designers / makers create designs for mass-produced and handcrafted furniture products. The most common products they design are those that are found in homes and offices, such as chairs, tables and bookcases.
The first stage is to put together a design brief. The designer discusses with the client what type of furniture they need, its function, what type of person the product is to appeal to and the budget available. In large companies, in-house designers usually receive the design brief from senior management or marketing departments.
Before any designs can be produced, furniture designers need to investigate the designs that are already available. They gather information about how well these designs are selling, and customers' reactions to the existing products. This stage often involves collecting and analysing market research.
When they have completed their research, furniture designers make rough sketches. Once senior management and/or clients have approved these, designers produce more detailed drawings that show the sizes of the product and any written instructions. The designer may have to prepare mock-ups of products to show other people what the product looks like and how well it stands up to wear and tear.
Self-employed designer-craft workers carry out all these tasks themselves. They usually rely on commissions from individuals who want original one-off pieces of furniture made to their specific requirements. To produce the finished item, the designer-craft worker often uses traditional craft methods. They use a range of equipment, such as hand tools, lathes, and machine saws, using techniques such as veneering, wood turning, carving, wood finishing, and upholstery.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Prepare sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork, or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided design equipment.
- Confer with engineering, marketing, production, or sales departments, or with customers, to establish and evaluate design concepts for manufactured products.
- Modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
- Direct and coordinate the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches.
- Evaluate feasibility of design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
- Present designs and reports to customers or design committees for approval, and discuss need for modification.
- Investigate product characteristics such as the product's safety and handling qualities, its market appeal, how efficiently it can be produced, and ways of distributing, using and maintaining it.
- Develop manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to improve operations and product quality.
- Research production specifications, costs, production materials and manufacturing methods, and provide cost estimates and itemized production requirements.
- Participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Interests - Furniture Designer / Maker
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
As a furniture designer, you will need to be:
- Artistic and inventive
- Flexible enough to adapt your designs to suit company house styles and clients' requirements
- Able to work creatively and logically through the design process, seeking original and practical solutions to design problems
- Aware of the production possibilities and limitations of materials that are used to manufacture furniture products, for example wood, metal and plastic.
Practical craft skills are especially important for self-employed designer-craft workers as are business skills.
Communication and presentation skills are especially important when dealing with clients and when managing projects.
Entry Requirements - Furniture Designer / Maker
Pay & Salary - Furniture Designer / Maker
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 31k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.