Career Descriptions

Descriptions of Fields of Design

These descriptions are taken from the Occupational Outlook Handbook This link will open a new browser window., published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor.


Architecture

Architect
Researches, plans, designs, and administers building projects for clients, applying knowledge of design, construction procedures, zoning and building codes, and building materials: Consults with client to determine functional and spatial requirements of new structure or renovation, and prepares information regarding design, specifications, materials, color, equipment, estimated costs, and construction time. Plans layout of project and integrates engineering elements into unified design for client review and approval. Prepares scale drawings and contract documents for building contractors. Represents client in obtaining bids and awarding construction contracts. Administers construction contracts and conducts periodic on-site observation of work during construction to monitor compliance with plans. May prepare operating and maintenance manuals, studies, and reports. May use computer-assisted design software and equipment to prepare project designs and plans. May direct activities of workers engaged in preparing drawings and specification documents.

Other Titles

Drafter, Architectural
Prepares detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings, according to specifications, sketches, and rough drafts provided by ARCHITECT: Draws rough and detailed sketches, drawings, and plans to scale

Drafter, Chief, Design (utilities)
Oversees DRAFTERS, ARCHITECTURAL; DRAFTERS, ELECTRICAL; DRAFTERS, MECHANICAL; and DRAFTERS, STRUCTURAL in drawing designs of indoor and outdoor facilities and structures of electrical or gas power plants and substations. Consults with engineering staff on development of plans and designs for buildings and installations and prepares layout diagrams to ensure accurate interpretation of designs by workers supervised.

Detailer
Drafts detailed drawings of parts of machines or structures from rough or general design drawings: Shows dimensions, material to be used, and other information necessary to make detailed drawing clear and complete. Makes tracing of finished drawing on semitransparent paper from which blueprints can be made. Performs other duties as described under DRAFTER Master Title. May specialize in preparing detail drawings for specific type of machine, structure, or product.

Drafter, Commercial
Performs general duties of DRAFTER Master Title in all-round drafting, such as laying out location of buildings, planning of arrangements in offices, large rooms, store buildings, and factories, and drawing of charts, forms, and records. Paints and washes colored drawings when required.

Drafter, Detail
Makes detailed drawings, in accordance with customers' orders, to provide shop departments with accurate information for manufacture of structural and ornamental construction parts: Confers with customers. Makes freehand sketches of designs and drawings of approved sketches. Advises supervisory personnel on difficult or obscure problems.

Drafter, Apprentice
Performs duties as described under APPRENTICE (any industry).

Drafter, Assistant
Copies plans and drawings prepared by DRAFTER by tracing them with ink and pencil on transparent paper or cloth spread over drawings, using triangle, T-square, compass, pens, and other drafting instruments. Makes simple sketches or drawings under close supervision.

Facility Manager
Facility managers have duties similar to those of administrative services managers, but also plan, design, and manage buildings and grounds in addition to people. They are responsible for coordinating the aspects of the physical workplace with the people and work of an organization. This task requires integrating the principles of business administration, architecture, and behavioral and engineering science. Although the specific tasks assigned to facility managers vary substantially depending on the organization, the duties fall into several categories, relating to operations and maintenance, real estate, project planning and management, communication, finance, quality assessment, facility function, and management of human and environmental factors. Tasks within these broad categories may include space and workplace planning, budgeting, purchase and sale of real estate, lease management, renovations, or architectural planning and design. Facility managers may suggest and oversee renovation projects for a variety of reasons, ranging from improving efficiency to ensuring that facilities meet government regulations and environmental, health, and security standards. Additionally, facility managers continually monitor the facility to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well-maintained. Often, the facility manager is responsible for directing staff, including maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers.

