Arts and Design Careers
If you’re contemplating a career as a graphic designer, animator, interior designer, or another creative position, and you want to find out more about it, you’ve come to the right place!
Each one of these career paths has its page where you can learn about educational requirements, job descriptions, salary expectations, as well as prospects.
3D Animators work with computer technology to digitally model and manipulate computer images.
Artist is a broad term that describes occupations in fine arts, crafts, desktop publishing and more.
Audio Engineer is involved with the recording, mixing, manipulation and reproduction of sound.
As a cartoon artist, your focus is on drawing cartoons, which may involve sketching and storyboarding.
A Face Painter;s duty is to draw and paint a variety of images on the Client's face.
Fashion Designers plan, design, develop and create new garments and accessories, or modify existing ones to suit current trends.
A Fashion Photographer is supposed to have sharp eyes and a unique style.
Floral designers use their knowledge to recommend flowers and designs to customers.
Glass blowers use a blowpipe to shape glassware from globs of molten glass.
Graphic designers create designs and layouts for everything from hot sauce packets to book jackets.
Illustrators are responsible for creating images that provoke a range of thoughts and emotions.
A interior decorator works closely with clients to bring together a variety of design elements.
Interior designers are tasked with designing, implementing and refurbishing interior spaces.
A painter's work varies depending on the discipline and industry they are in.
Photographer take photographs for weddings, graduations, and other event settings.
Sculptors create three-dimensional objects that are designed to give aesthetic appeal.
Tailors make and sometimes alter clothes to fit individual customers.
Tattoo artists use stencils and draw by hand to create original images and text on the skin of their clients.
A Textile Designer works within a budget and to deadlines, whilst keeping up with current trends and production techniques.
The Videographer will shoot footage and assist in editing videos.
Web designers utilize their skills as software programmers to change the look and feel of websites they design creatively.
What is an Art and Design Career?
In the art and design section are included careers that require visual creativity, dexterity, and the use of specific techniques.
This field includes professions such as art directors, interior designers, fine artists, graphic designers, photographers, and animators.
Many of these occupations have a big percentage of self-employed workers.
However, a significant number of artists and designers are employed by companies that provide specialized design services, in advertising, or publishing.
How to Start a Career in Art and Design
Education requirements for art and design careers depend on the exact occupation.
Besides formal education, an impressive portfolio is also important in any creative profession.
Usually, educational programs also focus on helping students create their first portfolio pieces.
Most fine artists and fashion designers have a bachelor’s degree, but a formal credential is not always needed for this profession.
A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for floral design positions, and many workers in this occupation receive on-the-job training.
Graphic designers usually have a degree in graphic design or fine arts, but a strong portfolio is a great way to showcase their skills to potential employers.
A bachelor’s degree and a strong portfolio are usually required for any entry-level industrial design position.
Interior designers typically need a bachelor’s degree in interior design, architecture, or a related field, but programs are also available at an associate or master’s degree level.
Special effects artists usually need a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field.
Most art directors have at least a bachelor’s degree in art or a related subject, and they typically have several years of experience in another art and design occupation before advancing to an art director position.
Besides artistic abilities and knowledge, there are also other important skills for art a design careers:
- Communication skills – these are a requirement, especially if you work directly with clients.
- Computer skills – in our day and age computers are used in many design careers, including graphic design, fashion design, and interior design.
- Time-management skills – it is very important to be able to make sure that each project that you work on is delivered on time.
- Business skills – artists need to promote themselves by showcasing their work on social media and other platforms.
Those who are self-employed need to also focus on their customer service skills and building a client base.
Self-employed artists and designers may also have to meet with clients directly to negotiate contracts and to promote their services.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a job rise of 4 percent is projected for occupations in the arts and design field by 2030, resulting in 37,000 new jobs.
The professions included by BLS in this category are art directors, craft and fine artists, fashion designers, floral designers, graphic designers, industrial designers, interior designers, and special effects artists and animators.
Job prospects vary widely depending on the profession.
While employment for animators is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, employment prospects for floral designers will decline 20 percent.
Those who specialize in video effects will be especially in demand in industries that create video games, movies, and smartphone applications, as well as in television.
Skilled workers will also be needed to create visually appealing layouts for websites and other platforms.
Other professions that will see a significant rise in employment opportunities are photographers, fine artists, art directors, and industrial designers.
Employment for craft and fine artists is expected to grow 14 percent, resulting in approximately 4,500 new jobs.
Employment for special effects artists and animators is also projected to grow by 16 percent.
Photographers also have good prospects, especially those who specialize in portrait photography or commercial photography.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for photographers will grow 17 percent from 2020 to 2030.
Art directors will see an employment growth of 11 percent.
There are also art and design professions, such as graphic designers or interior designers, which are expected to show little or no growth in employment prospects.
Many other factors can impact the number of new job openings, depending on the field.
