Ceramics Designer Careers

How to become ceramics designer

What does a ceramics designer do?

Ceramics designers design a range of products to be made by shaping and firing clay. They either oversee production or (as self-employed designer/makers) carry out all processes from design to completion of the end product. Products include tableware and kitchenware, gifts and decorative items.

In large companies, designers will usually produce designs for mass production, interpreting product briefs and liaising with clients and other staff such as artists and modellers. They may design items using materials including bone china, hard porcelain, earthenware and stoneware, and will be involved in overseeing production.

Self-employed designers are more likely to design and produce one-off designs, which they may sell directly from their own studio, gallery or shop, at craft fairs or exhibitions, or through other shops or galleries. Designer/makers may produce items by hand or using a mould or potter's wheel.

In order to ensure that designs are commercially viable, designers will need to keep up to date with current trends. Ways of doing this include carrying out research and attending trade fairs and exhibitions.

Please see the ceramic/pottery maker and ceramic decorator profiles for more information on these areas.


What's the working environment like for ceramics designer?

Ceramics designers employed by companies usually work set basic hours, although extra hours may be required to meet deadlines. Self-employed or freelance designer/makers' hours vary according to the work available, and they may supplement their income by working in related areas such as teaching.


What does it take to become a ceramics designer?

To be a ceramics designer, you need:

  • to be creative

  • an appreciation of colour and shape

  • to be aware of the properties of materials and the technical processes involved

  • to be able to communicate ideas through sketches or computer-manipulated images

  • the ability to research and evaluate relevant design information

  • effective communication and negotiating skills

  • business and marketing skills for those wishing to establish their own businesses.


Ceramics designer career opportunities

Employers include large ceramic producers, often based in North Staffordshire (although the need to remain viable in an increasingly competitive field has resulted in downsizing in many companies) and retail outlets. It is often necessary to enter at a very junior position in order to build up experience. There may be opportunities to progress to managing teams of designers.

Many designer-craftworkers run their own businesses, selling their work directly to the public from their own studio or at craft fairs, or indirectly through shops and galleries. This allows more artistic freedom, but success depends on the ability to find markets for the finished products, and increase the client base.


Further information

If you would like to know anything about being a ceramic designer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Design Council

34 Bow Street
Tel: 020 7420 5200

Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street
Tel: 0845 300 6200

Crafts Council
44a Pentonville Road
N1 9BY
Tel: 020 7278 7700

Creative and Cultural Skills
Tel: 0800 093 0444

Creative and Cultural Skills
11 Southwark St

Studio Pottery

Design Trust

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