People who work in this sector use their creative ideas to improve the appearance and function of almost everything we see and use in our daily lives.

  • Designers work on products ranging from cars to clothes and home appliances, to magazines. They make sure that their designs are attractive, functional and, where possible, environmentally sustainable. 
  • Artists produce paintings, sculpture and other pieces that decorate homes, workplaces and public spaces. Medical illustrators have more of functional role within art, and make up artists are often working with the media profession, or another area such as advertising.
  • Craftspeople, such as engravers and silversmiths, produce items using both traditional and modern methods and materials.
  • Musicians and dancers entertain other people, teach those that want to learn their skills, and some provide therapy through music or dance.
  • Photographers capture images for all sorts of purposes: art, weddings, commercial functions.

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Jobs and salaries

There are a wide range of jobs within Creative Arts and Design, including:

  • Drama therapists - BADth (British Association of Drama Therapists)
  • Dance teachers - BATD (British Association of Teachers of Dancing)
  • Photographers - BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photography), MPA (Master Photographers Association)
  • Interior designers - BIID
  • Make up artists - NASMAH
  • Musicians - ISM
  • Audiology - BSA
  • Medical illustrators - IMI 
  • Videographers - IOV
  • Sound and lighting technicians 

This Digital Design Career Zone features useful careers info and advice for anyone working/wanting to work in web design, graphic design, UX design, UI/usability design, games design, animation and artwork.

  • This salary checker allows you to see what the average salary is for various creative roles. Income is often not regular in this sector, with creative professionals being commissioned or contracted for individual jobs. However this is not the case for all roles.

Also take a look at our Career Sectors for Built Environment; and Media and Broadcasting.

Routes and qualifications

Apprenticeships are also often a good way to get into a profession within the creative arts and design.

Search Creative Skillset's database for creative media courses.

Although it is often unnecessary to have a formal qualification (work experience is more of an essential), many institutes do offer courses and training (or information about what's best) for:

Funding and support

Creative Skillset offer bursaries towards the cost of training and they also subsidise training courses to reduce the course fees.

‘Specialist Residential Centres’ offer extra support for students wanting to study some art and design courses. Places are only available if similar provision isn't on offer locally. See if you can find a residential bursary for a course you're interested in studying away from home.

If you want to study for a degree in this sector, check out the pages on student finance from, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with.

How many jobs are there in this sector?

People working in the creative arts and design sector make up approximately 4% of the UK's workforce, which is the same as those employed in finance.

Music and the visual and performing arts are the largest employers within the creative industry.

What’s it really like to work in this sector? 

Bored of reading? Take a look at our selection of careers videos from professionals working in the creative arts and design sector.

  • Employees in this sector often work regular hours; however they are sometimes required to do overtime to meet deadlines.
  • While those that are self employed often have no set hours, but may need to be available during weekends and evenings to sell their work.
  • Many craft workers and artists have more than one part-time job to boost their income.

Location, location, location

Jobs in this sector are available throughout the UK. However there is a higher concentration in London and the South East.

Will a career in this sector suit me?

  • Creativity, understanding of how to use shape and colour, and good spatial awareness are important for many jobs.
  • Computer skills are essential for most design work, Artists need to be practical and may require good drawing skills, while craft workers have to be good with their hands.
  • There are job opportunities at all levels, but competition for jobs is intense. Some entrants have few formal qualifications, but many enter after having relevant art and design training.
  • There are many full- and part-time design, art and craft courses, ranging from those at GCSE level, to those leading to postgraduate qualifications.
  • Employers and course admissions tutors normally expect to see a portfolio of work.