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Work Conditions: Designers




Working conditions and places of employment vary. Designers employed by manufacturing establishments, large corporations, or design firms generally work regular hours in well-lighted and comfortable settings. Designers in smaller design consulting firms, or those who freelance, generally work on a contract, or job, basis. They frequently adjust their workday to suit their clients’ schedules and deadlines, meeting with the clients during evening or weekend hours when necessary. Consultants and self-employed designers tend to work longer hours and in smaller, more congested, environments.

Designers may transact business in their own offices or studios or in clients’ homes or offices. They also may travel to other locations, such as showrooms, design centers, clients’ exhibit sites, and manufacturing facilities. Designers who are paid by the assignment are under pressure to please clients and to find new ones in order to maintain a steady income. All designers sometimes face frustration when their designs are rejected or when their work is not as creative as they wish. With the increased speed and sophistication of computers and advanced communications networks, designers may form international design teams, serve a geographically more dispersed clientele, research design alternatives by using information on the Internet, and purchase supplies electronically, all with the aid of a computer in their workplace or studio.

Occasionally, industrial designers may work additional hours to meet deadlines. Similarly, graphic designers usually work regular hours, but may work evenings or weekends to meet production schedules. In contrast, set and exhibit designers work long and irregular hours; often, they are under pressure to make rapid changes. Merchandise displayers and window trimmers may spend much of their time designing displays in their office or studio, but those who also construct and install the displays may have to move lumber and heavy materials and perform some carpentry and painting. Fashion designers may work long hours to meet production deadlines or prepare for fashion shows. In addition, fashion designers may be required to travel to production sites across the United States and overseas. Interior designers generally work under deadlines and may put in extra hours to finish a job. Also, they typically carry heavy, bulky sample books to meetings with clients. Floral designers generally work regular hours in a pleasant work environment, but holiday, wedding, and funeral orders often require overtime.