Design encompasses a wide variety of activities and disciplines, but all are about making products, messages, or systems that are at once pleasing and useful. Design majors and degree programs may focus on any of the areas listed below. Visit the external links for additional information about that field.
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3-D Design | Advertising | Apparel Design | Architecture | Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) | Computer Art/Design | Design | Environmental Design | Exhibit Design | Fashion Design | Floral Design | Footwear Design | Furniture Design | Game Design | Graphic Design | Illustration | Industrial Design | Interior Design | Landscape Design | Product Design | Toy Design | Transportation Design | Web Design
3-D designers use computer-aided design (CAD) tools and software to create animations and special effects for video games, demos, models, or any other product requiring dynamic graphics.
Graphic designers and layout managers work in tandem to develop an advertisment's visual impact through illustrations, photographs, and print type. They may also design logos, symbols, and packages.
Apparel designers create clothing and accessories of all kinds. They should have a strong understanding of fabrics, trims, and jewelry, and be able to make precise measurements.
Architects guide clients through the entire design and construction process of a public or private space. They must consider materials, technology, cost, structural stability, as well as aesthetic, artistic, and practical qualities
- About.com: Architecture
- American Architectural Foundation
- Architectural Design | Architect Online
CAD designers are experts in using the lastest computer technologies and software to create designs of real or virtual objects. CAD designers can produce such things as models for architects or technical drawings for engineers. CAD is used by many industrial designers as they work on everything from cars to airplanes to beverage bottles.
- ACADIA: Association for Computer Aided Drafting in Architecture
- CAD Society
- International Conference on Computer Aided Drafting (ICCAD)
Computer artists use computers to construct and/or display their artwork. This artwork may be an image, sound, animation, or algorithm, performace or gallery installation. As a growing number of artists digitize their work, or combine digital and traditional arts in their pieces, it is increasingly difficult to define computer art or design as a separate entity.
Designers are distinguished from other artists by why they create. Designers design practical objects or systems to be functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The growing emphasis on clean energy, green construction, and sustainable building makes a degree in environmental design increasingly attractive to design firms and employers. But environmental design means more than just addressing current environmental issues. Classically, it has referred to designing systems, programs, policies, and buildings and even some products with reference to the physical (exterior and interior) environment.
- Environmental Design + Construction
- Environmental Design Research Association
- Site | Architecture, Art & Design
- U.S. Green Building Council
Exhibit designers design and create exhibits for tradeshows, museums, or corporate events. These exhibits are usually temporary, and are built to attract customers, sell products, inform visitors, or showcase objects or ideas. Exhibit design involves branding, marketing, architecture, engineering, graphics, and interactive media, among other disciplines.
Fashion designers combine a knowledge of materials and styles with an artistic sensibility to design clothing and accessories. Lead fashion designers create individual clothing pieces or entire lines, footwear, and accessories. This typically involves several generations of sketches or computer-aided drafts; consideration of color, texture, material, and shape when worn; and supervision of final patterning and construction.
- Career Profiles: Fashion Designer
- Fashion Spot - Fashion Industry Forums
- Iconique Fashion Magazine
Floral designers cut live, dried, or silk flowers and other greenery and arrange them for display in various shapes and sizes. They work not only with the flowers or plants, but also with containers, ribbons, and other accessories. Floral designers work with clients for special occasions such as weddings, funerals, holidays or other events. About a third of floral designers are self-employed.
Footwear designers focus solely on designing shoes and boots for a variety of purposes -- from casual wear to high fashion. These designers design mocassins, oxfords, sandals, athletic shoes, outdoor shoes, boots of all types, pumps, platform shoes, and more. Like other fashion designers, they may work for another designer or design firm, for a mass manufacturer, or for themselves.
- British Footwear Association
- Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI) (India)
- Footwear of the Middle Ages
Furniture designers work with a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo, rattan, wicker, fabrics, leather, metal, and plastics, to create studio, residential or commerical furniture. The art of furniture design includes hands-on crafstmanship and skills in carpentry. These designers also respond to interior design trends, create pieces that can fit into a number of different locations, and build custom items. Furniture designers may be self-employed, work for a small furniture manufacturing company, or work for a larger furniture manufacturing company.
- American Society of Furniture Designers
- Furniture Magazine
- Furniture Society
- International Furnishings and Design Association
Game design can include everything from computer programming, graphic art and illustration, to user interface, marketing and packaging design. Game designers may handle it all, or specialize in different pieces of the final product.
- Game Design Career Preparation
- How to Launch a Career in Game Design
- International Game Developers Association
Graphic designers use images, typography, animation, and layout to visually communicate an idea or message. Graphic design plays an integral part in advertising, marketing, publishing, and web design.
Illustrators create images to visually communicate an idea, concept or emotion.
- Communication Arts Network
- Illustration: An Illustrious Career
- Illustration Magazine
- Society of Illustrators
Industrial designers use the disciplines of art, business, and engineering to design everyday products, from teapots to telephones, as well as systems, services, and interactions.
- Association of Women Industrial Designers
- Core77 Industrial Design Supersite
- Industrial Designers Society of America
Interior designers create comfortable, attractive, and functional spaces for offices, homes, schools, hospitals, and a variety of commercial spaces. They understand materials, products, textures, colors, lighting, electric codes, and health and safety requirements.
- American Society of Interior Designers
- Dezignare Interior Design Collective
- Interior Design Directory
Landscape architects, or designers, plan and design parks, airports, highways, and commmercial and residental sites.
- American Nursery & Landscape Association
- Landscape Architects
- Landscape Design Forum
- Lawn and Landscape Magazine
Product designers bring new physical products from concept to market. They conceptualize a new product, test it, analyze it, and manufacture it.
- Product Design & Development
- Product Design Forums
- Product Development and Management Association
- Worldwide Directory of Industrial & Product Design
Toy designers create new board games, activities, and toys for children, adults, and collectors. These toys may be used solely for play, or for educational purposes.
Transportation designers help design road, highway, marine, mass transit and rail systems that meet the transport needs of a community or nation. They also design the modes of transport, from cars to trains.
Web designers combine expertise in graphic design (layout, typography, imaging), interface design, code, and usability to create sites that not only attract readers and users, but keep them coming back.