Is there life after an art degree?

Contrary to some past perceptions, studying a course in art or design can lead to exciting and rewarding careers.

The question of employment is at the forefront of many prospective art and design students’ minds. Although perceptions are starting to change, there was once a time when, if you wanted to get a job after graduating from university, you had to study medicine, law or teaching. The notion of studying art or design struck parents with an image of their child jobless, broke and still living with mum and dad at the age of 30!

Times have changed and now the answer to the burning employment question is yes, you will get a job if you want to get a job. As with any other programme of study, those students who put a bit of effort into finding a job will find one.

Graphic design students

“Graphic Design students get jobs with high profile companies, creating branding, television graphics, and working for advertising agencies”

So, what kinds of jobs are available?Animation students go on to do visual effects for high profile movies such as the Harry Potter films. They get jobs with games companies and create PS3, Xbox and Wii games.

Graphic Design students get jobs with high profile companies, creating branding, television graphics, and working for advertising agencies. They work for companies such as Audi, Nokia and Chanel.

Illustration students work in publishing, design and advertising. Their clients can include newspapers like The New York Times, telecoms companies like Orange and even sports brands like Umbro.

Interior Design students find jobs in lighting, exhibition, furniture design and theatre. Graduates go on to design sets for theatres and create new interiors for hospitals and travel agents.

Many Jewellery graduates go on to open their own businesses, but others get jobs in which they select jewellery for high-street shops such as Topshop. Others take an entirely different route and create eyeglass frames for companies such as Specsavers and H&M.

Students who enrol in Fine Art work as independent artists, teachers, exhibition curators, gallery managers and project managers. Those who decide to become independent artists gain recognition for themselves by entering international competitions and exhibiting in renowned galleries all over the world.

Textile Design students work as designers for fashion and interior, they become buyers for large clothing companies, they design costumes for theatre and often set up their own businesses. Textile Design graduates work for large companies such as Levi Strauss, Ikea and Ted Baker, as well as smaller niche textile design companies.

The list above merely starts to explore the possibilities. Once you immerse yourself in an art college you will discover that there are many more employment opportunities available for artists and designers. The critical thing to remember is that you need to showcase yourself. The more effort you put into getting your name out there, the more likely you will find yourself happily employed.

Written by Mhari MacDonald
Marketing & Recruitment Officer
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee