overlooked design jobs

I’m curious what non-ID-specific companies are out there but is very design. Since pretty much every new and old graduates are applying towards ID companies, what fields are “hidden gems” that most people have overlooked?

One I can think of are 3d sign companies. Though not all but some do more than just storefront signs; may even consider them as “exhibition fixture design” doing one-off custom furnishings and fixtures.

I’m currently doing some work experience at a 3D Design firm which deal with product and interior. The current project I’m working on is designing a workshop for kids to get into design so it isn’t at all ID but its design experience… I’d say look for anything design related, that’s what all the guys on these forums have told me before.

Maybe look at a list of companies in in the city you’re looking (better yet head quarters) and go onto each of their websites and look at their job postings. Obviously you want to choose companies that make things, because a bank for instance probably is not hiring product designers. A lot of companies post their jobs on their website first before posting on job sites, so you might get lucky.

packaging and point of sale?

You cannot get more non-ID company than an engineering company, whether smaller product based or larger industrial equipment focused. Any firm that has manufacturing attached locally would be a good starting point.
Don’t discount larger exhibit design/service companies. They have been hard hit by recession, but should be coming around as events/shows are slowly starting to pick up.
Also consider moving from outside storefront to inside the store. Many retailers have private label programs to support with in-house design and product development staff (Best Buy, Target, WalMart, KMart, Kohls, JCPenny…)

Yep. It’s a niche alright. But you’d better be well rounded in terms of processes, materials, etc. And prepare to be frustrated, too. 1.) There’s NEVER enough time, and 2.) there’s NEVER enough money to do what you really want (or what your client has had designed)

Most sign companies don’t do the heavy design work in house (example: Museums, Hospitals, Hotels, etc.), they are contracted by Environmental Graphic Design firms, Architects, and General Contractors to build the specified project. There’s a bit of flexibility in there, and it certainly helps to have an eye for aesthetics because that keeps your client coming back, but usually means you’re making things harder for production (read: more expensive).

I could go on for days…

This seems to be the case, we’re busy. I think trade marketing exhibit design is very overlooked by ID, but it turns out that some of the better exhibit designers come from an ID background. Since the whole industry is spec design a lot of exhibit houses will grab the cheapest designers they can…big mistake.