For example, interior designers depend heavily on the construction industry and the number of new buildings that are developed in a specific region.
The job growth of fine artists is impacted by the fact that many machine-produced items that are less expensive are now designed to look like handmade works of art.
Although the demand for industrial designers is projected to grow, employment may be limited in some industries as fewer products are manufactured in the United States.
Regardless of the profession that you’re contemplating, you can improve your prospects of getting a good job by building a strong portfolio and by earning a degree in arts or design.
Knowing how to use multiple techniques and the latest technologies specific to your field can be a huge plus, as many occupations involve using design software.
The median annual wage for art and design professions was 49,600 as of May 2020, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This wage is higher than the average for all occupations, which was $41,950.
Wages, however, vary widely depending on the profession and many other factors.
The median annual wage reported by floral designers was $29,140, while art directors made $97,270.
Graphic designers earned $53,380 while fashion designers made $75,810 annually.
Those who specialize in creating animations and special visual effects reportedly made $77,700 per year, while craft and fine artists made a little over $49,000.
Many art and design workers earn a fixed salary but some are paid based on an hourly fee.
The median fee reported by photographers, for example, was $19.85 as of May 2020 but experience, portfolio, and skills play an important part in determining how much a photographer charges by the hour.
Entry-level photographers make less than $11 per hour while the most experienced ones earn more than $41.
As mentioned above, many people who work in the arts and design field are self-employed.
In this case, their earnings are influenced by their portfolio, marketing and customer services skills, and the number of projects they complete.
Many self-employed artists and designers have a client base that provides them with regular work, but earnings may fluctuate depending on the time of the year.
Salaries by Experience Level
For each one of these professions, salaries also vary depending on experience level.
For example, entry-level graphic designers make less than $40,000 per year, while the most experienced workers earn more than $90,000.
Fashion designers can make anywhere between less than $40,000 and more than $140,000.
As a special effects artist or animator, you can make anywhere between less than $40,000 and more than $140,000.
Salaries for interior designers range between less than $30,000 and more than $100,000 per year.
Entry-level floral designers usually start with a salary in the $20,000-$25,000 range, and only the most experienced make more than $40,000 per year.
A strong portfolio and a diploma or degree can sometimes make up for your lack of experience and may help you earn a higher starting salary.
Salaries by Industry of Employment
The industry of employment plays an important part in determining a worker’s salary, and this applies to arts and design professions as well.
For example, fashion designers in the motion pictures industry make $86,240 per year, on average, while those who work for wholesalers make $71,990.
The field of architectural and engineering services is one of the highest paying industries for industrial designers.
Those who worked in this sector reportedly made $80,360 per year, on average.
Industrial designers in the manufacturing sector, on the other hand, made $69,420 per year.
One of the best-paying industries for graphic designers is software publishing, a sector where workers in this profession earn $81,610 per year, on average.
Businesses that provide printing and related support activities remunerated their graphic designers with a median salary of $41,490 per year.
Salary by Region
The region of employment and the local economy can play an important part in determining how much an artist takes home each year.
For example, graphic designers in the District of Columbia earned $83,070 per year, on average, while those in Oklahoma made $42,370.
New York is the top-paying state for art directors, with a median annual wage calculated at $142,210.
Mississippi is one of the lowest-paying states for this profession, with a median annual salary of $65,080.
The top-paying states for photographers are the District of Columbia and New York- with median salaries calculated at more than $70,000 per year.
Photographers in Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina, on the other hand, usually make less than $40,000 per year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a career in arts and design right for me?
If you’re a creative person who has good artistic abilities, a career in the field of arts and design can be a sound option for you.
However, depending on the exact profession you are targeting, you will also need additional skills, such as communication and business skills, time-management abilities, or computer skills.
How do I start a career in arts and design?
Although higher education is not always a requirement, many workers in the art and design sector earn a degree in fine arts or a related field.
Many educational institutions offer art and design programs that teach students the skills and techniques of their specific field.
During college, most artists start building a portfolio that showcases their artistic abilities.
What are the best paying art and design jobs?
The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the experience level and the industry of employment.
According to the numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest median annual wage was reported by art directors, a profession that usually requires several years of experience in another creative position, such as graphic design or fine arts.
Art directors earned $97,270 per year, on average, but salaries range between less than $50,000 and more than $200,000 depending on experience level, portfolio, reputation, and a variety of other factors.
The second-highest median annual wage, $77,700, was reported by special effects artists and animators.
The lowest 10 percent of all animators made less than $42,390 per year, while the top 10 percent made more than $142,750.
Will art and design professions be in demand in the future?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected job growth for art and design jobs is calculated at 4 percent by 2030.
Prospects vary widely depending on the artistic field.
Employment prospects will look particularly good for fine artists, art directors, and photographers.
Floral designers, on the other hand, will see a decline in employment opportunities.