Summary Report for:
27-1027.00 - Set and Exhibit Designers
Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
Sample of reported job titles: Design Chief, Designer, Display Coordinator, Exhibit Designer, Exhibit Preparator, Production Designer, Scenic Designer, Set Decorator, Set Designer, Show Design Supervisor
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Prepare rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
- Read scripts to determine location, set, and design requirements.
- Develop set designs, based on evaluation of scripts, budgets, research information, and available locations.
- Attend rehearsals and production meetings to obtain and share information related to sets.
- Confer with clients and staff to gather information about exhibit space, proposed themes and content, timelines, budgets, materials, or promotion requirements.
- Collaborate with those in charge of lighting and sound so that those production aspects can be coordinated with set designs or exhibit layouts.
- Prepare preliminary renderings of proposed exhibits, including detailed construction, layout, and material specifications, and diagrams relating to aspects such as special effects or lighting.
- Research architectural and stylistic elements appropriate to the time period to be depicted, consulting experts for information, as necessary.
- Select set props, such as furniture, pictures, lamps, and rugs.
- Inspect installed exhibits for conformance to specifications and satisfactory operation of special-effects components.
- Assign staff to complete design ideas and prepare sketches, illustrations, and detailed drawings of sets, or graphics and animation.
- Examine objects to be included in exhibits to plan where and how to display them.
- Observe sets during rehearsals in order to ensure that set elements do not interfere with performance aspects such as cast movement and camera angles.
- Submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions.
- Direct and coordinate construction, erection, or decoration activities to ensure that sets or exhibits meet design, budget, and schedule requirements.
- Design and build scale models of set designs, or miniature sets used in filming backgrounds or special effects.
- Plan for location-specific issues, such as space limitations, traffic flow patterns, and safety concerns.
- Estimate set- or exhibit-related costs, including materials, construction, and rental of props or locations.
- Select and purchase lumber and hardware necessary for set construction.
- Coordinate the removal of sets, props, and exhibits after productions or events are complete.
- Coordinate the transportation of sets that are built off-site, and coordinate their setup at the site of use.
- Acquire, or arrange for acquisition of, specimens or graphics required to complete exhibits.
- Design and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows, interior displays, or event locations, such as streets and fairgrounds.
- Confer with conservators 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.
- Arrange for outside contractors to construct exhibit structures.
- Incorporate security systems into exhibit layouts.
- Provide supportive materials for exhibits and displays, such as press kits, advertising, publicity notices, posters, brochures, catalogues, and invitations.
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD ; Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS ; McNeel Rhino software; Nemetschek Vectorworks Spotlight (see all 8 examples)
- Data base management system software — Microsoft SQL Server ; Oracle PL/SQL ; Relational database management system software
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access ; Oracle software ; Structured query language SQL
- Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
- Development environment software — Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite; Eclipse IDE
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- File versioning software — Apache Subversion SVN ; Git
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator ; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Autodesk Maya; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite (see all 5 examples)
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Microsoft Visual C#; Oracle Java ; Python
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — UNIX
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Program testing software — JUnit ; TestNG
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Video creation and editing software — Act-3D Quest3D; Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects; Autodesk 3ds Max; Figure 53 QLab (see all 6 examples)
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Air compressors — Portable air compressors
- Alternating current AC arc welder — Electric arc welding equipment
- Art airbrushes — Airbrush paint applicators
- Audio mixing consoles — Sound mixing boards
- Claw hammer — Claw hammers
- Digital cameras — Digital still cameras
- Liquid crystal display projector — Liquid crystal display LCD projectors
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Nylon fabric sling — Synthetic web slings
- Paint brushes — General purpose paintbrushes
- Paint rollers — Paint application rollers
- Personal computers
- Platform step ladder — Portable stepladders
- Pneumatic nail drivers — Pneumatic nail guns
- Power saws — Rotary saws
- Power staple guns — Furniture staplers
- Saws — Handsaws
- Scissors — All-purpose scissors
- Sewing machines
- Tablet computers
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- 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.
- History and Archeology — Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
- 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.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- 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.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Management of Financial Resources — Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
- Management of Material Resources — Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- 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).
- 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.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Detailed Work Activities
- Draw detailed or technical illustrations.
- Develop artistic or design concepts for decoration, exhibition, or commercial purposes.
- Study scripts to determine project requirements.
- Collaborate with others to determine technical details of productions.
- Confer with clients to determine needs.
- Discuss production content and progress with others.
- Determine technical requirements of productions or projects.
- Conduct research to inform art, designs, or other work.
- Select materials or props.
- Inspect sets or exhibits.
- Coordinate design activities.
- Coordinate construction or installation activities.
- Present work to clients for approval.
- Build models, patterns, or templates.
- Design layout of art or product exhibits, displays, or promotional materials.
- Coordinate logistics for productions or events.
- Estimate costs for projects or productions.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Construct distinctive physical objects for artistic, functional, or commercial purposes.
- Promote products, activities, or organizations.
- Electronic Mail — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 70% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 48% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Time Pressure — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “Some freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Level of Competition — 43% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 48% responded “High responsibility.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Important results.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 30% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 26% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 39% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Physical Proximity — 39% responded “I work with others but not closely (e.g., private office).”
- Spend Time Standing — 48% responded “About half the time.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 39% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Interest code: AR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- 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.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2019)||$26.25 hourly, $54,600 annual|
|Employment (2018)||13,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)||Average (4% to 6%)|
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||1,500|
|Top industries (2018)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Alliance of Museums
- Experiential Designers and Producers Association
- Meeting Professionals International
- National Association for Museum Exhibition
- National Association of Schools of Art and Design
- National Association of Schools of Theatre
- United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829
- United States Institute for Theatre Technology