7 Super Niche Design Jobs
Design is a very diverse field of study. It encompasses everything from graphic design to fashion design to video game design. While it is good to have an understanding of different specializations, being a master of one niche helps you find your place in the design world. So I wanted to look for some of the oddest and most niche design related jobs that I could find. Maybe these can spark your creativity and help you find your design career path.
Ski Trail Map designer
I love skiing so when I reading an article about a ski trail map designer intrigued me. Even as a designer, I had never thought about this being its own field of design and the intricacies that come with designing a ski trail map.
“Chances are you’ve seen a James Niehues painting before, but you didn’t know it. His canvas is the ski trail map, which is often overlooked for its artistic value. But since 1986, Niehues has created more than 240 different maps for resorts on five continents including Aspen Highlands, Sun Valley, Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, and Big Sky.”
Movie/TV Show graphic designer
While working for Pixar is my ultimate dream, doing graphic design for any sort of movie would be so much fun, I think. It’s another position that many people don’t think about when they sit down in a theater, but anything created by a graphic designer in this world is created by a graphic designer for the movie world, whatever the time period or location.
“It’s a creative position that many of us haven’t thought about much, but just about every modern movie has at least one graphic designer working hard behind the scenes. Annie Atkins specializes in designing graphic props and set pieces for TV shows and feature films.”
Movie Title Designer
The title sequence before a movie must hook the audience into the story and introduce the themes and ideas that will be addressed. It is its own design problem that a title designer tries to tackle.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far far away film titles – the graphic image or sequence at the opening of a movie – were simply hand-illustrated cards photographed and inserted into a film. Today, they are much like a mini-movie showcases the art of graphic design with filmmaking.”
White House Creative Director
Even the President and the White House has a design team to help spread the administration's message in print and digitally, like social media.
“ODS is engaged on a range of key issues for the Obama Administration, from WhiteHouse.gov and the “We the People” petitions platform to all White House social media presences. Everyone on the team wears multiple hats, contributes big and small ideas to the digital strategy behind the Obama Administration, executes in hyper speed and has a lot of fun.”
Store Smell Designer
This may be one of the oddest of the bunch. But I love to read about design problems that if done right, you don’t even think about it as a problem in the first place.
“The chief problem of designing the smell of a place comes down the invasiveness of scent. Unlike something we may see that we don’t particularly like, smell enters your body on a physical level—and you can't turn away from it. You more or less taste it. ‘The bar is very high to putting scent in a public space. People coming into that space have not chosen to experience scent. It’s not like your house where you [might light a candle],’ says Weening. ‘You walk into a hotel lobby and you haven't chosen it. What it means is the scent has to be really good, subtle, the same all the time, very uniform. All of those are significant technical challenges.’”
Nike Creative Team
I didn’t realize that Nike had its own creative team to facilitate team rebrands and create custom typefaces for the NCAA.
“Shaner, a seven-year Nike vet, works with Nike’s Ryan Wilmot and Matt Smith to build NCAA program identities. Designing custom typefaces sits as a featured aspect.
“‘We see it as a system and the type is a huge part of that system, especially how it expresses itself on product, merchandise and uniforms,’ Shaner says. ‘Type, including the number sets, are a huge part.’”
Macy’s Studio - Parade Balloon designer
I would love to get a tour of this facility and see behind-the-scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I watch the parade every year to see the amazing balloons that they created for the event.
“Housed in a relatively understated, three-story brick building, Macy’s Studio is not filled with toys, but, instead, wondrous holiday creations that boggle the mind. Year-round, a team of designers, builders and artists craft the floats and giant balloons that populate the annual holiday season extravaganza known as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”
Which of these niche design jobs would you like to have?