Retail design is a challenging environment, but if you love the idea of being in charge of how a retail environment ‘looks’, then this is the career for you. Retail designers create the perfect environment for consumers to spend money. The point is to create a space so amazing that the consumer will want to come back, again and again. After all, the harder you make it for someone to buy things, the less likely they are to repeat the experience.
What Qualities does a Retail Designer Need?
There are different career paths within retail design, including visual merchandiser and creative technologist, but to be successful in any of these niches, you need to have certain attributes. Firstly, you need to be a creative person with a strong eye for detail, and secondly, you need to be good at putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, so you can create the perfect retail environment for your clients.
Retail design is a customer-facing environment, so you will need to be comfortable dealing with clients and working within a team. Good retail designers also need to be highly organized, as project management is a big part of the job. You will be working to tight deadlines and dealing with paperwork, so your communication skills, both written and verbal, need to be top notch.
The Right Education
Education is important and most retail designers will come from a degree-educated background. Following the right career path is important. For example, if you want to work in healthcare, an MBA healthcare degree is going to be a smart choice, but for a retail design career, an MBA in healthcare management won’t get you very far unless you decide to switch careers part-way through life.
Retail Design Degree
Instead, look at pursuing a design degree when you leave high school. There are specialist degrees on offer, but a related degree in spatial design, interior design or interior architecture will also be desirable. If your ambition is to work in fashion retail, consider studying for a fashion marketing and retail design bachelor’s degree.
Retail Design Internships
Applying for an internship is an excellent way of getting a foot in the door with one of the larger retail design agencies. This is your opportunity to shine and show them what you are made of. It is also a chance to find out what exactly the job entails, so you can be 100% certain this is the career for you.
If you want a place on a degree course or internship, you will need to have a strong portfolio to show the interviewers. They are looking for evidence of creativity and original ideas. Include sketches, paintings, photographs, drawings and CAD designs if applicable. You need a good range of work, but be selective and make sure your work shows progression of ideas.
Retail design is a competitive field, but experienced designers are never short of work and can expect to earn around $42,000 a year.