What careers can a degree in Art and Design lead to? – Adam Whitbread, Principal, Kings London.

16 Nov 2018

Kings London independent college East Sussex

In short, when it comes to the world of work, there are endless opportunities for art and design graduates – both in terms of job roles and industries. Currently, it is estimated the UK creative industries workforce totals over 2 million. The global innovation foundation NESTA states the UK is on track to create a million new creative industry jobs between 2013 and 2030, this could total 1,000 new jobs a week.

If we think globally, the opportunities are endless. Everything we wear, use or watch and the environments we live and work in, all have to be designed by someone – that could be you!

A variety of specialisms
Within the field of art and design, there are numerous specialisms – many of which are offered as specific degree course within specialist universities and arts institutions. These include, Animation, Film Production, Architecture, Interior, Product and Fashion Design to name just a few.

Mariana progressed from Kings Foundation Programme to study her BA (Hons) Film Production at UCA. Now working at Oscar and Cannes award-nominated Gullane, one of the biggest media production companies in Brazil, she commented:

“I work in the development department, which is the part of the film process I have always wanted to work in. So, I am in the path I was hoping to take on when I decided to work in Film.

Art school is great and will give you the best environment to create and get to know likeminded people. In the case of film, more specifically, the British film industry is a reference worldwide and, in my opinion, does really well in both commercial and more auteurist films, and that is reflected in the way they will teach you. Plus, the industry is really well established and you have the best resources to create and understand the different fields within it.”

A range of industries and sectors
Whilst often, a specialist degree can enable students to forge a path to a career within that specialist field, there are other courses within the realm of art and design which can arguably lead to a wider range of options post-degree.

For example, a degree course in Graphic Design can open up a wealth of opportunities, across a huge variety of industries. For example, working in the Central Marketing Unit at Kings, our graphic designer Emma Charleston’s work includes the design of websites, prospectuses, and college signage, yet her skills would be equally as relevant and sought-after by tech or travel companies, banks, or healthcare providers. Alongside her work at Kings, Emma is also an independent illustrator who creates and sells her own screenprints, lino cuts and letterpress pieces, as well as producing commissioned illustrations for a wide range of clients.

Working in other artistic capacities
Whilst many graduates choose jobs which allow them to use their art and design skills in a practical sense every day, there are others whose career enables them to work in the world of art and design, but without actively working as an artist or designer. Teaching art, working as a gallery curator, or even as an art therapist would all fall into this category.

Valuable transferrable skills
Completing an Art and design degree is widely credited with nurturing all-round problem-solving skills, visual analysis, the ability to find creative solutions and make critical judgements, and the capacity to work outside your comfort zone — all of which equip art and design graduates with transferrable skills which are welcomed in a whole range of sectors. In debates over the value of studying the arts, Steve Jobs is often cited as explaining that the secret to Apple’s success was that he hired artists/creatives with a passion for technology, rather than simply experts in technology “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing, and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices.” It is worth noting that Apple’s Chief Design Officer, Jonathan Ive, was born and studied in the UK.

Flexible working and freelancing
Certainly, one huge benefit of working in the field of art and design is that very often jobs within it lend themselves to freelance work as well as contracted employment. This can offer much more freedom and flexibility than other disciplines, and also enables people to take their skills all over the world if they wish.

The image above shows just some of the many interesting, skilled and sought-after jobs which Art and Design students can consider in the world of today and who knows what opportunities lie ahead in the future!


Adam Whitbread, BA, Dip Ed, MBA

MBA University of Queensland
BA La Trobe University, Melbourne

Adam has over 10 years’ experience as a College Head, Director and Consultant. Throughout his career he has specialised in preparing students for successful application and completion of degrees at leading universities.

Kings London, Beckenham, Kent