Set and Exhibit Designers

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Also known as:  Scenic Designer, Set Decorator, Set Designer, Stage Scenery Designer, Theater Set Production Designer

ABOUT SET OR EXHIBIT DESIGNER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
On stage or on screen, at a local fair or a famous 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. So ...
me 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 setting up. Set and exhibit designs 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.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Confer with conservators in order to determine how to handle an exhibit's environmental aspects, such as lighting, temperature, and humidity, so that objects will be protected and exhibits will be enhanced.
Prepare rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
Inspect installed exhibits for conformance to specifications, and satisfactory operation of special effects components.
Collaborate with those in charge of lighting and sound so that those production aspects can be coordinated with set designs or exhibit layouts.
Coordinate the removal of sets, props, and exhibits after productions or events are complete.
Plan for location-specific issues such as space limitations, traffic flow patterns, and safety concerns.
Design and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows, interior displays, or event locations such as streets and fairgrounds.
Direct and coordinate construction, erection, or decoration activities in order to ensure that sets or exhibits meet design, budget, and schedule requirements.
Submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions.
Prepare preliminary renderings of proposed exhibits, including detailed construction, layout, and material specifications, and diagrams relating to aspects such as special effects and/or lighting.
Select and purchase lumber and hardware necessary for set construction.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Fine Arts Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
History and Archeology Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Originality The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Fluency of Ideas The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Visualization The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Operations Analysis Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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