Art and Design

Art and Design Image

Do you have creative flair and like to use your imagination? Maybe you enjoy designing or making things using different materials? If you have good practical ability, or always have some sort of creative idea going through your head, then art and design is a great career area for you to think about. 

Artists and designers are involved in designing and creating almost everything we buy, from book covers to high fashion and furniture. They create works of art in many different forms, from paintings and textiles to sculptures and photographs.

The UK government’s latest report shows that the creative industries sector contributed £109bn to the UK economy. It saw a faster recovery in employment compared to the rest of the UK economy after the pandemic, where jobs increased by 5.1% compared to the previous year. In 2021, it had an estimated 3 million jobs, accounting for 7% of all jobs in the UK. 

What areas can I work in?

According to the Student Art Guide, there are over 150 careers to choose from in art and design!

You can work in areas such as furniture design, book illustration, animation, or household appliance design to fashion design and special effects for films and TV.

Art and design roles fall into the following areas: 3 dimensional design, fashion or textile design, fine art or graphic design, interior design or display and photography.

To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.

What kind of companies can I work for?

Possible employers include: 

What’s the job market like?

There is a huge amount of competition for full time work in the art and design world, with many people working on a self-employed or part time basis. According to the Prospects website, the creative industries are mostly made up of small companies, the majority employing 10 people or fewer.

Art and Design graduates often find it takes time, and relevant work experience, to build up a portfolio and develop the contacts for freelance or commissioned work. So, it’s not always easy to make a living, and many artists take on other jobs with a steady income so they can survive when freelance work is in short supply.

Design in the UK is at the forefront of new developments, with design services increasingly employed in healthcare, for the digital age, or for services.

In March 2022, there were 13,285 registered enterprises operating in the Creative Industries growth sector, representing 7.6% of all registered businesses in Scotland. In 2021, employment in this area was highest in Glasgow and City of Edinburgh. 

As of December 2022, there were 4,300 people working as full time professional artists, 9,400 as graphic and multimedia designers, and 4,000 in design occupations including interior designers, and clothing, fashion and accessories designers. 

Facts and figures

  • From the academic year 2019/20, 36.4% of fine art graduates in the UK found full time employment within 15 months of graduating. Of those, 25.8% worked as art, design and media professionals, and 22.2% worked as retail, catering, waiting and bar staff. 
  • Every year trends show that design graduates have the highest rate of full time employment in this career area, at 53.1%. Of those, 39.3% found work as art, design and media professionals. Graphic designer and multimedia designer are still the most common jobs. 
  • In 2022 wedding photography was the largest segment of the photography industry in the UK. Advertising and fashion photography were estimated to account for 20.5% of industry revenue; commercial and industrial photography 12%; and school and graduation photography 8.1%. 
  • According to Skills Development Scotland, in the visual arts sector, Graphic Designer ranked amongst the top 3 job postings. Graphic design was also ranked amongst the top 3 specialised skills in demand in the visual arts sector. 
  • In 2022 the medium weekly full time salary in the Scottish creative industries sector was £623.40 - lower than the Scottish average at £640.50. 

Want to find out more?

Why not take a look at the Discover Creative Careers website for information on getting into the arts? You will find information specifically about visual arts and crafts careers. You can also find detailed information about entry into the animation careers by visiting the ScreenSkills website.



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Career Pathway

Art and Design Career Pathway
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