Arts And Design

You don't have to wield a palette and paintbrush to work in these fields (although it can't hurt)! Professionals in this category contribute their artistic skills and concepts in a variety of industries. Some artists choose traditional work in drawing, painting, and sculpting; others use computer programs to create, animate, or publish their designs. Careers may involve everything from the pencil to Photoshop, from fashion to industrial design.

Unsurprisingly, jobs in this category are highly competitive. There are fewer options for fine artists than, say, industrial designers, but it depends directly on the category of art and the industry of employment. Computer-based art and design is popular and has wide application possibilities. Animators and multimedia artists use computer technology to create visual effects, cartoons, and video games; graphic designers create and manipulate text and imagery for websites, magazines, and other printed work.

Other careers put non-artistic skills to work along with a traditional art education. Interior and industrial designers combine additional training in business, engineering, and architecture with more classic artistic skills. They work closely with clients, architects, and engineers to create products and spaces that are appealing and attractive. Designers have the option to focus on a specific category or area, such as sustainable design, which benefits from additional knowledge and training.

Tasks include:

  • Researching and locating ideas, materials, and locations needed for future projects
  • Creating designs and concepts to present to potential clients
  • Identifying the measures for the project's success in the eyes of the artist and the client, monitoring progress of the project, and ensuing that expectations are met when finished
  • Collaborating with team-members on larger projects while maintaining quality and consistency
  • Developing ideas and styles that will appeal to the designated audience, whether that be a consumer, gallery owner, publisher, or team manager
  • Producing high caliber work while adhering to deadlines and budget limits


For many artists, a degree is just the beginning. Anyone can be an artist; but getting employed as one takes some work. Professional artists and designers beautifully create and express ideas, with style and finesse. Whether contributing to the architectural blueprint of a new building or designing a new fashion line, professional artistry is respected and valued.

Getting hired, though, relies on a combination of education, work experience, mastery of technique, and overall artistic skill. Some job categories, like floral designing or crafts, do not necessarily require formal training or a degree. In those cases, classes or on-the-job training may be of more use than a classroom. In these instances, certification may be possible, which then testifies to the artist's high level of skill and abilities to future employers and customers. Interior designers, on the other hand, have to pass a state exam in some states, in addition to a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience. And some professions require a bachelor's degree because the job will draw on a variety of skills of an advanced nature. Computer animation, for example, requires not only a complete understanding of the technology used for the work, but comprehensive art and design training, also.


  • Artistic ability Architects and engineers must be able to carefully evaluate all aspects of their projects to ensure all activity adheres to the designed process. Few plans, however, are perfect, so well-honed problem solving skills are highly valued as well.
  • Business skills. Solid artistic skill is necessary for success. The artist or designer's goal is to express an idea on the page (or cloth, model, screen, wall, or other impressionable surface) that can be used, modified, or appreciated in any number of ways. Training and technique in an artistic medium sharpen the artist's skills and bridge the gap between artistic intent and professional content..
  • Creativity. To be an artist is to be creative; to be a professional is to be an artist with a paycheck. Artists and designers find new, different, and pleasing ways to develop and express ideas. They have to complete projects despite complications and restrictions, and find creative solutions wherever possible.!
  • Versatility. Artists and designers who can work with a variety of materials and conditions have a better chance for employment. A fine art degree holder with training in traditional techniques and cutting edge computer applications has more to offer and can apply those skills in more fields.


Job prospects in this category are hard to predict. Even in a good economy, an artist or designer may have difficulty finding work. This will also vary depending on the industry he or she wants to work in-for more information, take a look at our individual career pages for artist and designers.

  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Art directors Art directors

While all education in the fine arts can be preparation for this work, a bachelor's degree in art, fine art, or design is typically the minimum requirement for this position. Some workers pursue a graduate degree and earn a Master of Fine Arts, in addition.

Bachelor's degree $80,880
Craft and fine artists Craft and fine artists

A craft and fine artist does not have to have a degree or higher education in order to work. Many artists do take classes and earn degrees in the artistic discipline they find interesting. Although it is unfortunately less common now than the past, K-12 public schools often offer art classes. Many colleges offer fine arts degrees, and some fine artists pursue formal, higher education that trains them in not only artistic skill and technique but history and appreciation, as well.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,380
Fashion designers Fashion designers

While a degree is not always mandatory to find work as a fashion designer, most designers earn one as a part of their training and education. Fashion design or a closely related field is the typical subject, with additional emphasis on artistic training and computer skills.

Art and design schools and programs may have prerequisites, and applicants must have prior art education.

Bachelor's degree $62,860
Floral designers Floral designers

A high school diploma is not mandatory for this occupation, but floral designers typically have one. Community colleges, vocational schools, and other programs offer training, associate' degrees, and bachelor's degrees in flower design.

High school diploma or equivalent $23,810
Graphic designers Graphic designers

Students who want to be graphic designers can start preparing in high school by taking classes in art and design where possible. They may also have to submit examples of their work before being admitted to a degree program. Ultimately, graphic designers usually need a bachelor's degree in their field. Coursework involves traditional artistic training alongside computer design skills and other computer-based education. Over the course of their career, designers will need to keep current with new computer software and technology as it evolves.

Bachelor's degree $44,150
Industrial designers Industrial designers

Basic classes in art and design are often required before a student is admitted to an accredited program. Industrial designers usually need a bachelor's degree in industrial design, engineering, or other related field. They need training not only in the principles and techniques of design, but also in the computer programs employed for the majority of their work.

Bachelor's degree $59,610
Interior designers Interior designers

Typically, interior designers earn a bachelor's degree before seeking employment, but it is possible to get associate's and graduate degrees, as well. Prior to entering a degree program, however, future designers may have to show examples of artistic work and also have a high school diploma.

Bachelor's degree $47,600
Multimedia artists and animators Multimedia artists and animators

While it is not required, it doesn't hurt for artists to take classes in high school dedicated to art, design, and computer skills. Generally, a bachelor's degree is required, typically in fine arts, computer graphics, or related field; some schools offer more specialized degrees for a particular aspect of artistic media. Education in these programs may combine traditional art and design coursework with computer skills and programming.

Bachelor's degree $61,370
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