School-Plant Consultant (education)
Formulates and enforces standards for construction and alteration of public school facilities throughout state: Develops legislation relative to school building sites and school design and construction. Guides school districts in development of long range comprehensive master plans, including such factors as site selection and expected population growth and mobility, and school finance and specifications. Coordinates activities, jurisdictions, and responsibilities of adjacent school districts and evaluates entire systems of schools. Provides technical information and advice to local school authorities considering construction or renovation of school plant. Inspects proposed sites and schools under construction or undergoing alteration to enforce applicable standards. Prepares suggested classroom plans and layouts, taking into consideration such factors as climate, construction costs, availability of materials, and accepted principles of institutional construction. Reviews plans for construction and renovation of school buildings and approves or disapproves plans in accordance with standards and policies of department. Confers with representatives of school boards, educators, and architects to explain and reach agreement on design concepts and construction standards. Arbitrates difficult and unusual construction disputes. Conducts special research studies concerned with lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and acoustics. Prepares reports for state education department and state legislature.

Architect, Marine
alternate titles: architect, naval; naval designer
Designs and oversees construction and repair of marine craft and floating structures, such as ships, barges, tugs, dredges, submarines, torpedoes, floats, and buoys: Studies design proposals and specifications to establish basic characteristics of craft, such as size, weight, speed, propulsion, armament, cargo, displacement, draft, crew and passenger complements, and fresh or salt water service. Oversees construction and testing of prototype in model basin and develops sectional and waterline curves of hull to establish center of gravity, ideal hull form, and buoyancy and stability data. Designs complete hull and superstructure according to specifications and test data, in conformity with standards of safety, efficiency, and economy. Designs layout of craft interior including cargo space, passenger compartments, ladder wells, and elevators. Confers with MARINE ENGINEERS to establish arrangement of boiler room equipment and propulsion machinery, heating and ventilating systems, refrigeration equipment, piping, and other functional equipment. Evaluates performance of craft during dock and sea trials to determine design changes and conformance with national and international standards.

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Graphic design

Graphic Designer
alternate titles: layout artist, web design
Designs art and copy layouts for material to be presented by visual communications media such as books, magazines, newspapers, television, and packaging: Studies illustrations and photographs to plan presentation of material, product, or service. Determines size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy, selects style and size of type, and arranges layout based upon available space, knowledge of layout principles, and esthetic design concepts. Draws sample of finished layout and presents sample to ART DIRECTOR for approval. Prepares notes and instructions for workers who assemble and prepare final layouts for printing. Reviews final layout and suggests improvements as needed. May prepare illustrations or rough sketches of material according to instructions of client or supervisor. May prepare series of drawings to illustrate sequence and timing of story development for television production. May mark up, paste, and assemble final layouts to prepare layouts for printer. May specialize in particular field, medium, or type of layout. May produce still and animated graphic formats for on-air and taped portions of television news broadcasts, using electronic video equipment. May photograph layouts, using camera, to make layout prints for supervisor or client. May develop negatives and prints, using negative and print developing equipment, tools and work aids to produce layout photographs for client or supervisor. May key information into computer equipment to create layouts for client or supervisor.

Desktop Publisher
alternate titles: publications specialists, electronic publishers, DTP operators, desktop publishing editors, electronic prepress technicians, electronic publishing specialists, image designers, typographers, compositors, layout artists, and web publications designers
Using computer software, desktop publishers format and combine text, numerical data, photographs, charts, and other visual graphic elements to produce publication-ready material. Depending on the nature of a particular project, desktop publishers may write and edit text, create graphics to accompany text, convert photographs and drawings into digital images and then manipulate those images, design page layouts, create proposals, develop presentations and advertising campaigns, typeset and do color separation, and translate electronic information onto film or other traditional forms. Materials produced by desktop publishers include books, business cards, calendars, magazines, newsletters and newspapers, packaging, slides, and tickets. As companies have brought the production of marketing, promotional, and other kinds of materials in-house, they increasingly have employed people who can produce such materials. Desktop publishing is a rapidly changing field that encompasses a number of different kinds of jobs. Personal computers enable desktop publishers to perform publishing tasks that would otherwise require complicated equipment and human effort. Advances in computer software and printing technology continue to change and enhance desktop publishing work. Like photographers and multimedia artists and animators, desktop publishers also can create special effects or other visual images using film, video, computers, or other electronic media.

