On stage or on screen, at a tradeshow or a museum – a show wouldn’t be complete without the right setting. The creative contributors in the background of our favorite events are Set and Exhibit Designers. It’s a job that mixes imagination with knowledge, artistry with actualization. Some are elaborate, others are simple - but all set and exhibit designs add to a production. Designers start with an idea. They meet with directors to understand their vision. Set designers may also do research to make their creation as realistic as possible. They prepare drawings outlining their goals, and may make many changes before a final plan is on paper. Designs often have to be done to scale, so careful measuring is involved. Production heads are consulted on a budget and construction begins. Designers coordinate what props have to be bought or created from scratch. Usually a team of workers assists in the setting up. Set and Exhibit designers coordinate and supervise those workers. Most designers have a bachelor’s degree from a four year college or university. They’re trained in design and have knowledge of fine arts, architecture and construction. A creative mind and ability to work with others is important. Hours are usually regular but designers may need to be flexible if working around other exhibits already on display. If you want to help set the stage for creative productions, consider a career as a Set and Exhibit Designer.
What they do:
Design special exhibits and sets for film, video, television, and theater productions. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
On the job, you would:
Develop set designs, based on evaluation of scripts, budgets, research information, and available locations.
Prepare rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
Prepare preliminary renderings of proposed exhibits, including detailed construction, layout, and material specifications, and diagrams relating to aspects such as special effects or lighting.
Arts and Humanities
music, dance, visual arts, drama, or sculpture
history and archeology
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
come up with lots of ideas
create new and original ideas
People interested in this work like activities that include creating, designing, and making your own rules.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Trimble SketchUp Pro
Video creation and editing software
Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects
Figure 53 QLab
bachelor's degree or master's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.