Sustainable Design: Potential Careers | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Sustainable Design: Potential Careers

MCAD Career Development can help you find work and help employers find you. In addition to job listings, the staff is available to meet one-on-one with students and alumni to assist with career development. Services include assistance writing and editing resumes, cover letters, and other professional correspondences; career exploration and industry research; interviewing practice; networking strategies; and industry-specific practices.

Product Design

As product manufacturers, retailers and society are addressing issues such as microplastics, the climate crisis, material health and social, economic and environmental concerns, a product designer addresses these vital problems throughout the entire life cycle of a product, considering impacts in the supply chain, material sourcing, design for behavior change and other design for sustainability strategies.

Fashion Designers and Specifiers

Similar to a product designer, fashion designers are addressing important systemic questions and impacts in their industry and supply chains, such as water usage, microplastics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs), social, economic and environmental concerns and end of life challenges.


Packaging Design

Packaging is a large source of end of life impacts, as well as material health concerns and resource use. Packaging designers innovate packaging forms, address material sourcing, optimize material and energy use, reduce impacts in the supply chain and apply other design for sustainability approaches to eliminate or reduce impacts.


Graphic Design

Graphic designers address the same material health, resource, manufacturing and supply chain issues and design for behavior change approaches as the other design disciplines, but also address issues of clear visual communication, accurate sustainability claims and verbal and visual branding. Graphic designers also can address envisioning better futures. They work in a wide variety of areas including design firms, ad agencies, signage firms, in-house agencies, etc.



Marketing professionals need to be able to help clients better understand their audiences, evaluate opportunities to incorporate sustainability in the marketing work, make sustainability part of the brief to creatives, guide clients toward potential sustainability solutions, communicate clearly and accurately to their client’s audiences about sustainability, help clients build more sustainable brands and products, and help motivate adoption of sustainability products, services and behaviors. 


Built-environment Professionals

Creative professionals in the building industry and urban planning, including architects, landscape designers, and interior designers, are developing spaces where people live, work and play that are addressing issues of health, safety and sustainability. Issues addressed include material health, greenhouse gas emissions, energy and efficiency, biophilia, material innovation, design for behavior change, etc.



Sustainability creates opportunities for new business models, market disruption, innovation, adaptation, new materials, new markets, reinvention and other entrepreneurial opportunities. Students from this program have gone on to start businesses such as app development, graphic design firms, and consulting.