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Industrial Design/Product Design

Industrial Designer
Originates and develops ideas to design the form of manufactured products: Reads publications, attends showings, and consults with engineering, marketing, production, and sales representatives to establish design concepts. Evaluates design ideas based on factors such as appealing appearance, design-function relationships, serviceability, materials and methods engineering, application, budget, price, production costs, methods of production, market characteristics, and client specifications. Integrates findings and concepts and sketches design ideas. Presents design to client or design committee and discusses need for modification and change. May design product packaging and graphics for advertising. May build simulated model, using hand and power tools and various materials. May prepare illustrations. May prepare or coordinate preparation of working drawings from sketches and design specifications. May design products for custom applications. May be required to have specialized product knowledge. Usually specializes in specific product or type of product including, but not limited to hardware, motor vehicle exteriors and interiors, scientific instruments, industrial equipment, luggage, jewelry, housewares, toys, or novelties and is designated accordingly.

Package Designer
Designs containers for products, such as foods, beverages, toiletries, cigarettes, and medicines: Confers with representatives of engineering, marketing, management, and other departments to determine packaging requirements and type of product market. Sketches design of container for specific product, considering factors, such as convenience in handling and storing, distinctiveness for identification by consumer, and simplicity to minimize production costs. Renders design, including exterior markings and labels, using paints and brushes. Typically fabricates model in paper, wood, glass, plastic, or metal, depending on material to be used in package. Makes changes or modifications required by approving authority.

Drafter, Mechanical
alternate titles: drafter, engineering
Drafts detailed drawings of machinery and mechanical devices, indicating dimensions and tolerances, fasteners and joining requirements, and other engineering data: Reviews rough sketches and engineering specifications received from engineer or architect. Drafts multiple-view assembly, subassembly, and layout drawings as required for manufacture and repair of machines and equipment. Performs other duties as described under DRAFTER.

Tool Designer
Designs single- or multiple-edged machine cutting tools, such as broaches, milling-machine cutters, and drills, and related jigs, dies, and fixtures: Studies specifications, engineering blueprints, tool orders, and shop data and confers with engineering and shop personnel to resolve design problems related to material characteristics, dimensional tolerances, service requirements, manufacturing procedures, and cost. Applies algebraic and geometric formulas and standard tool engineering data to develop tool configuration. Selects standard items, such as bushings and tool bits, to incorporate into tool design. Draws preliminary sketches and prepares layout and detail drawings, using standard drafting tools and equipment or computer-assisted design/drafting equipment and software. Modifies tool designs according to trial or production service data to improve tool life or performance.

Tool-Designer Apprentice
Performs duties as described under APPRENTICE (any industry).

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Interior Design

Photo of a kitchen with a height-adjustable sink in its lowered position.
GE Real Life Design Kitchen by Mary Jo Peterson, CKD,
from Images of Universal Design Excellence.

Interior Designer
Plans, designs, and furnishes interior environments of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings: Confers with client to determine architectural preferences, purpose and function of environment, budget, types of construction, equipment to be installed, and other factors which affect planning interior environments. Integrates findings with knowledge of interior design and formulates environmental plan to be practical, esthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style of occupants. Advises client on interior design factors, such as space planning, layout and utilization of furnishings and equipment, color schemes, and color coordination. Renders design ideas in form of paste ups, drawings, or illustrations, estimates material requirements and costs, and presents design to client for approval. Selects or designs and purchases furnishings, art works, and accessories. Subcontracts fabrication, installation, and arrangement of carpeting, fixtures, accessories, draperies, paint and wall coverings, art work, furniture, and related items. May plan and design interior environments for boats, planes, buses, trains, and other enclosed spaces. May specialize in particular field, style, or phase of interior design. May specialize in decorative aspects of interior design and be designated Interior Decorator (profess. & kin.).

