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What Experience Do You Need For A Career In Creative arts & design

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All you need to know about the Creative arts & design industry

The creative arts and design industry is notoriously difficult to crack - but if you do, it can be a very lucrative career. Often people just think of artists and designers, but the industry stretches much further than this, covering gallery curators, photography, musicians and increasingly digital roles such as web designers. It’s an industry that’s rapidly growing in the UK.

The work can be stressful because it tends to be project based and largely driven by deadlines. Meeting these deadlines can result in long hours and periods of significant overtime.

Initially the salaries within this industry can be low and the vast majority of work placements will be unpaid. Often people will work part-time to support themselves as they gather work experience and build up a portfolio of work.

Perseverance pays off, however, and senior designers who have proved themselves to be reliable can be very well paid within a company.

Artistic or performance based work will be different to those working in design for a company or consultancy – there really is no set career path for these lines of work.
Many workers in this industry choose to freelance, which allows you to be flexible and selective about the work that you do, but it can be difficult in the early stages. It does not guarantee a regular income and can be quite unstable.

Although there are a lot of courses to provide professional training and you can get a degree, it is possible to thrive in this industry by teaching yourself and working off merit.

The work could take you travelling internationally, particularly if you work within media or TV that’ll require you to be on set. Similarly if you are a performer you might go on tour, or work on a cruise ship that’ll take you around the world!

This industry allows you to have a creative outlet and express yourself whilst being paid for it, which is something that not many areas of work offer.

Creative arts & design Jobs

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Skills & interests needed for Creative arts & design

The arts and design industry needs you to be creative and confident in trying new things and being able to think outside the box. As technology advances there are all new opportunities for creative outlets and it’s an industry that thrives from constant change and growth.

You will also have to be able to work to strict deadlines, so time-management skills are essential.

Often designers will have to liaise with other people and departments to ensure that a project is delivered on time and fulfills the brief. Therefore, you’ll need to have strong communication skills.

The specific technical skills that you require will solely depend on your role. However, there are common skills that’ll benefit you across the industry.

Types of jobs in Creative arts & design

What work experience do you need for a career in Creative arts & design

Your work experience can be demonstrated through a strong portfolio of freelance work, or work you have done on other placements, for clients. Be sure that you have a physical and digital version and that it is displayed professionally.

Perhaps you have never done any professional work. That’s fine, your portfolio can be made up of projects that you have completed in your own time. Try challenging yourself with a brief and a deadline then work towards it. If you know that you would like to work for a specific company, try designing something with them in mind.

You should also contact local design companies and ask if you can do any work experience or shadow a member of staff – even if you aren’t necessarily on the forefront of the design work whilst you’re there, you will get an insight into how a professional design company runs on a day to day basis.

Useful resources

Arts Council England
Arts Industry
Arts Hub
Arts Professional
Arts Emergency
Design Council
British Institute of Interior Design
UK Web Design Association
Design Industries Association
Design Business Association
Creative Industries Federation
British Arts Festivals Association
Performing Arts Network and Development Agency (Panda)
Chief Cultural & Leisure Officers Association
Equity
ArtWorks Alliance
British Fashion Council
UK Fashion & Textile Association
Creative Industries
Creative Skillset
Fashion Association of Britain
Chartered Society of Designers