Set and Exhibit Designer

A set designer designs special exhibits, sets for movies, theater and televisions etc. A set designer reads scripts to determine the type of sets needed for each set.  An exhibit designer creates spaces to display artifacts, arts and products. Set designers also conduct research to decide on the right architectural styles.

A set designer should consider the historical period, time of day, location, season, and other aspects of the story while designing the set. Set designers give the audience a better sense of the physical space in which the action takes place.

Exhibit designers take into consideration light, space, and target audience while designing exhibits. They are responsible for developing a concept and managing the design project till the opening of the exhibit.

Types of Set and Exhibit Designers

  • Live theatrical performance set designers
  • Television or movie set designers
  • Television studio set designers
  • Trade show or convention exhibit designers
  • Exhibit designers

Role of a Set Designer

  • Evaluates scripts to determine the Set Designs.
  • Decide and submit plans for Set Designing for approval from directors.
  • Decides on location and budgets.
  • Collaborate with directors, curators, clients, and other designers on specific designing materials.
  • Interact with curators, producers and clients to identify the target audience and design sets accordingly.
  • Use Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs or hand-drawn sketches to create electronic designs, drawings and diagrams to give an idea to the clients on the finished sets.
  • Manage and coordinate construction, erection, or decoration activities in order to ensure that sets or exhibits meet design, budget, and schedule requirements.
  • Use imagination to create sets that help to narrate a story.

Skills Required of a Set Designer

Design Knowledge: Knowledge of design tools, techniques and principles are essential for a set designer

Fine Arts: A designer should have good knowledge of other arts like music, visual arts, dance, drama and sculpting.

Computer Skills: Set designers should have adequate knowledge of computer programs including software programs like Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Creativity: Set designers should be able to use their imagination and design sets that will narrate a well-defined story.

Problem-solving skills: A set designer is not only required to design and create the set but also come up with quick-time solutions, if the project receives a road block.

Comprehension: A set designer should be able to comprehend scripts, understand the client needs and determine the target audience after consultation with directors and producers.

Pros and Cons of a Set Designer

  • Handsome salary especially when working for private museums and special exhibits.
  • Opportunities to contribute to the arts in theater, television or motion pictures etc.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • Opportunity to work in a number of industries.
  • Specialized education in set designing is required.
  • No guarantee of stead work flow.
  • Long and hectic work schedule especially before the launch of a production.
  • May need to work under time and budget constraints.

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