Where Will Your Art and Design Degree Take You?

You’ve finally gained your degree in art and design; but what next? You may have to wait many years to succeed as a professional artist, but there are other exciting options available; here are just a few.

Art gallery manager

You need good artistic awareness, general business acumen and strong interpersonal skills for this role. It’s exciting and varied and also gives you the opportunity to travel the world and work in the great cultural cities; London, Paris, Rome, New York, Vienna and Berlin.

Your days would be spent working in your gallery, negotiating art sales, assessing artwork, cataloguing, recording and archiving acquisitions and promoting the gallery.

Natural sales aptitude is also very important as you are usually paid on a commission basis and you will be expected to meet sales targets as determined by the gallery owner.

Graphic designer

A natural flair for creativity and design is an obvious must for this role but you’ll also need the ability to be able to understand and interpret complicated client instructions and briefs. You’ll need to have strong communication skills as you’ll be meeting clients to discuss their needs and work out how best to produce work that fulfils their requirements within pre-determined timescales.

Your daily work activities would include developing ideas and design briefs, presenting them to clients and preparing designs using various different software applications; Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop, for example. These days, you’ll need a good working knowledge of web technology, motion graphics and film too.


As an illustrator you’d be creating drawings, diagrams or paintings for use in anything from adverts and books to websites and even product packaging. Illustrators are generally self-employed freelancers which gives them the opportunity to take on a wide range of projects, so your work would never be repetitive or boring.

On a daily basis you would; liaise with clients and provide drafts for their approval and create designs either through drawing, painting or by using software packages. It would be your responsibility to make sure that projects are completed on time and on budget.

Interior designer

This role entails designing internal spaces; that could be private homes, to offices, conference centres or event venues. You’ll need an eye for detail and the ability to communicate and organise.

This is potentially a very demanding role where you’d be responsible for wearing many different hats. You would work on developing conceptual designs using ‘mood boards’; you would research potential materials and work out costings for them by liaising with third party suppliers. A sound knowledge of CAD (computer-aided design) packages is required as you’d have to work-up detailed, to scale drawings using this software. Most of your projects would entail working alongside other designers as well as contractors and manufacturers so you also need to be a team player.

Getting a break

Although all the creative industries are growing all the time, there is strong competition for entry-level positions and a degree is pretty much a given. What will make the difference between getting an interview and a job however, is being able to impress an employer with examples of your work. A website where you can showcase your creativity is an absolute must and you might also want to consider entering exhibitions, design competitions or fashion shows to help get your name out there and get yourself noticed.

In conclusion

The world of art and design is an exciting and expanding one with plenty of scope for those with talent and enthusiasm. When you start your search for work, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and maybe head in a different direction to that which you originally had in mind.

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at

Alison Page

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