Design Artists: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 06, 2019

Learn about the educational requirements for design artists. Find out what type of work is performed as well as salary and employment outlook in order to make an informed career decision.

Career Definition for a Design Artist

Most consumer goods, from your favorite chair to your favorite canned soup, begin with a design concept. A design artist might be responsible for developing eye-catching product packaging or building the prototype of an innovative suitcase. Whatever their passion, design artists work in a creative environment either alone or with a team of other creative people to produce new designs or improve existing ones. A design artist may also create digital art to sell at a local gallery or present an interior design concept to new homeowners.

Education Associate's or bachelor's degree in art design
Job Skills Computer skill, creativity, dexterity, interpersonal skill
Median Salary (2017) $48,700 (all graphic designers)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 4% (all graphic designers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

The education required for a design artist depends greatly on his or her career goal. Those wanting to work in fashion may need a 2- or 4-year degree in fashion design. Aspiring graphics artists will need a bachelor's degree in graphic design for most entry-level positions. Finding employment as an interior designer typically requires the completion of a 2- or 4-year program. In all of these cases, coursework may include such topics as CAD (computer aided design), art history, color theory and principles of design.

Skills Required

Creativity and an eye for pleasing design are invaluable assets for the design artist. Strong interpersonal skills will be necessary if your career path includes working as a team member with other designers or working with demanding clients. The ability to manage both money and time will help the design artist when completing projects for others. As a creative person, a design artist must have confidence in his or her own vision and be able to communicate that vision to others.

Career and Economic Outlook

The opportunities for a design artist are varied, as is the economic outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( projects slower than average growth of 4% in opportunities for design artists working as interior designers from 2016-2026, while employment for graphic designers is expected to grow 4% in this period. It also recorded a median annual income for interior designers of $51,500 in 2017. In the same year, design artists employed as graphic designers earned a median wage of $48,700, and fashion designers earned a median wage of $67,420.

Alternative Careers

Individuals seeking careers in graphic or interior design may be interested in multimedia art and landscape architecture.

Multimedia Artist

For those interested in designing digital effects for movies, television and video games, becoming a multimedia artist could be a good career move. Multimedia artists research story ideas, create a plan of what graphics and effects are needed, utilize computer software to generate images and work with other designers, editors and developers to produce the finished product. A bachelor's degree in computer graphics, art or a related field is necessary in order to obtain a position in this profession. Employers will also want to see a portfolio of an artist's best work. According to the BLS, 8% employment growth is projected for multimedia artists between 2016 and 2026, resulting in the creation of 6,200 new positions. These artists should expect to earn a median salary of $70,530, as shown in 2017 figures from the BLS.

Landscape Architect

If coming up with designs that transform outdoor spaces into beautiful artistic creations sounds intriguing, consider a career in landscape architecture. Sometimes referred to as landscape designers, landscape architects learn about what is desired and then proceed to draw up plans, select materials, calculate costs and coordinate the installation. To enter the field, a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture is the minimum educational requirement and some professionals choose to pursue a master's degree. Licensing is also required in almost every state and involves the completion of an approved educational program, working in an apprenticeship with a licensed landscape architect and passing an exam. In May of 2017, the BLS estimated the yearly median income of a landscape architect to be $65,760. Job opportunities for landscape architects are expected to increase by 6% from 2016-2026.

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