The Design and Architecture Industry: Jobs, Skills and Job Outlook
The Design and Architecture sectors comprise a wide range of professions, all of which involve in some way conceptualizing and giving visual form to ideas and designs and creating objects that are both beautiful to look at and practical to use.
The Design industry includes a range of specialist roles. Graphic Designers and Web Designers, for example, make creative use of line, colour and other graphical elements to create logos, images, websites and other visual products, while Industrial Designers and Product Designers produce designs for all kinds of physical objects, from cars to home appliances. The job of an Interior Designer, meanwhile, is to create visually appealing and harmonious interior spaces with a unique, distinctive style.
The work of an Architect, on the other hand, involves envisioning and designing buildings, spaces and other architectural structures that combine functionality with aesthetic appeal.
Aesthetics are a key factor in the work of both architects and designers. Equally important factors, however, are a product’s technical and functional characteristics, as these will determine its manufacturability and usability.
In addition, most types of design projects are obliged to meet a range of specific requirements set by the client. The most obvious of these are the budget constraints, with others including the constructability of a building and the suitability of an object for large scale production.
Design and Architecture professionals require extensive training in their field. In many cases, a university degree - for example in architecture, interior design or industrial product design - represents the minimum requirement.
What types of businesses operate in the Design and Architecture industries?
Design and Architecture professionals are often employed by agencies providing design and communication or product and packaging design services, advertising agencies, publishing houses and architectural firms and interior design firms.
Larger companies with significant resources - for example in the automotive sector, home furnishing or fashion sectors - may recruit their own in-house designers. Finally, many Designers, Web Designers and architects work as freelancers.
Companies hiring in the Design and Architecture industries:
Design and Architecture - Trends and Job Outlook
The digital and information revolution has had a profound effect on the design and architecture industries. The traditional tools of the trade - e.g. pencils, drafting tables, set squares and compasses - are now being supplemented - and in some cases have been completely replaced - by digital drafting and design tools such as CAD, while today’s architects and designers have a range of innovative tools and techniques at their disposal, such as 3D design and printing and virtual and augmented reality.
The advent of digital technologies and the internet has also led to the emergence of a series of new professions offering excellent career prospects, such as Web Designer and UI/UX (User Interface e User eXperience) expert.
What skills are required in the Design and Architecture industry?
Transforming an idea into a design project requires a series of transversal skills that all design and architecture professionals should have.
Whether they are working on paper or digitally, employing a technical or artistic approach, the job of a design and architecture professionals is to give precise, detailed, tangible visual form to an idea.
The aim of design is to create impactful visual solutions. Design professionals use their creative skills to give a unique distinctive look to the object, building or graphic element they are designing, while at the same time satisfying the constraints and specifications set by the client.
Aesthetics and taste
In other words, the ability to skilfully employ and combine together line, colour, shape, form, tone, pattern and texture. Whether they are designing a sofa or a website, a sense of what constitutes a harmonious visual composition is essential for all design professionals.
Anybody wishing to pursue a career in the Design and Architecture industry needs to be able to use digital design tools and applications such as drafting software, CAD and 3D modelling and rendering programs.
Time management and organizational skills
Since practically all projects will have a deadline of some sort, designers and architects need to be able to organize their work to ensure they can meet them. This ability is even more important when working for clients on a freelance basis, as punctuality and the ability to meet deadlines is a key factor in establishing and maintaining ongoing professional relationships.