SET DESIGNERS design and create sets for movie, television, and theater productions. They study scripts, meet with directors and other designers to establish a budget and schedule, determine set requirements, and discuss design ideas. Set designers also meet with the art director to review illustrations. Set designers prepare scale drawings to use in the construction, modification, and alteration of sets. They integrate requirements including script, research, budget, and available locations to develop the design. Set designers produce sketches or scale models to guide in the construction of the actual sets. They examine the dressed set to ensure props and scenery does not interfere with the movements of the cast or view of the camera.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $50,000 average per year ($24.00 per hour)
- A small occupation (8,100 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.7% per year)
SET DESIGNERS typically have college degrees in their particular area of design, such as a bachelor's degree in theatrical design. A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from an accredited university program further establishes their credentials. A good portfolio (a collection of examples of a person's best work) is often the deciding factor in getting a job. Membership in and completing an apprenticeship from the United Scenic Artists, Local 829, is a nationally recognized standard of achievement for scenic designers. Computer-aided design (CAD) is used in all areas of design, so many employers expect new designers to be familiar with the use of the computer as a design tool. Set designers need no special licensing or certification.