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Set and Exhibit Designer

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What You Need to Know About Set and Exhibit Designer

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

What Do Set and Exhibit Designers Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Direct and coordinate construction, erection, or decoration activities in order to ensure that sets or exhibits meet design, budget, and schedule requirements.
  • Submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions.
  • Confer with clients and staff in order to gather information about exhibit space, proposed themes and content, timelines, budgets, materials, and/or promotion requirements.
  • 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.
  • Estimate set- or exhibit-related costs including materials, construction, and rental of props or locations.
  • Design and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows, interior displays, or event locations such as streets and fairgrounds.

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.

Types of Set & Exhibit Designer Jobs

  • Art Coordinator
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Set Designer
  • Presentation Specialist
  • Theater Set Production Designer

Set & Exhibit Designer Job Outlook

There were about 14,600 jobs for Set and Exhibit Designer in 2016 (in the United States). 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. There will be an estimated 1,600 positions for Set & Exhibit Designer per year.


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.

Set & Exhibit Designer Salary

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


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

What Tools do Set and Exhibit Designers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Set and Exhibit Designers:

  • 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

Are there Set and Exhibit Designers education requirements?


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


Where Set and Exhibit Designers Work


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


You May Also Be Interested In…

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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