Austin, TX

I’ve been very interested in exploring opportunities down in Austin. What can you tell me about the design scene/employment opportunities in Austin, TX.


I hear it is a great place, and as soon as you go outside of town it gets way more “down home”. I think Frog has an office there. I know a girl who just moved from there and she loved it and would move back in a second, she had moved for personal reasons.

I’ve heard great things as well. However, I got my career started by packing up and moving to a big city without anything lined up. It worked out luckily, however I wonder if Austin has enough design to do the same. Thoughts?

Great little city, lots to do… not a ton of ID work though. You have Dell, a few firms. There are a few Austin people on here who have better insight than I, but the smaller cities can be tough. You need to break into the smaller design scene. Once in, it can be great. Portland is a bit like that.

I may just fly down there and check it out sometime. See if I can get an “in” anywhere. I’m hesitant to just up and move down there for a year because of its smaller design scene. It also seems like a very techy design industry down there with Dell, IBM, HP, etc…My experience is mainly in the housewares industry.

I know and are two of the big consultancy’s down in Austin. Design Edge might be more Housewares based than M3. Unfortunately the people I knew at both have since moved on.

However they are both mainly Tech Based, I think it has a lot to do with Dell’s headquarters being so close; so most of their works comes from them.

You can’t be a movie star unless you’re in Hollywood. Also do what will make you happy. If you’re up for an adventure and you have the capability of at least going home if it goes pear shaped, then do it.

Thanks for all the info. This seems to be a very risky move for me…I’d love to move down there, but junior-level jobs are already hard to come by. Thoughts?

I have a friend who interned at Axis Design ( there and had nothing but good things to say about them. Awesome work environment, team, and projects. Just no-nonsense, awesome work. I would say Axis is top for the CE/Dell studios down there and Design Edge is my fav for a general/housewares design firm. There is also Mixer (small engineering/design firm), Frog (but that location is IxD, not ID), and Fahrenheit (small consultancy in Round Rock). M3 has lots of ME/EE people but seems like a great place to work and the principal is a really nice old fashioned Texas dude. There is also RPM which is a premier model shop.

I don’t really know that much about the area, but did get a good feel for it when my ID class visited the area 2 years ago.

BTW, there’s a junior opening at Fahrenheit they just posted a little while ago.

I live in downtown Austin, TX and I love it. I can wholeheartedly say that Austin is the best city in the USA… in my opinion, for me, for right now. Its 78 degrees, sunny, and its Dec 15th. Anyway, I could go on and on about the “pros” of the city, aside from the weather, but I won’t.

I’m a full-time freelance Industrial Designer here in Austin. I moved here for a full-time ID in-house job with a company who quickly went bankrupt after I arrived and had my own place/lease, etc. I chose to stay because I was really getting into the city, not because of the vibrant ID employment scene. I have had job offers outside this city (CA, NY, FL, OR, KS, etc) for well over 2X what I make freelancing, but I stay here for the city and the lifestyle.

So what everyone else said is pretty much true… DE (formerly Design Edge), M3, Mixer, Axis, etc are some great ID firms… but logistically they’re small, and your chances on landing a full-time job there is very low. They’re just not high turnover companies who always are in need of more designers. As mentioned, Frog, just a few blocks down the road from my desk, is only IxD, not ID… (I often wish they were ID for the luxuries of a full-time job). Dell has some ID positions open up here and there, but the former design firms listed do much of Dell’s work.

So you have a few options if you want to live here…

  • Become a freelancer (I don’t recommend this option unless you’re already doing it, and know a lot about it)
  • Get a job at one of the local ID firms (high difficulty)
  • Get a job with Dell (moderate difficultly)
  • Get a job at another company here who has an in-house ID department, or who doesn’t have one yet (and you need to convince them why they need one)

Best of luck with your search