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Working as a Production Designer

Production designers are responsible for creating and managing the visual aspects of a film, television, or theater production. They work closely with the director and producer to create the design style for aspects such as sets, graphics, props, lighting, and costumes. They then direct and manage the team responsible for producing these visual elements, such as set and costume designers. This is a senior position and thus requires extensive previous experience in the industry.

Their key responsibilities include reading scripts to identify a particular visual style, considering the production brief, meeting the producer and director to discuss concepts and requirements, and researching, planning, and monitoring design budgets. Essential skills include creativity, communication, multitasking, problem-solving, spontaneity, etc. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as graphic design, art, or others will prepare you for the career and extensive proven work experience.

This senior position comes with a mountain of responsibilities but compensates handsomely. The average salary for the position is $26.49 an hour, which amounts to over $55,000 annually. Moreover, the career is expected to grow further and create more job opportunities across the United States.

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 $26.49 an hour? That's $55,090 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a production designer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.3% of production designers included adobe creative suite, while 11.1% of resumes included graphic design, and 7.7% of resumes included online. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the production designer job title. But what industry to start with? Most production designers actually find jobs in the retail and media industries.

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 67.1% of production designers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 10.3% 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 production artist.

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Average Salary$55,090
Job Growth Rate3%

Production Designer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Production Designer

Top Careers After Production Designer

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Average Salary for a Production Designer

Production Designers in America make an average salary of $55,090 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $79,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $38,000 per year.
Average Salary
$55,090

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range58k - 110k$80k$80,420
Portland, OR
Salary Range45k - 85k$63k$62,682
New York, NY
Salary Range43k - 73k$56k$56,204
Edison, NJ
Salary Range40k - 68k$52k$52,343
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range37k - 63k$49k$49,181
Westlake, OH
Salary Range37k - 63k$49k$49,100
$31k
$110k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Production Designer
Production Designer
Kelly Services
Kelly Services
12/15/2020
12/15/2020
$41,74012/15/2020
$41,740
Production Designer
Production Designer
Robert Half
Robert Half
11/19/2020
11/19/2020
$48,00111/19/2020
$48,001
JR. Production Designer
JR. Production Designer
Adecco Staffing
Adecco Staffing
11/15/2020
11/15/2020
$41,74011/15/2020
$41,740
Production Designer
Production Designer
Robert Half
Robert Half
11/12/2020
11/12/2020
$52,17511/12/2020
$52,175
Production Designer
Production Designer
Adecco Staffing
Adecco Staffing
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$41,74010/23/2020
$41,740
See More Recent Salaries

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Production Designer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Production Designer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Production Designer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Production Designer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Production Designer Demographics

Gender

male

52.7 %

female

42.7 %

unknown

4.6 %

Ethnicity

White

75.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

10.3 %

Asian

8.3 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.4 %

French

10.2 %

Italian

7.6 %
See More Demographics

Production Designer Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

67.1 %

Associate

13.1 %

Masters

10.3 %

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 • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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.

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, Oregon, Virginia, and Nevada. Production designers make the most in California with an average salary of $68,414. Whereas in Oregon and Virginia, they would average $63,142 and $63,121, respectively. While production designers would only make an average of $58,479 in Nevada, 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:
1,513
Highest 10% Earn:
$123,000
Location Quotient:
1.48
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. Oregon

Total Production Designer Jobs:
128
Highest 10% Earn:
$113,000
Location Quotient:
1.26
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. Virginia

Total Production Designer Jobs:
347
Highest 10% Earn:
$100,000
Location Quotient:
1.1
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
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Top Production Designer Employers

1. Shutterfly
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$78,016
Production Designers Hired: 
88+
2. Starbucks
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$58,020
Production Designers Hired: 
22+
3. Hallmark
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$50,900
Production Designers Hired: 
15+
4. Staples
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$79,950
Production Designers Hired: 
15+
5. Apple
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$62,848
Production Designers Hired: 
14+
6. Signarama
3.5
Avg. Salary: 
$51,108
Production Designers Hired: 
12+

Production Designer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020