ANNOUNCEMENT : This company is now wholly owned by its employees. Further details here...

020 7432 8855 (advertisers only)

Browse job titles : Design

Design - the basics

Designer job description:

A designer is responsible for creating the look of a product by listening to clients and understanding their needs. They develop creative ideas and concepts, choosing the appropriate media and style to meet the client's objectives.

Did you know?

Design is one of the most competitive areas in retail. For every 15 buying jobs in the industry, there is only one design position. Make sure that your CV is as good as it can be!

A designer’s core responsibilities include:

The job of designer will include researching fashion trends, designing the fashion and retail ranges, as well as souring fabric and trim. Meanwhile, a graphic designer is responsible predominantly for creating all over prints, placement prints and graphics on products. They work closely with the shape designers and reporting into a fashion design manager/director.

Designers may work over a huge variety of products and activities, such as websites, advertising, books, magazines, posters, computer games, product packaging, exhibitions and displays, corporate communications and corporate identity, i.e. giving organisations a visual 'brand’.

Key skills needed:

Up-to-date knowledge of industry trends
A professional approach to time, costs and deadlines
Proactivity Proficiency in CAD including Photoshop and Illustrator
Excellent hand drawing skills
An up-to-date portfolio looking at the next two seasons


Typically, starting salaries for assistant designers are between £13,000 and £19,000 while JuniorDesigners can expect to earn up to £25,000. Designers and Senior Designers can earn in the region of £25,000 to £50,000. A design manager can make £60,000 a year or more depending on the type and size of company that you're working for.


Large retailers – River Island, Monsoon and Arcadia Group as well as branded companies such as Burberry, Aquascutum, Diesel, Miss Sixty, Boxfresh and importers and manufacturers such Dewhirst, Sara Lee Courtaulds, Richard Caring Group all employ designers so there is a wide variety of roles for you to choose from. In fact, for every brand and retailer there are three times as many importers and manufacturers!

To progress in fashion or retail as a designer you will have begun your career as a junior/ assistant designer, moving up to a job as designer, then senior designer and then to design manager/director or head of graphics if your sector is graphic design.

Just starting out? See our tips on how to get into an assistant apparel design role

Or find out how to get into jewellery design here.

Career advice for designers:

Getting ahead in design - tips from the experts

Stay on top of workloads: Tips for time management

The 7 deadly CV sins - how many are on your job application?

Must-read tips for before your interview as a fashion designer

Preparing for an assessment centre? Take this advice


PLUS: Which fashion retailer should you be working for? Take our quiz and find out!

Select a different category