What Do Set and Exhibit Designers Do?
Set and exhibit designers are needed in the art, sports, media, and design industries. They may design special exhibits and sets for movies, television, and theater. They work with directors and review scripts to determine appropriate settings and architectural styles for projects. They are charged with taking a vision from a script and breathing life into the setting.This position can expect a modest growth rate of 6% over the next few decades. That equates to roughly 370 new positions being created per year.
Set and Exhibit Designers Skills and Abilities
To have a career in set and exhibit design, you need to have a strong background in design methods and principles. Foundations in art theory and fine arts techniques are also helpful. You should have knowledge of building and construction materials and methods as well. A foundation in history and archeology will be useful as you use the combination of design, construction, and humanities to create sets and exhibits.Other skills include:
- Media production.
- Critical and creative thinking.
- Time management.
- Creativity and fluency of ideas.
- Problem solving and decision making.
- Oral and written communication.
Set and Exhibit Designers Duties
Set and exhibit design can provide an exciting career for people who do not see themselves in a typical office setting. You will work with drafts and scale drawing of sets and then develop designs based on budget, direction, and script notes. You may have to research styles and locations to capture the essence of creative vision. Attending rehearsals and production meetings will be required to contribute to the project. Expect to collaborate with light and sound specialists to achieve designs and layouts. As a set designer, you will have staff assist you in procuring objects to invoke mood or provide atmosphere. You will oversee the construction of your set design to ensure it meets requirements. Other tasks related to this career are:
- Inspection of exhibit installations.
- Purchase of building materials and hardware.
- Coordinate design team and construction contractors.
- Provide marketing materials, such as press kits, brochures, and posters, for exhibits and displays.
Set and Exhibit Designers Tools and Technology
Since you will be designing and constructing sets and exhibits, you should be comfortable using a variety of hardware and construction equipment as well as artist’s tools. Set designers use air compressors, welding equipment, art airbrushes, sound mixing boards, and claw hammers in order to create their work. Technical software for graphics and design are frequently needed as well. Proficiency in video creation and edition software is also necessary.
Education and Training for Set and Exhibit Designers
Set and exhibit designers need to have a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. Relevant instructional programs for set design include design and visual communications, illustration, theatre design and technology, and fine arts disciplines. These programs are available at schools across the country.
Set and Exhibit Designers Salary
Your salary as a set and exhibit designer will depend on your level of experience, education, geographic location, and even the industry in which you specialize. The median income for this career is almost $50,000 annually. The lowest 10% can make $23,600, while the top 10% earn almost $88,000.
Set and Exhibit Designers Jobs by Geography
As you might expect, the majority of positions for set and exhibit designers are found in areas with a strong entertainment industry, such as California and New York. A significant number of job openings are also available in Florida. Set designers have the highest median salary range in District of Columbia, Louisiana, and Maryland. The states with the most growth in new job creation are Utah, Kentucky, and Oregon.