Set and Exhibit Designers

Description

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

Tasks

  • Examine objects to be included in exhibits in order to plan where and how to display them.
  • Acquire, or arrange for acquisition of, specimens or graphics required to complete exhibits.
  • Prepare rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
  • Confer with clients and staff in order to gather information about exhibit space, proposed themes and content, timelines, budgets, materials, and/or promotion requirements.
  • Estimate set- or exhibit-related costs including materials, construction, and rental of props or locations.
  • Develop set designs based on evaluation of scripts, budgets, research information, and available locations.
  • Direct and coordinate construction, erection, or decoration activities in order to ensure that sets or exhibits meet design, budget, and schedule requirements.
  • Inspect installed exhibits for conformance to specifications, and satisfactory operation of special effects components.
  • Plan for location-specific issues such as space limitations, traffic flow patterns, and safety concerns.
  • 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.
  • Collaborate with those in charge of lighting and sound so that those production aspects can be coordinated with set designs or exhibit layouts.
  • Research architectural and stylistic elements appropriate to the time period to be depicted, consulting experts for information as necessary.
  • Design and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows, interior displays, or event locations such as streets and fairgrounds.
  • Coordinate the removal of sets, props, and exhibits after productions or events are complete.
  • Select set props such as furniture, pictures, lamps, and rugs.
  • 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.
  • Assign staff to complete design ideas and prepare sketches, illustrations, and detailed drawings of sets, or graphics and animation.
  • Observe sets during rehearsals in order to ensure that set elements do not interfere with performance aspects such as cast movement and camera angles.
  • Design and build scale models of set designs, or miniature sets used in filming backgrounds or special effects.
  • Read scripts in order to determine location, set, and design requirements.
  • Attend rehearsals and production meetings in order to obtain and share information related to sets.
  • Arrange for outside contractors to construct exhibit structures.
  • Provide supportive materials for exhibits and displays, such as press kits and advertising, posters, brochures, catalogues, and invitations and publicity notices.
  • Incorporate security systems into exhibit layouts.
  • Coordinate the transportation of sets that are built off-site, and coordinate their setup at the site of use.

Knowledge

Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
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.

Skills

Operations Analysis
Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
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.
Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities

Visualization
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
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).
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Work Activities

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Scheduling Work and Activities
Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Work Context

Indoors, Environmentally Controlled
How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Electronic Mail
How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Work With Work Group or Team
How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Telephone
How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Face-to-Face Discussions
How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Structured versus Unstructured Work
To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate
How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
Responsibility for Outcomes and Results
How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
Contact With Others
How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Freedom to Make Decisions
How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?

Interests

Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Style

Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.

Work Values

Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Lay Titles

Art and Exhibits Director
Art Coordinator
Art Director
Artist
Curator
Design Chief
Designer
Display Coordinator
Display Designer
Exhibit Designer
Exhibit Preparator
Exhibitions Curator
Exhibits Manager
Food Stylist
Historical Society Window Dresser
Installations Designer
Miniature Set Designer
Museum Curator
Presentation Specialist
Production Manager
Room Designer
Scenic Arts Supervisor
Scenic Designer
Set Decorator
Set Designer
Show Design Supervisor
Stage Scenery Designer
Stage Set Designer
Television Scenic Design Supervisor

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$24.18 hourly, $50,300 annual.
Employment (2008):
8,680 employees