Career Paths

Careers in Applied Art

Careers in the applied arts are incredibly satisfying jobs that require creativity, good problem-solving skills, and attention to detail. They also offer opportunities for advancement in many careers due to their need for advanced skills.

Career Information

Learn everything you need to know about Applied Art careers with our comprehensive career guides.

Degrees & Majors

What degree is best for a career in Applied Art? Explore program options from top colleges here.

Salary & Job Outlook

How much do people working in Applied Art professions get paid? Explore salary and job outlook information here.

Applied art is the application of any type of art to a useful, decorative, or functional end. This includes the design, placement, and creation of objects which are functional in nature. Applied art is often referred to as applied design, industrial design, industrial arts, furniture design, textile design, and product design. For example, furniture is a type of applied art that applies the principles of architecture and interior decoration to a functional end. Applied art is a broad subject area, but generally speaking, it involves the design, consumer need, manufacture, and aesthetics of functional objects.

Career Profiles

Applied Art Careers List

Applied art refers to art objects designed for use in practical settings, like homes, offices, stores, and public spaces. These artworks often integrate into the architecture or infrastructure of their chosen setting. Applied arts are different from decorative or functional art because they are created with the specific intent to be used in addition to aesthetic considerations. Unlike fine art, works of applied art are not intended to stand alone as objects of contemplation, but as an integral element of a functional environment.

Automotive Designer

Automotive designers are the people who design the exterior and interior of a car. From tail fins in the 50s to futuristic concepts today, they have been responsible for some of the most iconic designs on Earth. They are also involved in developing new technologies to make cars more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient.

Golf Course Designer

A golf course designer is a person who is responsible for designing golf courses. The ultimate goal of a golf course designer is to provide golfers with a course that is challenging and enjoyable, but they must also consider topography, hydrology, ecology, land use, wildlife, and waterfowl habitats.

Industrial Designer

Industrial design is the process of turning a design concept into a physical product with utility. Industrial designers are primarily concerned with how products will be used and how they can meet users' needs. Their goal is to link form, function, usability, and consumer psychology to create a design.

Landscape Designer

Landscape designers are experts in the design and creation of outdoor spaces that are both useful and pleasing to the eye. Landscape designers may specialize in a certain kind of design, like floral or garden design or theymay even specialize in a certain area, like creating designs for commercial spaces or industrial areas.

Product Designer

Product designers are an integral part of shaping the physical world in which we live. We often see them as a bridge between the people who dream up new ideas and want to bring them to life, and the companies that need someone with both technical skills and creative vision to help design their products.

Toy Designer

Toy designers transform ideas for toys into prototypes or final products. Toy designers have a broad range of skills that they need to do their jobs; these include graphic design, CAD modeling, sculpting prototypes, engineering skills, marketing knowledge and experience, manufacturing, and more.

Urban Designer

Urban designers are responsible for the physical form (architecture, landscape, and other environments) of urban communities. They have a broad and diverse range of responsibilities that may include economic development, infrastructure planning, land use regulation, and historical preservation.



An architect is a professional responsible for designing buildings and structures. Architects are involved with every stage of a building's life cycle, from concept to construction to post-occupancy evaluation. They create drawings, renderings, and 3D visualizations for clients who want to build newor renovate an existing space.

Furniture Designer

Furniture designers are professionals who design furniture for homes, businesses, and other spaces. They work with a variety of materials to createeverything from tables and chairs to sofas and beds. Some furniture designers are generalists, while others specialize in areas such as residential or commercial design.

Home Stager

A home stager works with property owners to decorate a home attractively so that potential buyers can envision how their new space would look, feel, and function. The goal of a home stager is to help a buyer emotionally connect with a space so that they will be more likely to move forward with the purchase of the property.

Interior Designer

Interior Designer

Interior designers are specialists in the art and science of creating human environments, with a focus on space planning and design. They create beautiful, functional spaces that reflect their clients' desires and needs. The interior designer's responsibility includes attention to every detail from lighting to furnishings to the floor plan.

Naval Architect

Naval architects are engineering technicians who design and oversee the building of vessels. Naval architects have education in naval architecture, shipbuilding, hydrodynamics, mechanics, and engineering technology and typically work for one of the many shipyards that produce boats.

Swimming Pool Designer

Swimming pool designers combine expert knowledge of engineering, construction, and architecture to build swimming pools. The job requires design skill, knowledge of building codes and the best materials for a given space, as well as the ability to manage the project from beginning to end.

Transportation Designer

Transportation designers are responsible for designing how people and goods get from one destination to another. This includes the design of automotive vehicles, public transit systems, pedestrian walkways, bike paths, air transportation systems, and even the roadway infrastructure, down to positioning benches at bus stops.

Degrees & Majors

Best Degrees for Applied Art Careers

A degree in design and applied art will prepare you for a career in an amazing and diverse set of industries. Designers with education in applied arts work in product design, home furnishings, transportation design, architecture, and environmental design. They also work in the textile industry, fashion, interior design, and landscape design. Degree programs in design and applied arts give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with actual industry projects, which can provide valuable insight into the real world.

Salary & Job Outlook

Applied Art Salary

Applied arts is a broad category of employment that includes occupations in industries such as industrial design, applied design, furniture design, textile design, and product design. To understand the range of salaries for careers in these fields, we must look at a large number of professions related to design. Below is a list of occupations closely associated with applied arts and design, along with entry-level education and wage information.

Art DirectorsBachelor’s Degree$114,490$55.04
ArchitectsBachelor’s Degree$89,470$43.01
Fashion DesignersBachelor’s Degree$87,210$41.93
Industrial DesignersBachelor’s Degree$76,290$36.68
Interior DesignersBachelor’s Degree$61,400$29.52
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Applied Art Careers FAQ

A career in applied arts is an exciting subject, with a lot of potential for creative freedom and utility in your work. However, there are some important things to be aware of before you jump in headfirst. For example, it requires skills in creativity and versatility that can often take years to perfect. It will also likely involve a minimum amount of college-level education, and a major commitment to a career path.

Applied arts involve the use of art in a practical way. The term is sometimes applied loosely to any art used in design and decoration, but more specifically it can mean the use of the creative arts to the service of practical efforts. Some examples of this include ceramics, textile arts, calligraphy, automotive design, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and fashion design.

Students who graduate with a degree in design and applied arts are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and creativity to enter a wide range of professions. With an applied arts degree, you can earn a living in just about any creative field, such as advertising, architecture, graphic design, interior design, the fashion industry, or product design. Design and applied arts graduates are also prepared to enter top-rated graduate programs in fine arts, art history, industrial design, interior architecture, or other art-related degrees.