Design Navigational Guide: Best Concentrations in Design

design degrees

Henry Ford was once quoted as saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” The production of the Model T Ford changed the course of history for the average man, as he designed and manufactured the first automobile that the common man could afford to purchase for themselves. If not for Mr. Ford, we could have all been riding horses rather than in the cars of today; however, through his ingenious design, we can now travel in luxury. But, of course, this didn’t happen overnight. It started with the process of design.

Do you have an idea for a product that you think others would enjoy or find useful? Or perhaps you are the artistic type and love to decorate or paint. Do you enjoy constructing the occasional birdhouse, or would you like to build a skyscraper or your dream home? It all starts with a design. The idea of “design” indicates the process in which an idea or vision is brought through to fruition, from one’s mind to reality. The “in between” process can be rather lengthy and takes a designer to carry it out from the start to the finish line.

With today’s technological advancements, the field of design offers a variety of concentrations and can be applied in any application. Most designs begin as a sketch. From a drawing, designers can implement their plans by doing research, building models, estimating costs, considering the legalities and safety aspects, as well as, overseeing the actual production of the product.

Designers, of any type, strive to produce products that are functional and useable, as well as, aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Some designer’s wares create excitement or fun! A sense of imagination is often needed to be a designer and a whole lot of ingenuity. Saul Bass, an American filmmaker and graphic designer, stated it best when he said, “Design is thinking made visual.”

Of course, everyone is not cut out to be in the field of design. Designers must be detail-oriented, a good communicator and an excellent listener. You must be in tune with what people need to offer meaningful solutions. Being an observant individual is key to a designer’s success, as well as, sheer determination. Most definitely, a designer must be passionate about their designs. What interests you the most? What would be helpful in your daily activities? In what field should you be a designer? As you think about these questions, you will realize that your hobby can become your career, if you choose. Would you like to design clothes? Or, jewelry? Do you have an exciting idea for a video game? Are you interested in architecture or building bridges? You are only genuinely limited by your own imagination!

If you are interested in design as a career, here are a few concentrations that you may want to consider:

Architectural Design
Bridge & Road Design
Computer Design
Engineering Design
Fashion Design
Floral Design
Graphic Design
Interior Design
Jewelry Design
Multimedia Art & Animation Design
Theme Park Design
Video Game Design
Web Design

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ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

architecture design degree

An architectural designer lays out plans for building structures and landscapes. They begin with an idea or vision and see the project through to completion. They generally produce 3-D models for their clients, as well as, overseeing the cost estimation, budget, contract, and construction process. To begin your career as an architectural designer, you must earn an online Bachelor of Architecture or Civil Drafting and Civil Engineering degree. For hands-on experience, an internship may be required. Additional certifications can be obtained for career advancements. The average salary for an architect is $78,470 per year, as of May 2017 according to the BLS, with the highest paid earning upwards of $134,610 or more annually, depending on experience.

BRIDGE AND ROAD DESIGN

bridge and road design

A bridge and road designer, also often called a civil engineer, is responsible for keeping our infrastructure running smoothly. They are trained to design roads, bridges, dams, and tunnels, as well as, sewage and water supply systems. As they begin their projects from ideas or sketches, they focus on their plan to completion as they are also working outdoors on construction sites. You will need an online Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree, generally in a specific concentration. Civil engineers typically must hold a state license when providing services for the public. To gain a senior position, you will need a graduate degree. The BLS reports the average salary for a civil engineer was $84,770 annually, as of May 2017.

COMPUTER DESIGN

computer design degree

Computer design offers a wide array of employment opportunities. Without a doubt, it is one of the most popular degree fields that college students choose to pursue today. Whether you select a career as a software developer, computer programmer, computer hardware engineer or as a user experience designer, you can put to good use your creativity and imagination through the process of design. As of May of 2017, the BLS reported salaries ranging from $80,928 to upwards of $120,000 annually for careers in the scope of computer design and the like. Due to the complexity of all computer-based jobs, you will need to earn an online Bachelor of Computer Science degree or a degree within a similar field, depending on your concentration choice.

ENGINEERING DESIGN

engineering design degree

An engineering designer’s position can be found in most any industry. As the field is growing exponentially, your technological, scientific and mathematical skills will be utilized while designing and constructing all types of systems and devices. Careers in the field of engineering design can be found in the form of a nuclear engineer, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, aerospace engineer, and petroleum engineer, as well as, an environmental and biomedical engineer, among others. Salaries can range from $78,000 per year to $166,000 annually, depending on your concentration and experience. To begin, you will need to obtain an online bachelor’s degree specific to your career focus.

FASHION DESIGN

fashion design degree

Perhaps you would like to put your good fashion sense to work. A fashion designer’s duties include sketching design ideas, selecting fabrics and sewing garments. Also, you will need to know how to market and sell your creations. Fashion designers can earn diplomas or certifications from a trade school to learn how to hone their skills; however, you can also obtain an online associate or bachelor’s degree in this field, as well. Marketing and business degrees are also beneficial, as well as, hands-on experience. As you create original accessories, footwear, and clothing, employers often search for beginners with a sense of creativity and merchandising expertise. The BLS reports a median salary of $67,420 annually for the fashion designer; however, many factors, such as your experience, clientele, and sheer determination will allow for significant increases throughout your career.

