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What does it mean to study Design?

Designers use their artistic vision to turn creative ideas into concrete products--fashions, interiors, industrial logos, movie sets, web sites.

What kind of person makes a good designer?
If you want a career in design, you'll need creativity, of course. And you'll need business skills, too--regardless of the branch of design you choose for your career. You should have a talent for figuring out what people really need and giving it to them, as design is a consumer-driven career path. Good communication skills and flair are other musts. You need entrepreneurial abilities, too, since one in three designers is self-employed.

Why study Design?
Design attracts creative types who are passionate about their products and their careers. The contestants on Tommy Hilfiger's reality show "The Cut" prove that design attracts a diverse group. Earnings vary with the type of design that you do--from an average of $20,000 in window dressing careers to a high of six figures or more for successful commercial, industrial or graphic designers. The sky's the limit for designers at the top.

How to become a Designer
On-the-job training, or a few months in floral school, is enough study to make you a floral designer. You can get an entry level job in some design specializations with a Certificate, A.A., or A.S. degree. Lots of people want these careers though, so you're best off to complete a four-year bachelor's degree in design and include an internship in your studies as well. The design field is highly competitive. However, employment growth in design careers will expand with the economy.

What's it like to have a Design career?
For the first one to three years, you'll essentially be an apprentice designer, learning career skills on the job. You'll determine your customer's needs, sketch preliminary designs, and turn approved designs into products--probably using computer aided design (CAD). If you want to know more about Design careers, contact the National Association of Schools of Art and Design

Occupational Outlook Handbook
Exploring Careers. JIST Publishing, Inc. 2003.

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