As a furniture designer, you’ll produce designs for items of furniture and related products. These designs may then be mass produced or made in small batches or as one-off individual pieces.
You may just be involved in the design aspect of the work or you may be a highly-skilled crafts person and produce items from your own designs.
Furniture designers can be artistic and practical. In creating fixtures for homes and businesses, these inventors produce an array of furnishings from the simple to the unique.
The role may involve a number of functions, particularly if you are self-employed, including:
- maintenance engineer
- production manager
- studying, researching and planning various styles of furniture design
- finding ways to improve furniture items already manufactured
- staying informed about design trends and developments
- selecting suitable materials, which might include wood, metal, plastic and textiles
- discussing designs with clients for custom ordering or with manufacturers
- generating sample designs using computer-aided design (CAD), card models, sketches or hard prototypes
- using software packages such as AutoCAD, Inventor, SolidWorks and Photoshop
- preparing detailed final designs
- liaising with craftsmen or production department staff – such as production managers, marketing staff and design engineers – about the process of construction or manufacture
- evaluating issues such as pricing and fixing costs, fashion, purchasing, safety, materials and manufacturing methods and techniques
- using various tools to complete projects from raw materials to finished furniture items
- organising plans and schedules with respect to the availability of resources
- attending workshops, seminars and training on various types of manufacturing and furniture design.
You don’t need formal education to become a furniture designer, but many of these professionals have earned a diploma or certificate in a fine arts-related field. The following furniture-related subjects may be helpful:
- furniture design
- furniture design and making
- product and furniture design.
- creative and practical ability
- drawing skills and strong visual awareness
- manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination
- an understanding of computer-aided design (CAD) and other technological advances
- knowledge of industrial processes and techniques, safety issues and specialist fields or materials
- communication skills
- commercial focus
- self-motivation, self-discipline and persistence
- flexibility and adaptability
- the ability to work to deadlines
- collaborative skills, particularly if working in a multidisciplinary practice
- a desire to keep up to date with market trends and new ideas
- business and marketing skills, for those thinking of self-employment.