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Furniture Designer

Furniture designers create objects to furnish homes and businesses, and to act as usable art pieces. The constructions of furniture designers range from a simple stool to complex works of art. The creative process extends from drafting at the drawing board to using hand and power tools; from fitting and fixing various types of material to painting, staining and polishing pieces. Some furniture designers work on the entire creation process from drafting to manufactured product.

Some work as independents. Prospective buyers and/or manufacturers may commission them to provide sketches or prototypes of designs. Alternatively, or additionally, independent furniture designers can create furnishings and fixtures, without first having a client, in the hopes of selling the finished products. This can be a difficult task, as the designer must also function as a marketer, promoter, and salesperson for the designs. Once a product is accepted, the designer will likely patent the product and design.

Another employment route for the furniture designer is working for a large corporation. The commercial furniture designer creates furnishings and fixture designs based on certain company specifications for mass production. However, even though they are not responsible for the construction of their designs, these designers must remain aware of the construction process and the feasibility of their designs as functional products.

Education

There are very few college programs dedicated to furniture design. Those schools that do have a furniture design program, typically have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in this specialty. The coursework teaches students to create furnishings that are thoughtful, ergonomic, beautiful, and sustainable.

Furniture design is more than the selection of the appropriate materials and colors. You study the project from inception (an idea for a design) to materials, to techniques, to fabrication, to marketing the finished product. The coursework provides students with the opportunity to create the necessary documents and visual communication, making prototype execution feasible.

However, a degree is not mandatory but recommended to enter this profession. The typical undergraduate programs are Fine Arts degrees. Students will learn to use hand tools and create 2-D and 3-D computer-aided designs (CAD). Most programs also include a design studio in which they work with various materials ranging from wood to glass to create prototypes.

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Fashion Designer

Fashion design is the art of applying design, aesthetics and natural beauty to clothing and its accessories. Cultural and social attitudes influence the creations as fashion is in a constant state of flux. As trends change, so must the designs of clothing, accessories and other accouterments.

Designers conduct research on fashion trends and interpret them for their audience. Fashion designers attempt to design clothes that are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They consider who is likely to wear a garment and where the garment is likely to be worn. These questions affect their choice of materials, design process, and manufacture. There are clothes designed specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture or bespoke tailoring. Only a select number attain this status as a fashion designer. Most clothing designs are for the purpose of the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

Education

Aspiring fashion designers should earn an associates or bachelors degree in fashion design. A joint degree in business, marketing, or merchandising can also be helpful for individuals intending to start their own business.

You can begin your education at the Associate degree level. Many of these are available at a local community college. Students gain proficiency in clothing, construction, fashion illustration, pattern making, draping, computer-aided fashion design, and manufacturing. These programs learn fundamental skills, such as measuring a model for the proper fit, choosing the fabric, cutting different fabrics, and sewing materials using various techniques. Students also focus on developing their creative skills, learning how to work with color, finding inspiration for designs, and keeping their work original.

A Bachelor’s degree will expand your knowledge of fashion with its range of courses. For example, you can study fashion sketching. This course introduces a fashion drawing technique to communicate the ideas, moods, and details of garments by visually interpreting fashion apparel, including the body proportions used in basic fashion drawing. The fine arts degree will also allow you to create your own design. As a student, you have the opportunity to develop portfolio-ready technical sketches, illustrations, flats, storyboards, color storyboards, and fabric swatches in preparation for presentation of your design.

Employment

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median salary for fashion designers at $67,420 as of May 2017. The future job prospects are not promising as the BLS predicts the ten-year growth to be only 3% or 600 job changes.

The employment website Indeed paints a less lucrative picture for the profession. Salary estimated from 762 employees is $48,856. The median pay comes from users of the site, as well as past and present job advertisements. This figure consists of salaries reported to the site in the past 36 months.

The BLS does not have a category for a furniture designer. The employment site GlassDoor reports the average income for this profession at $50,800 based on only 16 salaries.

Indeed has the average salary at $63,914. They estimated the salary based on 3,740 employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.