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Furniture designers can be self-employed craftsmen making and selling their furniture by themselves or through retailers, or they can be designers working for small to large manufacturers. Some will design one-off and bespoke pieces for private clients, interior design companies or for concept design shows.
Self-employed designers generally have much more creative freedom than those working for manufacturers. In both cases, designers need to pay close attention to visual aspects, comfort and practicality of a piece and keep up-to-date with current design trends.
Some designers may hand sketch all their designs although, nowadays, most will use a mix of hand sketches and computer assisted design software to design and adapt a piece before it is produced. Some designers will make scale mock-ups or prototypes to show buyers for approval and to give to craftsmen as a sample.
Those designing and producing the furniture themselves source the best and most cost-effective materials to use, including wood, metals, plastics, glass and soft textiles. Supplier contact lists will be maintained and relationships fostered. Other designers will find and commission the most appropriate skilled craftsmen to bring their designs to life.