The Voice of Professional Design

Structure of the Design Industry

A structural view of design disciplines

The relationship, interests and economic drivers of design disciplines can be understood by grouping them in accordance with the industries they serve.

Interior design and product development disciplines have well defined relationships with particular sectors. Graphic design and related disciplines have clients in all business sectors.


A sector based view of design disciplines
Built Environment Manufacturing Visual Communication
Interior Designer,
Landscape Architect,
TV, Film & Theatre Set Designer
Industrial Designer/Product Designer,
Textile Designer,
Furniture Designer,
Fashion Designer,
Jewellery Designer,
Ceramic Designer,
Glass Designer
Graphic Designer,
Exhibition Designer/Display Designer,
Multimedia Designer,
Web Designers,
Digital Designer,
Digital Game Designer,
Digital Animation Designer,

Many design disciplines can be considered to be specialisations of the three primary design areas of product development, interior design and graphic design. Indeed in the early stages of the foundation of commercial design services the term industrial design was used to refer to all discipline areas.


Design Disciplines and Resulting Specialisations
Primary Disciplines Alternate names
or terms used in the industry and education at present
Specialisations of the primary disciplines Other specialisations which use the primary area of training
Industrial Design Product Design Furniture Design,
Textile Design (construction and finish of fabrics),
Fashion Design (design of apparel for manufacture),
Jewellery Design (design of jewellery for batch or mass production)
Exhibition and Display Design,
Digital Animation Design,
Digital Game Design
Interior Design Interior Architecture, Spatial Design Commercial Interior Design,
Residential Interior Design,
Retail Design,
TV, Film & Theatre Set
Exhibition and Display Design,
Furniture Design
Graphic Design Visual Communication Web Design,
Multimedia Design,
Digital Animation Design,
Exhibition and Display Design,
Digital Game Design
Textile Design (printed textiles)

Both Textile Design and Fashion Design are clearly primary disciplines in their own right. Both have a long history and have tertiary training specifically available in Australia. However it assists understanding their commercial intent to position them as specialist product development disciplines.

In addition the new digital media areas relating to graphic design are also developing their own education paths and are increasingly seen as distinct occupations.

Laminex Blum Brickworks

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Design is not about decorating functional forms - it is about creating forms that accord with the character of the object and that show new technologies to advantage.

Peter Behrens.

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