I”ve almost completed an interior design program, and I”m not sure a career as an interior designer is exactly what I want to pursue. Can you give me some specifics on different jobs I can do with a design degree if I decide not to be a practicing interior designer”
(submitted by B. Morgan)
First, we recommend that you go look at the November 2004 GO AHEAD” ASK ME section, where interior designer Jan George answered a similar question: What are my career options with a degree in interior design”
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is a sales / manufacturer”s representative. To get a full spectrum of what a sales rep does on a day-to-day basis, see the October 2004 GO AHEAD” ASK ME section ” Susan Judkins gives a very detailed and well-thought out description about the critical role of reps in the industry.
Another vital link in the design chain is the product designer. Talented, extremely creative people work directly for manufacturers to design new introductions to almost anything: furniture, accessories, lighting, carpet, fabrics, wallcovering, etc. This type career is closely related to Industrial Design because materials, chemistry and the manufacturing process are frequently considerations in the overall design process.
If you are design-minded but also excel at managing people and have sales in your blood, consider being either a showroom or retail store manager. With the former, you cater only to decorators, designers and architects; whereas with the latter, you cater primarily to the public consumer. With either, you must be comfortable at managing sales teams, making sure facility operating run smoothly, and handle computer systems and paperwork relating to inventories, order placement / fulfillment and shipments.
And it doesn”t stop there. Just consider some of these other possibilities:
facilities manager, design educator, lighting designer, historic preservationist, computer aided design (CAD) draftsperson, illustrator / renderer (by hand or computer software), model builder, specifications writer, space planner, project manager, set designer (stage or screen), product developer / researcher, product marketer, design journalist”
The list is almost endless. Most likely, we are missing something because people are coming up with new ways to use their design backgrounds everyday. If you think of some others or use your design education in an unusual way, let us know ” we”d love to hear it.