Facility Manager
Facility managers have duties similar to those of administrative services managers, but also plan, design, and manage buildings and grounds in addition to people. They are responsible for coordinating the aspects of the physical workplace with the people and work of an organization. This task requires integrating the principles of business administration, architecture, and behavioral and engineering science. Although the specific tasks assigned to facility managers vary substantially depending on the organization, the duties fall into several categories, relating to operations and maintenance, real estate, project planning and management, communication, finance, quality assessment, facility function, and management of human and environmental factors. Tasks within these broad categories may include space and workplace planning, budgeting, purchase and sale of real estate, lease management, renovations, or architectural planning and design. Facility managers may suggest and oversee renovation projects for a variety of reasons, ranging from improving efficiency to ensuring that facilities meet government regulations and environmental, health, and security standards. Additionally, facility managers continually monitor the facility to ensure that it remains safe, secure, and well-maintained. Often, the facility manager is responsible for directing staff, including maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers.

Furniture Designer (furniture)
Designs furniture for manufacture, according to knowledge of design trends, offerings of competition, production costs, capability of production facilities, and characteristics of company's market: Confers with production, design, and sales personnel to obtain design suggestions and customer orders. Evaluates orders and proposals to determine feasibility of producing item. Sketches freehand design of article. Obtains approval from customer, design committee, or authorized company officials, and originates scale or full size drawing, using drawing instruments. Prepares itemized production requirements to produce item. Traces drawing on material for use in production of blueprints, using drawing instruments. Prepares or directs preparation of blueprints containing manufacturing specifications, such as dimensions, kind of wood, and upholstery fabrics to be used in manufacturing article. Attends staff conference with plant personnel to explain and resolve production requirements. May design and prepare detailed drawings of jigs, fixtures, forms, or tools required to be used in production. May plan modifications for completed furniture to conform to changes in design trends and increase customer acceptance. May design custom pieces or styles according to specific period or country. May build or oversee construction of models or prototypes. May design fixtures and equipment, such as counters and display cases, and be designated Fixture Designer (furniture).

Furniture Reproducer (furniture)
Prepares working drawings and templates of antique or custom furniture to facilitate reproduction: Draws sketches of piece, freehand or with drawing instruments. Measures piece with rule and calipers and notes dimensions on drawing. Makes detailed drawing of joints, carvings, and milled sections for shop use [DRAFTER]. Traces or draws outlines of parts on plywood or cardboard and cuts out part along outline to make template. Marks templates to indicate name of part, type of construction, variety of wood, and finish. May make drawings from pictures when models are not available.

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Landscape Architecture/Landscape Design

Landscape Architect
Alternate Titles: Community Planner, Environmental Planner, Land Planner, Site Planner
Plans and designs development of land areas for projects, such as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, highways, and parkways, hospitals, schools, land subdivisions, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites: Confers with clients, engineering personnel, and ARCHITECTS on overall program. Compiles and analyzes data on such site conditions as geographic location; soil, vegetation, and rock features; drainage; and location of structures for preparation of environmental impact report and development of landscaping plans. Prepares site plans, working drawings, specifications, and cost estimates for land development, showing ground contours, vegetation, locations of structures, and such facilities as roads, walks, parking areas, fences, walls, and utilities, coordinating arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures. Inspects construction work in progress to ensure compliance with landscape specifications, to approve quality of materials and work, and to advise client and construction personnel on landscape features. May be designated according to project as Highway-Landscape Architect, Park-Landscape Architect.

