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- Roles and Work Environment
- Skills and Training
- Industry Timeline
- Find Opportunities
- Applying and Interviewing
- Additional Industry Resources
Roles and Work Environment
Artists and designers play integral role in many industries in today’s visual culture. Commercial artists also help business enterprises sell products and services, illustrate concepts, convey messages, and document events. Artists also create graphic works for websites, film, television, and video. Some artists specialize in storyboards and others work solely as animators, bringing cartoon characters and computer-generated heroes to vivid life. They may also specialize in visual effects, which is known as computer-generated images (CGI), designing scenery or backgrounds or creating images of actors performing. Designers can be found in roles that involve the prototyping and creation of physical sites and products, such as packaging, buildings/interiors, websites, clothing, promotional materials, and much more.
Below is a sampling of roles you might find:
Examples of Visual Art & Design Jobs:
- Costume Designers
- Digital Designers
- Film and Television Directors
- Graphic Designers
- Production Designers and Art Directors
Below are some additional resources to find opportunities:
Skills and Training
- Digital Media
- Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
The recruitment timeline in this industry is based on position vacancy. The following example highlights the timeline of a visual art organization interested in hiring UVA students.
Nickelodeon is the number-one brand for kids with original cartoons, sitcoms, movies and award shows. It produces hits like SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, School of Rock, Shimmer and Shine and more! Its summer internship program, which starts in June and wraps in August, has a deadline at April 1st. July 1st is the deadline for its fall internship program, which starts in September and ends in November or December. Its spring internship program’s deadline is November 1st. This spring internships usually starts in February and ends in April/May.
- Arts Council
- Arts Board
- Arts Ground Guide
- Blacksmithing Club
- Filmmaker's Society
- HackCville (specifically EXPOSURE, VECTOR, and WIREFRAME)
- The Art Club
- Creative Hotlist
- Art Deadlines List
- Intern with the U.S. Diplomacy Center:
- Intern with the Art in Embassies Program:
- General info - https://art.state.gov/
- Registry of art - http://aieregistry.org/
Applying and Interviewing
Resumes and Cover Letters
Your professional resume should address skills needed in your desired field and special accomplishments or results-oriented tasks you performed in previous work. Depending on the specific job function you hope to fulfil, those skills might include:
- Critical Thinking
- Broad Content Knowledge
- Ability to Improve with Feedback
- Savvy with Technology
When it comes to choosing a format, some arts or media organizations may be more tolerant of design-heavy resumes that use color, graphics, or otherwise veer from the traditional one-page resume. Keep in mind that, regardless of the field, hiring managers are more interested in quality content (what have you done?) than visual appeal. In fact, some employers view non-traditional resumes as a tool for masking a lack of experience. Don't let this be you! Use work samples and your online portfolio to show your design skills so you can keep your resume content-focused.
If you are promoting your work to galleries or posting your experience on a website where you are selling work, an artist resume may be a better fit than one that is designed for employment. Here, you would highlight awards, publications, shows/exhibitions, and competitions you participated in, as well as some statements about your artistic approach.
- College Art Association—Standards and Guidelines
The interviewing process varies with positions in this industry.
The following are some sample questions for the Graphic Design role.
- Describe your process for generating design ideas for a project. I’m particularly interested in how you develop an understanding of audience, message, and purpose and then implement this understanding in your design.
- Do you prefer that your client give you quite specific ideas or leave the entire design process up to you? Why?
- Explain your familiarity with production processes and designing a job to be printed.
- How long would it take you to plan, design, and complete a 300 × 400 banner?
Promoting & Selling Your Work
Producing a creative piece you want to market and / or sell is an incredible accomplishment, and something to celebrate. There are numerous methods of promoting your work, most of which correlate to both your piece and your goal for it. Below are a few ways to publicize you and your product.
Alumni Spotlight: Graphic Designer
Brittany is a Production Designer with Journey Group, an independent graphic design company located in Charlottesville, VA. A designer and artist by trade, Brittany spends her free time designing, photographing, and illustrating for personal projects and non-profits in the area.
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies (Bachelor), Elementary Education (Masters)
College: University of Virginia
Additional Industry Resources
Blogs and Industry Research
- Art & Design Occupations Job Descriptions
- Graphic Designer Job Description
- Interior Designers—Job description
- The Secret Handshake—Student designer resource
- Talent Loves Us–Mentorship program for designers
- UVA’s Arch school Career Resources
- The Secret Handshake Resource for student designers and young creative looking for insider insight, honest answers and solid solutions to go pro.
- Architecture: ACSA Atlas, an ongoing project examining architectural education in relationship to demographics, higher education, the profession and the economy
- Graphic Design USA
- American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)—Professional association for design