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Set and Exhibit Designer

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What Do Set and Exhibit Designer Do?

Career Description 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?

  • Coordinate the transportation of sets that are built off-site, and coordinate their setup at the site of use.
  • Design and build scale models of set designs, or miniature sets used in filming backgrounds or special effects.
  • 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.
  • Collaborate with those in charge of lighting and sound so that those production aspects can be coordinated with set designs or exhibit layouts.
  • Prepare rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans, scenery, and properties to be constructed.
  • Develop set designs based on evaluation of scripts, budgets, research information, and available locations.

Set & Exhibit Designer Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Set and Exhibit Designers say are important on the job.

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

  • Show Design Supervisor
  • Set Designer
  • Food Stylist
  • Exhibit Preparator
  • Miniature Set Designer

Set & Exhibit Designer Employment Estimates

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. The BLS estimates 1,600 yearly job openings in this field.


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.

Salary for a Set & Exhibit Designer

The salary for Set and Exhibit Designers ranges between about $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 different U.S. states?

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

Individuals working as a Set and Exhibit Designer have obtained the following education levels:


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


Set and Exhibit Designers Sector


Below are examples of industries where Set and Exhibit Designers work:


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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