The craft and design sector in Ireland employs just under 50,000 people across the country and contributes over €37 billion to the economy annually*. Design and craft careers are diverse and wide reaching. Craftspeople create expertly crafted products and artworks in disciplines such as ceramics, glass, textiles, metalwork, basketmaking, woodworking and mixed media. The crafts sector has evolved dramatically over the past half a century, growing from a loose collection of cottage industries to become a major presence on the global design stage, enhancing Ireland’s reputation as a creative society and economy.
Design is all around us and embraces a broad spectrum of disciplines. The chair you sit on, the laptop, computer or phone you use, the operating system on your devices, your internet browser and this website have all been designed. In digital design, UX Designers focus on providing meaningful and relevant experiences for users, spanning from branding, design, usability and function. UI designers focus on the look, style and how users access and interact with digital products, for example Siri on the iPhone or Alexa on amazon devices. Industrial designers make electronics and medical equipment. Product designers focus on users, their needs and desires and create products to meet these needs across a range of mediums. Medical device designers focus on medical needs and functionality, creating new devices, adaptions and updates to help users.
The role of designers is constantly evolving and diversifying, but the commonality between the design roles are that they are all human centered. They all start by investigating or understanding human needs and behaviours.
Despite the current challenges this year has brought, the design and craft industries have shown their resilience, adapting their products and services to continue growing. Research undertaken by DCCI in June 2020 showed 7 in 10 Irish adults (70%) are interested in Irish-made and designed crafts, demonstrating the strong demand for Irish craft.
The Together for Design report was published in 2020 by the Expert Group for Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). The EGFSN reports to the Minister of Enterprise Trade & Employment and advises the Irish Government on current and future skills needs of the economy. The report finds that by 2025 occupations in digital, product and strategic design could see a growth between 21,000 to 33,000 -meaning that design jobs would account for 2.8% of all jobs in Ireland.
*figures from Policy Framework for Design in Enterprise In Ireland at Showcase 2016