Craft & Product Design

Industry overview

From fashion to film, hotels to heritage, manufacturing to mental health projects - contemporary craft makers and jewellers are applying their skills in multiple sectors.

The UK’s craft specialisms have a longstanding and world-renowned reputation, putting the country on the map for innovative, forward-thinking contemporary design. From iconic landmarks like The Shard to high-performance components in space travel, the UK’s professional crafts industry plays an integral part in architectural and manufacturing processes.

Craft makers contribute to economic growth in sectors such as manufacturing, retail and hospitality, driving innovation in products and processes through their materials knowledge. 

Technological progress is presenting UK craft makers with new and liberating opportunities. They are able to use digital software and fabrication tools to produce objects that move far beyond the limitations of manual craft.

There are an estimated 23,050 contemporary craft-making businesses in the UK, 88% of which are sole traders.

Over 60% of makers have a first or second degree in craft, art or design and 57% are using digital technology in some form in their practice or production.

(Source: Craft in an Age of Change, Crafts Council)


Career paths

The world of craft and 3D design offers you an abundance of employment possibilities and career choices, such as:

  • Jeweller
  • Goldsmith
  • Silversmith
  • Glassware maker
  • Ceramicist
  • Blacksmith
  • 3D product designer
  • Curator
  • Gallery manager


What you can earn

Earnings will vary greatly depending on work opportunities, reputation and the amount you agree with the client.


Graduate employment

Lots of our graduates become self-employed designers, makers or practitioners, setting up their own businesses and also taking freelance commissions - others pursue positions within galleries or enter teaching roles. Some of our recent graduates have gone on to work for:

  • GlassZoo
  • William & Son
  • Jax Jewellery Ltd
  • Cornerstone Arts
  • Ratti SpA
  • The Crafts Study Centre.


Skills and qualities

As a student on a practical design course, you'll develop as a highly-skilled practitioner in your chosen craft. You’ll also learn a wide range of transferrable skills and qualities that will impress potential employers and set you apart from other graduates, such as:

  • Independence
  • Creative thinking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Observation
  • Analysis
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Organisation
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaboration and team work
  • Open to new influences and concepts
  • Able to learn from criticism.


Industry connections

Our courses benefit from strong connections with leading design studios, manufacturing companies, trade associations and guilds, generating many opportunities for rewarding work placements and live project briefs.

  • Contemporary Glass Society
  • Farnham Maltings
  • Gaffer Glass
  • Glass Art Society
  • Grayshott Pottery
  • New Ashgate Gallery
  • Salviati Murano Glass
  • The Glass Engraving Trust
  • The Goldsmiths’ Company
  • Debenhams’ design department
  • Keeler Gordon design studio
  • LK Bennett design studio
  • Margo Selby
  • Paul Smith
  • Savoir Beds, Mayfair
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • British Art Medal Society
  • Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery
  • Solidscape
  • The Worshipful Company of Pewterers.


Subject area at UCA

  • Crafts & Product Design