What can I do with a design degree?

What can I do with a design degree?

If you’ve just graduated, or are still studying for your degree in design, you may be wondering just what kind of job you will end up with. If this is the case, then this guide is for you.

Design students are typically creative and full of ideas. They’re likely to watch movie credits with interest and a critical eye, own Apple products and laugh at people who use Comic Sans – and they're also likely to have a range of skills that are highly valued in the graduate jobs market.

Skills for your CV

The skills that design graduates are likely to have to offer include:

  • logical thinking and problem-solving
  • project management
  • research and editorial skills
  • presentation and other communication skills
  • computer skills
  • hands-on project management
  • creativity
  • software skills
  • an eye for detail.

Job roles and career areas you could work in

Career options for design graduates include interactive media and video editing, landscape gardening, interior design and the following:

Job roles open to design graduates include the following:

What do design graduates go on to do?

Here’s what design graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 57.6
Part-time employment in the UK 22.2
Working overseas 2.2
Working and studying 1.9
Further study 5.8
Unemployed 5.8
Other 4.6

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh design graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 design graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Arts, design and media professionals 43.9
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 18.0
Marketing, PR and sales professionals 9.5
Other occupations 8.5
Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks 4.3

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Which careers attract design students?

Retail was the most popular career choice for creative arts and design students identified by a 2017 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. Just under a fifth (16%) of creative arts and design students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular career sectors for design students identified by the survey were as follows:

Career Percentage
Retail 16% expressed an interest
Media and advertising 10
Charity and not-for-profit 9
IT and technology 6

Source: trendence UK Graduate Study 2017

Famous people with design degrees

Plenty of design students have taken the subject in different directions. Consider these examples:

  • Alan Rickman – famous as the Hogwarts potions teacher, but actually set up his own design agency before becoming an actor.
  • Freddie Mercury – studied art and graphic design, later becoming the lead singer of Queen and designing the band’s logo.
  • Peter Capaldi - studied at the Glasgow School of Art before pursuing an acting career that has included playing the twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who.