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Banke Ajagunna: Career Opportunities in the Design Industry

There are admin roles, marketing roles, media, storytellers, gatekeepers, the educationists, etc. More often than not, designers specialize in two or more areas of practice.

Banke Ajagunna

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The interior design industry in Nigeria is still evolving and growing, making room for a lot of void screaming to be filled. Contrary to popular belief, interior design or interior decoration are not the only roles available in the design space. Like any other industry, case in point, technology, you don’t have to code to work in that space. There are admin roles, marketing roles, media, storytellers, gatekeepers, the educationists, etc. More often than not, designers specialize in two or more areas of practice. This doesn’t come as a surprise because roles overlap i.e an interior designer can double as a consultant and/or a stylist. There are dozens of career options to choose from and we will be highlighting a few of the career offerings the design industry has to offer.

Furniture Designer
Furniture designing is considered as creativity taking shape. For context, furniture is a movable piece of fitting used in designing or decorating a room to make it habitable (Key word: movable). Furniture designers take into consideration function, form and fashion. They choose the material and fabric with which an object is made. You can see why furniture designers are probably the most crucial people in this field.

Interior Designer
This is undoubtedly the most obvious point of entry for a “fresh from the mint” designer. The interior design industry is quite versatile; from residential to hospitality to commercial design, interior designers have a broader range of clients to choose from. Interior designers can either create a niche for themselves  by specializing in one of these fields or by just being a general designer. Generally, clients prefer to work with designers that have similar taste and style with theirs as this makes communication easier and reduces the back and forth associated with trying to explain their wants and needs for their space. That being said, it is advisable to stick to your design style or pattern you choose for yourself because there is a client for everyone.

Interior Decorator
Often mistaken for an interior designer, the role of an interior decorator is very distinct and at the same time similar to that of a designer. Decorators are more concerned about the artistic styling and beautification of a space. Interior decorators are not saddled with the technicalities of the design field and this allows for freedom of expression of their creative side.

Exhibition/Stage Designer
Stage designers are responsible for conceptualizing the stage set, lighting, sound, props, ahead of an event or performance. In these climes, more often than not, stage designers are interior designers or decorators who have the know-how of a set designer and can do both. This is solely because there are not many jobs for a stage/exhibition designer in Nigeria, yet.

Landscape and Garden Designer
Landscape designers have a deep understanding of soils, plants – their peculiarities and installation practices. They are responsible for creating, presenting, and overseeing the development of landscapes for  public parks, green spaces in cities, sporting sites, housing developments or wildlife conservation areas. As a landscape designer, you’ll make practical, sustainable, attractive spaces which are good for overall health and wellbeing, and which protect the environment (sounds like a superhero career, if you ask me!). If you are a lover of nature and the outdoors, you should consider taking this up as a career.

Design Consultant
As a consultant, your role is to advise clients on the best way to design their space in an effective and efficient manner. Consultant’s don’t burden themselves with the heavy lifting and getting their hands dirty. The service of a consultant is even more useful when a client can’t afford a full-fledged design service. He/she could pay for a one-off consultation where the consultant draws out a plan and provides a mood-board that would serve as a guide for the client.

Interior Stylist
Whether it’s designing or conceptualizing entire room sets from scratch or simply selecting the best props, angles and locations to complement a small range of products, a stylist helps ‘stage’ a space and prepares it for photo shoots, offering full creative direction or simply working to a brief, as required. A stylist knows what style of imagery press, bloggers and consumers are looking for in order to ensure your brand is seen in the best possible light.

Design Journalist
From documenting design trends locally and internationally, the role of a design journalist is quite exhilarating and on-the-go. They attend design exhibitions, press shows searching out the latest trends and forecasting the future of design, keeping design enthusiasts abreast with industry trends in and around the globe. Occasionally, a journalist could be affiliated with a magazine or media to help them source material, write features and do research. This career path would be a fantastic fit for writers and avid travelers.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more roles in the design industry and all you have to do is look them up online, find what suits you and where you think you can apply yourself and do your best work. In your own lane, you do better and thrive.

Banke Ajagunna is the Lead Interior Designer at Decor.ng with a previous work background in the Nigerian technology ecosystem. Banke's design style is Modern and Contemporary with Scandanavian fusion and executes project with a keen eye for detail. View more details about her work at www.decor.ng

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