Creative Arts and Design

Creative Arts and Design

Develop your talent in a creative and practical way! You’ll study the creation of visual work, from painting to computer graphics and video games, including fine art and product design.

What is Creative Arts and Design?

The name – particularly the ‘Creative Arts’ aspect – may seem a little broad or vague. It’s really an umbrella term which covers the study of any subject which allows students to express themselves in some manner, whether using their own bodies to do this or in some physical or tangible object or structure.

Why should you study Creative Arts and Design?

Many people like to think of themselves as ‘creative’ in some way and usually, they express this in a hobby or personal interest which is separate from their studies. However there is no reason why you can’t turn this passion into something you study, and even a career later on – after all, retirement is a long way away so you might as well find a career you enjoy! If you’re talented (and fortunate) enough, you can make a good living salary-wise, though many who do find a career in this area will say that they also get a great deal of personal satisfaction each day from their job which they wouldn’t trade in.

Some students may not envisage themselves working a regular 9 to 5 job in an office for one company; for them, this might bore them completely! Instead, they would prefer a greater sense of flexibility in the way they work, when it comes to hours, location, who they work with, their employer etc. This constant change keeps them fresh and creative. The Creative Arts and Design field can offer more opportunities for freelancers and independent contractors. In exchange for some of the stability you get with working as a full-time employee for a company, you can really explore the world and enjoy a greater sense of variety in your work.

Plus the sectors which Creative Arts and Design qualifications lead to are amongst the more glamorous out there, including advertising, fashion, and show-business. As well as the monetary reward, there is also the opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and famous!

Who would be good at Creative Arts and Design?

Because Creative Arts and Design cover so many different areas, from performance to design, it really depends on where a student’s interest and talent lies. Usually, the field attracts students with big imaginations who have always thrived in expressing themselves through dance, drawing, writing, crafts, music etc. Imagination is especially important in courses where you are charged with creating physical objects and pieces of work from nothing (here patience, foresight, and analytical skills are also important). Students must also be prepared to be creative even when they’re tired or when they don’t feel like being so, fully immersing themselves in what they’re working on at all times (this might come as a bit of a shock to those who are studying something they have previously done for pleasure in their free time). A great deal of persistence and determination will help students once they graduate and are competing with others to grab those first career opportunities.

Those areas which involve practical performance will require students to be confident performing in front of an audience in addition to the technical skills required (this is where previous experience performing will help).

While there may be some theory involved, many Creative Arts and Design courses are far more practical in how they are taught and assessed. So if you’re not particularly academic, this isn’t necessarily a negative which goes against you – in fact after years of high school education and academic culture, this will be completely refreshing.

What Specific Courses can you Study?


 Art Administration



 Non-industrial Design

 Fashion and Textile Design

 Graphic Design

 Industrial Design

 Interior Design


 Theatre and Drama Studies

A typical Master of Design program will offer a range of courses in specific areas, such as photography, and specific design skills, such as color theory or perspective. Students will work with a wide range of software to develop high-level design skills, alongside a good awareness of the commercial landscape; past and present design trends and theories; and the range of communication methods and technologies available.

In order to complete their studies successfully, students will usually be required to visualize, develop and complete an independent design project.

Successful applicants will normally have achieved a high level of undergraduate degree (equivalent to a 1st or 2.1 grade in the UK system), in a relevant subject. Some universities may also ask for details of earlier qualifications completed at the secondary level.
You will usually need to provide a portfolio as part of your application. This should show off your creative talent, and show a range of relevant design skills within your specialist area.

Many universities recognize the value of prior learning and experience within related fields. However, you may still be considered even without any formal training in design. In some cases, you’ll be required to complete a preparatory course first. For example, the Illinois Institute of Technology (US) offers a one-year foundation program, focused on developing the skills and experience needed for an MDes.

Students who enter without previous formal study of design or a portfolio will usually take a longer time (up to three years instead of one or two) to complete the Master of Design program. You should always check the entry requirements for a course with the university themselves.

What are the criteria for studying a Creative Arts and Design course?
When applying, you may have to put together a portfolio which showcases your previous work, experience, and skills. This might include examples of designs, drawings, paintings, crafts etc. which you’ve produced. You may even have to perform as part of an audition or provide evidence of this.
A-levels – To get on to a related degree, you will usually need a minimum of two A levels. In addition, you normally require five GCSEs at grade C or above including maths and English. However, many courses do not have specific A-level requirements:

Performing arts – English, performing arts, or another essay-based humanities subject is useful. Applicants taking a performance music course will often be expected to have achieved a minimum of grade 7 ABRSM (or equivalent) in their main instrument or voice.
Design, fine art, and photography – many courses require, or prefer, an art and design A level. It can also advantageous to have a foundation diploma in art and design. Creative writing – English or a related A level is required for many courses.

What can you do with a Creative Arts and Design qualification?

This will depend on what you study. Because the field is concerned with leisure, entertainment, and culture – as opposed to supposedly ‘essential’ subjects like the STEM fields or Medicine – there are fewer opportunities to make a living, though they do exist!

Many who study performance-based courses like Music and Theatre & Drama Studies will do so to fulfill a dream of becoming a professional performer, either nationally or internationally. Others move into teaching their field to others, which is also an excellent opportunity and can prove more stable than waiting for work to come to you.

Those who study design-based subjects can move into roles as designers, either in-house, at an agency or self-employed. To enter careers in design, you will need to get as much work experience as you can and make as many contacts as possible. You will also need a portfolio of your design work to show to potential employers.

Key areas of Employment

This subject area has a strong vocational link, with the key areas of employment being:

 art and design


 local government

 leisure, travel, and tourism

 media and public relations

 performing arts

 voluntary organizations

 Related careers

Here are just some of the Career paths you can Take:


 art administrator




 community arts worker

 dance teacher

 drama therapist

 Interior designer

 Graphic designer

 Web designer



 Fashion designer


 theatre director

 music therapist