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Set and Exhibit Designer

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All About Set and Exhibit Designers

Job Description & Duties Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

Life As a Set & Exhibit Designer: What Do They Do?

  • Provide supportive materials for exhibits and displays, such as press kits and advertising, posters, brochures, catalogues, and invitations and publicity notices.
  • Coordinate the removal of sets, props, and exhibits after productions or events are complete.
  • 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.
  • Design and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows, interior displays, or event locations such as streets and fairgrounds.
  • Submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions.
  • Arrange for outside contractors to construct exhibit structures.

What Every Set & Exhibit Designer Should Know

When polled, Set and Exhibit Designers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Operations Analysis: Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

  • Theater Set Production Designer
  • Designer
  • Art Director
  • Exhibit Specialist
  • Exhibit Preparator

Is There Going to be Demand for Set and Exhibit Designers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 14,600 jobs in the United States for Set and Exhibit Designer. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,500 new jobs for Set and Exhibit Designer by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,600 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Set and Exhibit Designers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Set & Exhibit Designer are Georgia, Utah, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Nebraska, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Set and Exhibit Designers Make A Lot Of Money?

Set and Exhibit Designers make between $29,810 and $103,480 a year.

Salary Ranges for Set and Exhibit Designers

Set and Exhibit Designers who work in District of Columbia, New York, or Oregon, make the highest salaries.

How much do Set and Exhibit Designers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $50,260
Arizona $39,800
California $67,520
Colorado $46,540
Connecticut $55,290
District of Columbia $73,600
Florida $55,890
Georgia $56,040
Hawaii $69,860
Illinois $51,370
Indiana $45,550
Iowa $47,490
Kansas $41,110
Kentucky $52,150
Louisiana $40,990
Maryland $55,330
Massachusetts $58,870
Michigan $50,480
Minnesota $52,880
Missouri $44,760
Nebraska $60,430
Nevada $38,050
New Jersey $57,370
New Mexico $50,960
New York $76,650
North Carolina $55,970
Ohio $52,830
Oklahoma $45,470
Oregon $64,140
Pennsylvania $47,050
Texas $51,150
Utah $55,500
Virginia $47,720
Washington $47,460
West Virginia $44,140
Wisconsin $53,400

Tools & Technologies Used by Set and Exhibit Designers

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Set and Exhibit Designers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Git
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • UNIX
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • Oracle software
  • Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS
  • Graphics software

Becoming a Set & Exhibit Designer

What education is needed to be a Set and Exhibit Designer?

Set & Exhibit Designer Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Set & Exhibit Designer?

Set & Exhibit Designer Work Experience

Set and Exhibit Designers Sector

Set & Exhibit Designer Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Set & Exhibit Designer Industries

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Set and Exhibit Designer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Szilas in the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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