Furniture designers produce designs for items of furniture and other related products. Designs may be for mass production, in small batches, or as one-offs, and designers may just be involved in this aspect of the work, or may be designer/makers, producing items from their own designs.
Designers may first carry out research and look at other products to help them develop their own ideas. They will need to consider how the item will look and how practical or functional it will be, taking into consideration areas such as the cost and availability of materials, the manufacturing process, the needs of the client or intended end-user, and safety implications. They may work to a brief agreed with a client or, in the case of manufacturing companies, may originate new designs or improve existing ones.
Designers prepare sketches and models of their initial ideas, by hand or with the aid of computer software, often in liaison with other professionals such as production managers, marketing staff and engineers.
The program aims to provide students with the intellectual and practical skills necessary for the design and making of items of furniture using a range of materials. It acknowledges both contemporary manufacturing methods and those of the designer-maker. The program provides equally for the student who wishes to start up his/her own company or wishes to seek employment within the furniture industry. Construction and the materials used in furniture are given equal emphasis along with the more obvious skills of the designer. The program is an intense practical experience and, at its conclusion, each student should have a number of items of furniture that they have designed and made themselves.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design degree requires full time attendance for three years including a two months practical experience. A total of 105 credits is required. Computer Aided Design, Islamic Design, Studio Arts, and Photography are specialty options that can be undertaken as minors within the program (Refer to section 9 on Minors).