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'Design' can mean many things to different people. For our purposes, a design is a plan or a blueprint for a visual work or product. But even this definition takes in many processes.

For example, a building design is a guide to how a planned building will look when it is finished. Product designers on the other hand will take product ideas and develop them into genuine products, not just a design on paper but a full concept of how it will function and what purpose it will serve.

Whatever the field, designers will need skills relevant to the area they work in, drawing on artistic, scientific and technological knowledge in the design process.

There are many broad categories of design discipline. Some of the most significant are product design; fashion and textiles; structures and places; digital design; visual communications; TV and film, and strategic design.

Interior design is the formulation of creative, technical and practical solutions to an interior space. It goes beyond furniture, atmosphere and colour, to materials specification and cost. Interior design solves problems of access, specification, acoustics, ergonomics, heating, lighting, internal arrangement and the suitability of space for its purpose. 

Potential careers as a designer include sectors as diverse as fashion, automobile manufacturing or video games. The type of work undertaken will be very different in each. Digital design is now the dominant method, so computer literacy and an ability to learn new applications is important. This means skills you may be required to call on include computer design software, digital images, audio processing or data visualization.

Occupations in Design
(sorted by Job Zone)

Ceramics Designer

Ceramics designers create designs for three-dimensional pottery products such as kitchenware, table and ovenware, tiles, bathroom accessories, decorative pieces etc.

Costume Design Assistant - TV/Film

Works alongside the Costume Designer to look after all the clothes and costumes used in a production.

Metal Engraver

Inscribes artwork, designs and lettering into various types of metals .


Designs and creates hats, working from images to make new shapes and forms.

Tattoo Artist

Uses needles and pigments to apply a permanent design directly to a client's body, injecting ink under a layer of skin.

Costume Designer

Design costumes and stage sets for television, film and theatrical productions.

Designer / Maker - Craft

Crafts-based 'designer-makers' create products that bring together art, form and functionality for commercial purposes.

Digital Media Designer

Creates special effects, animation, and visual images for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, music videos, and commercials.

Provides detailed drawings of a proposed construction to scale.
Designs workplace equipment specifically to ensure the health, safety, and productivity of workers.
Fashion Designer

Designs and creates all kinds of clothes and fashion accessories.

Furniture Designer / Maker

Produces concepts and designs for interesting, aesthetic, and functional furniture and related products.


Glass  Makers and Glass Artists make all kinds of glass objects from the glass for windows and bottles, to drinking vessels, tableware, ornaments and sculptural objects.


Designs, constructs, maintains, and repairs timepieces such as watches, clocks, or precision laboratory equipment.

Industrial/Product Designer

Industrial designers, or product designers as they are sometimes called, design just about every consumer product and capital equipment imaginable for large scale production.

Jeweller / Silversmith / Goldsmith

Sells, designs, makes and repairs wearable and decorative or functional objects such as rings, earrings, necklaces, watches and tableware using using both precious and non-precious metals and stones, and other materials such as glass, plastic, paper and fabrics.

Makes a miniature-scaled version of buildings, ships and other development or construction designs.
Musical Instrument Technician

Designs and makes musical instruments and also carries out repairs, maintenance and restoration work.

Potter / Ceramicist

Designs and makes utensils and ornaments from clay and water.

Designs and creates statues, artistic objects and figures by moulding and carving from various materials.
Textile Designer

Create designs for printed, woven and knitted fabrics, carpets and wall-coverings

Theatre / Television Designer

Theatre/television designers create or select exterior and interior scenes for theatrical or television/film productions.


Designs, plans and directs the construction of buildings of all kinds and sizes, and changes to existing buildings.

Architectural Technician / Technologist

Plays a coordinating role in the technical design elements at the centre of the building design process.

CAD Technician
Uses a computer and special software to produce detailed drawings and designs.
Packaging Designer

Packaging designers create designs for containers such as bottles, cartons and boxes.

Transport Design Engineer

Transport designers design transport such as cars, boats and aeroplanes. They must be aware of the principles of engineering, production methods and the needs of transport users.

Architect - Conservation

A fully qualifed Architect skilled in the principles and practice of the Conservation of old buildings and heritage sites.