Other Titles

Drafter, Landscape
Prepares detailed scale drawings and tracings from rough sketches or other data provided by LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT. May prepare separate detailed site plan, grading and drainage plan, lighting plan, paving plan, irrigation plan, planting plan, and drawings and detail of garden structures. May build models of proposed landscape construction and prepare colored drawings for presentation to client.

Drafter, Apprentice
Performs duties as described under APPRENTICE (any industry).

Drafter, Assistant
Copies plans and drawings prepared by DRAFTER by tracing them with ink and pencil on transparent paper or cloth spread over drawings, using triangle, T-square, compass, pens, and other drafting instruments. Makes simple sketches or drawings under close supervision.

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Urban Design/Urban Planning

Urban Planner
alternate titles: city planner; city-planning engineer land planner; town planner
Develops comprehensive plans and programs for utilization of land and physical facilities of cities, counties, and metropolitan areas: Compiles and analyzes data on economic, social, and physical factors affecting land use, and prepares or requisitions graphic and narrative reports on data. Confers with local authorities, civic leaders, social scientists, and land planning and development specialists to devise and recommend arrangements of land and physical facilities for residential, commercial, industrial, and community uses. Recommends governmental measures affecting land use, public utilities, community facilities, and housing and transportation to control and guide community development and renewal. May review and evaluate environmental impact reports applying to specified private and public planning projects and programs. When directing activities of planning department, is known as Chief Planner (profess. & kin.); Director, Planning (profess. & kin.). Usually employed by local government jurisdictions, but may work for any level of government, or private consulting firms.

Environmental Analyst (government ser.)
Directs, develops, and administers state governmental program for assessment of environmental impact of proposed recreational projects: Directs assessment of environmental impact and preparation of impact statements required for final evaluation of proposed actions. Directs identification and analysis of alternative proposals for handling projects in environmentally sensitive manner. Plans for enhancement of environmental setting for each proposed recreational project. Designs and directs special studies to obtain technical environmental information regarding planned projects, contacting and utilizing various sources, such as regional engineering offices, park region laboratories, and other governmental agencies. Prepares and controls budget for functions of impact-statement preparation program. Attends meetings and represents department on subjects related to program.

Traffic Technician (government ser.)
Conducts field studies to determine traffic volume, speed, effectiveness of signals, adequacy of lighting, and other factors influencing traffic conditions: Analyzes traffic volume and interviews motorists at assigned intersections or other areas where congestion exists or where disproportionate number of accidents have occurred [TRAFFIC CHECKER (government ser.)]. Determines average speed of vehicles, using electrical timing devices or radar equipment. Times stoplight or other delays, using stopwatch. Observes lighting, visibility of signs and pavement markings, location of traffic signals, width of street or roadway, and other considerations affecting traffic conditions. Draws graphs, charts, diagrams, and similar aids to illustrate observations and conclusions. Computes mathematical factors for adjusting timing of traffic signals, speed restrictions, and related data, using standard formulas. Prepares drawings of proposed signal installations or other control devices, using drafting instruments. May prepare statistical studies of traffic conditions. May recommend changes in traffic control devices and regulations on basis of findings.

City Planning Aide
alternate titles: planning assistant
Compiles data for use by URBAN PLANNER in making planning studies: Summarizes information from maps, reports, field and file investigations, and books. Traces maps and prepares statistical tabulations, computations, charts, and graphs to illustrate planning studies in areas, such as population, transportation, traffic, land use, zoning, proposed subdivisions, and public utilities. Prepares and updates files and records. May answer public inquiries, conduct field interviews and make surveys of traffic flow, parking, housing, educational facilities, recreation, zoning, and other conditions which affect planning studies.

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Web Design

Web Designer
alternate titles: internet developer, web developer, webmaster

The growth of the Internet and expansion of the World Wide Web, the graphical portion of the Internet, have generated a variety of occupations related to design, development, and maintenance of Web sites and their servers. For example, webmasters are responsible for all technical aspects of a website, including performance issues such as speed of access, and for approving site content. Internet developers or we