Design & Applied Arts
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Design & Applied Arts Overview

A degree in Design and Applied Arts allows students to design everything from living rooms, clothing, and comic books to product packages, billboards, and logos. You will learn the skills to use computer-aided design, drawing, and other techniques to create unique images and products.

Design and Applied Arts is a wide field that covers many different topics. Students typically choose to specialize in a specific area of design. Some concentrations available are Design and Visual Communications, Commercial and Advertising Art, Industrial and Product Design, Commercial Photography, Fashion Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Game and Interactive Media Design.

Students will take a variety of classes specific to their chosen concentration. However, all Design and Applied Arts students can expect to take graphic design, art history, drawing, illustration, typography, and other art related courses.

Required Skills

Design and Applied Arts students are typically creative and have the ability to build products, designs, and images in their head. They can take these concepts from paper and create an actual product. Students are detail oriented and perfectionists. They have strong communication and interpersonal skills because they often are working for a client and must listen to what that client wants out of a design or product. Students in this field typically have a background in art.

Design and Applied arts graduates usually work in full time positions in offices, design labs, or on location working for a client. Hours vary depending on the type of work you are doing and if you are trying to meet a deadline.

Students interested in this area should pursue an internship, summer job, or position as an assistant to design professionals. This will allow you to gain experience in the field and get an understanding of how it works.

Depending on the area of specialization, you may only need to earn an associate's degree to work. It is best to look into your desired field of study to learn how much education is necessary and if additional certification is required.


Design and Applied Arts graduates work in many industries including advertising, fashion, graphic design, illustration, interior design, and marketing. You will learn the skills to be successful in your desired area of specialization, making you an asset to companies, small businesses, or design firms.

Some careers in this field are not experiencing any growth, while others are growing at an average rate. This will play a role in the amount of competition graduates will face when looking for a job. Those with previous experience in their field should have an advantage in the job market.

Design and Applied Arts graduates earn an average starting salary of $35,273 and mid-career salary of $57,959.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Design & Applied Arts might open up.

Architecture Teachers, Postsecondary
Art Directors
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary
Artists and Related Workers, All Other
Commercial and Industrial Designers
Designers, All Other
Fashion Designers
Graphic Designers
Interior Designers
Multimedia Artists and Animators
Postsecondary Teachers, All Other
Set and Exhibit Designers
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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