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Job Shadowing Don Draper and Tim Gunn: Careers in Visual Design

The speed of technological development makes this an exciting time to be entering a career in visual design. The vast expansion of practical uses for technology have resulted in an explosion of rewarding new career paths. Once relegated to a job in web design, the opportunities now available to trained visual designers is virtually limitless.


Textile Design

If you find yourself binge watching Project Runway or lusting after a new style featured in the latest issue of Vogue, a career in pattern and textile design might be the perfect way to combine your love of fashion and visual design. Each and every printed textile used in clothing and home décor pieces began as a vision that had to be translated through the work of a visual designer. From the work of famously recognizable brands such as Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley to the ever-changing trends associated with designers like Michael Kors, each textile provides a virtual designer the opportunity to express his or her creativity in a tactile form.


Literary Illustration

A love of the written word can also transition into a visual design career. If you are inspired by a wide variety of tales from different genres, you may have what it takes to work as a book illustrator. Of course, the market for children’s book illustrations is expansive; however, there are also opportunities for book jacket designers. Creating a single illustration to express the contents of an entire literary work is challenging but can be extremely rewarding.



The phenomenon of the “ad man” was brought back into the canon of pop culture thanks to the soaring success of the television show Mad Men. Advertising has changed substantially since the days of Don Draper, but the idea behind successfully creating an ad campaign remains the same. Exploring the motivations of your target audience and preparing stunning visual images that drive those individuals to make a purchase makes for a fascinating career.


Packaging Design

A similar and equally interesting career is in the area of product and packaging design. From busy, colorful designs for children’s cereals, to crisp, clean designs for organic snacks, these images can be seen on store shelves around the world. Every new product provides an opportunity for creativity, and a career in this area is sure to provide an outlet for even the most inspired individual.


Urban Design
Urban design is another career that touches on virtually every person, every day. While the architectural decisions made on each building project are important, the concept of urban design focuses on the bigger picture. Instead of ensuring a single structure is pleasing to eye and expresses the desired design elements, urban designers plan the way these structures must interconnect to make an entire urban area attractive. From color schemes to marking out essential green spaces, virtual designers must consider the planned use and target resident to make communities, neighborhoods, and even entire towns functional and sustainable. Relationships with city planners, engineers, architects, and countless other people involved in the monumental task of urban design make a career in this area perfect for the creative individual that enjoys collaboration and time away from a traditional computer screen.