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Production designers are in charge of monitoring all of the visual components of a media or theatre production. That said, they are usually individuals who have great eyes for detail and extensive amounts of creativity, as well as years-if not decades-of experience in the industry.

The duties of a production designer vary depending on the type of media that they produce. But in general, they create product designs that resonate with the audience and accomplish whatever goal that the event or show has in mind. A production designer is also responsible for coordinating with other production members, such as set designers, equipment operators, and, of course, the show producers.

The typical requirement for this role is a degree in a media-related field, such as graphic design, fine arts, and photography. Moreover, employers also prefer candidates with extensive experience in the industry, as well as an impressive portfolio of events or shows that they have worked on.

When it comes to salary, a production designer can earn anywhere from $41,000 to $81,000 a year, but the average pay is roughly $58,000 annually.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a production designer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $27.4 an hour? That's $56,982 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 3% and produce 8,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Production Designer Do

There are certain skills that many production designers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, artistic ability and communication skills.

Learn more about what a Production Designer does

How To Become a Production Designer

If you're interested in becoming a production designer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 72.4% of production designers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.3% of production designers have master's degrees. Even though most production designers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a production designer. When we researched the most common majors for a production designer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on production designer resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a production designer. In fact, many production designer jobs require experience in a role such as graphic designer. Meanwhile, many production designers also have previous career experience in roles such as art director or graphic designer internship.

Production Designer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Production Designer

Production Designers in America make an average salary of $56,982 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $84,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $38,000 per year.
Average Production Designer Salary
$56,982 Yearly
$27.40 hourly
$38,000
10 %
$56,000
Median
$84,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Production Designer Education

Production Designer Majors

10.8 %

Production Designer Degrees

Bachelors

72.4 %

Associate

17.6 %

Masters

5.3 %

Top Colleges for Production Designers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

6. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

Top Skills For a Production Designer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.3% of production designers listed adobe creative suite on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and artistic ability are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Production Designer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Production Designer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Production Designer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Production Designer Demographics

Production Designer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
55%
Female
Female
45%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among production designers, 44.6% of them are women, while 55.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among production designers is White, which makes up 76.1% of all production designers.

  • The most common foreign language among production designers is Spanish at 48.4%.

Online Courses For Production Designer That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Graphic Design Mastery: The FULL Branding & Design Process
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4.6
(737)

Follows the FULL Graphic Design Process for A Company: Logo, Ad, Social Media, T-Shirt, Package, Website Design & More!...

Graphic Design Masterclass - Learn GREAT Design
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4.7
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The Ultimate Graphic Design Course Which Covers Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Design Theory, Branding and Logo Design...

Graphic Design MasterClass- Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign
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4.5
(3,341)

Graphic design for beginners including Graphic Design Theories, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, CC & Creative Thinking...

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Best States For a Production Designer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a production designer. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Alaska, and Maryland. Production designers make the most in California with an average salary of $83,304. Whereas in Washington and Alaska, they would average $74,556 and $72,317, respectively. While production designers would only make an average of $70,534 in Maryland, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Production Designer Jobs:
4,558
Highest 10% Earn:
$127,000
Location Quotient:
1.22 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Washington

Total Production Designer Jobs:
1,133
Highest 10% Earn:
$112,000
Location Quotient:
1.21 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Production Designer Jobs:
734
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
1.39 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Production Designers

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Top Production Designer Employers

Most Common Employers For Production Designer

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Starbucks$137,419$66.0722
2Kohl's$108,106$51.977
3Apple$102,390$49.2314
4Shutterfly$99,581$47.8888
5Nike$97,810$47.029
6Minted$93,718$45.067
7Target$92,683$44.567
8Staples$79,546$38.2415
9Aquent$77,030$37.039
10Scholastic$69,438$33.386

Production Designer Videos

Becoming a Production Designer FAQs

Production Designer vs. Art Director

A production designer is a person who focuses on the overall visual representation of the story and works closely with the director, while an art director works more closely with the crew and support staff to ensure that tasks are carried out to turn the production designer's vision into reality.

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