Art and Design and Fashion School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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If you’re creative, interested in fashion and have an artistic temperament, then a career in art and design could be for you. This is an industry that values creativity and imagination above all else, so you’ll if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Art, design and fashion 

Working in fashion design and even graphic design means more than just liking to shop and follow the latest trends – you've got to set your own styles and not be afraid to do something different. Think about the designers and artists you like best – they're the ones whose work you can't help but stand back and admire.

What’s it all about? TOP ^

When you start a career in art, design or fashion, it’s likely that you won’t be the one designing clothes, images or decorating a room. Instead, you'll be assisting a person or team who will do most of the creative work. But, this is where everyone starts – it gives you a chance to see how the industry works, and what the best suppliers are to use for fabrics or other bits and pieces you'll need to create your designs. You'll learn how to work with all kinds of clients, and get the best out of yourself and your team.

Working hours can vary because you'll usually have strict deadlines to meet for clients, shows or your colleagues, so you might have to work nights or weekends to make sure it gets done. You'll start a design career having to work to the ideas and guidelines your manager gives you, but you'll have more freedom to put ideas forward and try new things as you get more experience. Make your CV stand out by getting onto internships or helping out with different kinds of projects.

What will I earn? TOP ^

Starting salaries for assistants are usually around £13,000, but as you move along in your career you could earn up to £30,000-£60,000.
Freelance workers earn on a commission by commission basis.

Where can I work? TOP ^

Getting into an art, design or fashion job isn’t easy, especially with the creative industries suffering from funding cuts at the moment. School leavers can start out as junior level designers or artists’ assistants, or simply create their own work and sell it online or at craft markets.

The most important thing to consider is to build up a portfolio of your own work, which you can then send for job interviews or placements. This is why a degree is often useful to art and design hopefuls, as it allows them to build up a portfolio of creative work which can be displayed to potential employers.

What skills will I need? TOP ^

Art, design and fashion jobs are all about being creative, and having the confidence to run with your ideas. You'll need an open mind not just in trying new things, but also in learning from and working for people who've been in the industry a long time. You also have to be on time with deadlines, and be able to work well with a team of people.

Although specific technical skills are needed for each area of the art and design sector, there are certain skills that are required across the board – whether you work in fashion, the design industry or a fine art. They include:

One of the main skills you will need as an artist or designer is to be able to keep up to date with the latest trends and developments.

What entry level art, design and fashion jobs can I do? TOP ^

Art and design is something you can get into at almost any level, so a degree is not necessary. School leavers can find roles in industry or start out as freelancers straight away. Some jobs that you could in art and design include:

  • Gallery curator
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Textile designer
  • Fine artist
  • Fashion designer

Alternatively, if you prefer to work for yourself, you could begin your career as a freelancer, taking or commissions of work from companies or individuals who will pay agreed sums for your services.

Browse all Art and Design and Fashion jobs for this guide