FLORAL DESIGN

floral design degree

Perhaps the floral designer takes home the award for most creativity in the world of design. No doubt, a floral designer is a professional who “creates” with the beauties of nature. Floral designers use both live flowers, as well as, silk flowers to design beautiful arrangements, bouquets or bereavement displays. You can easily earn an online diploma or certificate for floral design while attending workshops or a trade school in your community. Most often, on-the-job training is also required. Floral designers earn between $26,350 and $39,540 annually, according to the BLS as of May 2017. By the way, if you aspire to open your own flower shop, you’ll have a higher earning potential eventually as your business flourishes.

GRAPHIC DESIGN

graphic design degree

A graphic designer earns approximately $48,700 per year, according to the BLS, as of May 2017; however, the highest ten percent earned upwards of $83,140 annually. In this position, graphic designers are the creative minds behind their inspirations to adorn advertisements, magazines, websites, brochures, and other types of media. A graphic designer can create designs through their sketches or by means of computer software. They must choose artistic effects, such as an arrangement, size, color and style to accommodate the client’s request. To begin in this type of design field, you will need an online Bachelor of Graphic Design degree or a related field. You’ll want to establish a portfolio of your work to present to potential employers. Also, graphic designers are often self-employed.

INTERIOR DESIGN

interior design degree

Often homes, businesses, restaurants or companies need a facelift or re-design. Interior designers can either design a space from their own visions or update an area through a remodel based on a customer’s request. Creativity and an eye for color are very important in this field, for many times clients will give you, the expert, the freedom to design as you so desire. To get the best job assignments, an interior designer needs to have completed an online Bachelor of Interior Design degree program. According to the BLS in May of 2017, interior designers earned $51,500 annually.

JEWELRY DESIGN

jewelry design degree

If you are a jewelry lover and would like to make your own beautiful pieces, why not consider a career in jewelry design? Tap into your creative side to develop a trademark brand or line of jewelry that you can be proud of through an online trade school program in jewelry design. Online certification and diploma programs in jewelry design are easily attainable. There are many concentrations within the field of jewelry besides design to consider, such as fine jewelry repair.  You may also choose to specialize in costume jewelry, diamonds, gemology, or precious metals. Jewelers, precious stone and metal workers, according to the BLS as of May 2017, earn approximately $37,960 annually. In New York City, jewelry designers made between $50,000 and $78,000 per year as of October 2018, according to Glassdoor. If you are a budding entrepreneur, you can choose to open your own jewelry design business and make huge profits!

MULTIMEDIA ART & ANIMATION DESIGN

animation multimedia design degree

The field of multimedia art and animation design is an exciting field to consider. In this position, you will create visual effects for a variety of media outlets, such as for movies and television, along with, virtual reality interactive experiences and 3D games. Your technical skills will be tested as a multimedia art and animation designer; therefore, you will be expected to earn an online bachelor’s degree in computer graphics or art. You will need to impress potential employers with your strong portfolio. Multimedia artists and animators earned $70,530 annually as of May 2017, according to the BLS.

THEME PARK DESIGN

theme park design degree

What could be better than designing a themed amusement park?… And, getting paid for it! To pursue this magnificent dream job, you will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Often called entertainment designers, they have the fantastic task of designing roller coasters and other thrill rides, themed live shows and special events, in addition to, beautiful buildings, water parks and landscapes. There are many concentrations to choose from in the theme park design arena, such as show writers, set and interior designers, engineer/computer scientists, architectural planners, and film specialists. According to Payscale, Disney software engineers earn between $92,000 to $126,000 annually. According to the BLS, the most lucrative positions in the theme park industry include the chief executive officer, computer and information systems managers, in addition to, financial and marketing managers.

VIDEO GAME DESIGN

video game design degree

Do you love to play video games? Turn your passion into a career by earning an online bachelor’s degree in game software development or game art and design. As this field allows for two different concentrations, you are sure to focus on all aspects of gaming, such as art and animation, programming, testing, and production. Video game designers, artists, and audio workers earn an average of $68,000 annually. In addition, video game programmers make an average of $85,000 per year, according to the BLS, depending on experience and job location.

WEB DESIGN

web design degree

Web designers make websites aesthetically pleasing, as well as, functional to the user. They are concerned with the features of the site and how it looks; therefore, requiring experience in computer programming, in addition to, graphic design. Web designers, or developers, also focus on content, site performance and capacity. Entry-level positions in web design can be obtained with an associate degree; however, most employers prefer an online Bachelor of Web Design, Graphic Design or another computer related degree. The BLS reports an annual salary of $67,990 per year, as of May 2017.