Column: Art and design is a worthwhile choice

Anne-Marie Kerr, leader of the art and design curriculum at Grantham College.
Anne-Marie Kerr, leader of the art and design curriculum at Grantham College.
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Anne-Marie Kerr, leader of the art and design curriculum at Grantham College, talks about career opportunities in the industry.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a new phone, fashion accessory or piece of furniture everyone will have an opinion on its design.

When it comes to design, especially good design, I really enjoy listening to people questioning and discussing the pros and cons of a product. Because we are the end user, we are entitled to an opinion. The fact is we pass comment on design in all aspects of our daily lives. By purchasing a product you are choosing a particular design; it may be for its aesthetic values or for its functionality or hopefully both but you have made a conscientious decision based upon your needs.

As a lecturer of art and design I am always encouraging debate and questioning my students regarding design. There is one question I am asked on regularly and it hasn’t changed since I was a teenager preparing for the big wide world of work, and that is ‘What sort of a job can you get with a qualification in art and design?’ My parents asked exactly that when I announced that I wanted to study art and design at level 3 and then go on to university.

We are surrounded by design and we comment on design but we don’t see the actual act of creating the product as a career. In basic terms, this is what a designer does – they create products that solve problems, fulfil a need and hopefully look good at the same time.

Before becoming a lecturer I worked as a furniture designer on the south coast and then in central London. I feel very privileged that my work has always been something I enjoy.

The creative industries are one of the fastest growing in the UK. You only need to Google ‘Jobs in the art and design industry’ to get 162 million sites (Sep 2013) to visit and explore the huge range of opportunities out there.

Former graphic design students are proof that careers can be made from design courses – Dipesh Mistry worked on the Barclaycard rollercoaster advert and Lucinda Ireland won the Hallmark Award at the New Designers exhibition in 2011. James Cottingham works for Quality Furniture, working as part of the design team developing new products.

You can study foundation to university level in art and design at Grantham College. Visit www.grantham.ac.uk