What does a Set and Exhibit Designer do?
Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
- 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.