The design industry covers many different kinds of jobs. The good news is good design jobs are in high demand and don’t necessarily require a degree from a design school. Of course, you can learn a ton in a good design education program, and we’re not knocking school–at all.
Here at Crash, we’re simply big fans of showing your work, showing your skills. And the most common design roles these days typically involve some kind of technology, which are both good to learn and good to show publicly so future employers can see.
This is one of the most common types of design. Graphic design simply means creating graphics, like anything you might see on a t-shirt or social media. It’s also referred to as visual communication design, graphic arts, and traditional design. It’s heavily associated with typography and color theory.
Physical products are anything from furniture to cars, blenders and other kitchen utensils to high-tech smartphones and cameras, and more. These types of products are created with computer-assisted drawing (CAD) software and even 3D printing nowadays.
Digital products are web apps, mobile apps, Chrome extensions, that sort of thing. As you’re probably aware, they are extremely popular these days–doesn’t it seem like everyone’s building some kind of app?
A perfect example is our own app, the Crash website (or mobile app) you’re reading this on. You can log in, edit your Crash profile, create tailored pitches to your favorite companies, and more.
When companies like us build an app, we follow a whole process that involves sketching, wireframes, high-fidelity mock-ups, and prototypes. This is the universe of digital product design: user experience (UX) design and user interface (UI) design.
Here’s a sneak peek at prototypes for a new Crash pitch manager tool in wireframes (above) and high-fidelity mock-ups (below) that were made using Adobe XD. If you would like to share in how we build this product, let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email!
You don’t have to be a web developer to do web design–which specifically refers to layout design on the web. This includes creating websites and webpages that communicate information clearly and are pleasing to the eye (without distracting users from what they are trying to accomplish on the site).
Game design refers, of course, to games. In modern context, this means video games (digital experiences) rather than only traditional games like board games. This type of design work requires a lot of specialization and an understanding of how games are played. It’s similar to UX design in that you have to think about the user’s journey through the product, rather than just how it looks.
Interior design is all about how the insides of buildings look–your living room, corporate offices, hotel lobbies, restaurants, and other public spaces all fall into this category.
Interior designers are specially trained to use 3D computer-aided design (CAD) tools–like Revit and SketchUp–to create construction drawings and plan the interior layout, electrical, lighting, and more. They sometimes work closely with architects, and they’re no strangers to building codes and public safety codes.
What we call landscape design is the art and science of combining nature with human-made elements. It includes gardens, courtyards, parks, downtowns, anything outdoors. It overlaps significantly with landscape architecture, and has its own design principles.
Yes, design applies to the clothes on your back, too–and it’s a multibillion-dollar industry these days. Fashion designers, costume designers, textile designers, and more will use tools like Digital Fashion Pro to create the digital blueprint that will be used in the manufacturing process and to help visualize how shapes, patterns, and materials will look in real life.
Design is a vast, all-encompassing field–we could write an entire book detailing all the different kinds of design. Instead, know that there are many more subcategories of design, including instructional design, interaction design, and design thinking, as well as fine arts and related fields that aren’t technically design. (If design is the science of organizing and communicating information, the flip side of the coin is the art–creating freely, without necessary regard to best practices.)
Here's a look at the positions themselves–the kinds of titles you can use to find designers on LinkedIn to connect with or discover job listings and salary information. Of course, you can choose to become a freelancer as well–freelance designers can make a lot of money.
Here are the most common roles in the professional design industry:
Looking for some inspiration from real stories? We’ve got you covered. Sometimes the best way to learn is to hear how others managed to succeed (or fail), and a story can provide unique insight into a certain process. Below are some great stories of people just like you turning their design career dreams into reality.
How Matt LeGrice Turned a Bartending Job into a Design Career
Matt was the person who doodled in class and loved sketching logos for companies. But it wasn't until a serious snowboarding accident that he built his portfolio and started reaching out to local businesses to gain clients. Now he's helping brands stand out from the crowd and is doing design full-time. Read his story here.
How Tatiana Bischak Launched Her Career in Design with a 365-Day Challenge
Over the past couple of years, Tatiana's worked with some incredible companies and people—full-time and freelance—all through introductions from people she met because of design and her substantial portfolio, which she built from a 365-day-of-designs challenge. And in July of 2018, she left her day job to be a freelance illustrator. Check out her story here.
How Jérémy Chevallier Got His First Design Job With No Experience (and Broke Into the Design Industry)
"Before actually having any official design education, I did everything from rebranding the company (my logo and tagline are still in use at the time of this writing, seven years later!) to designing app flows and screens, designing marketing brochures, and even writing copy for those brochures."