Find The Best Set Designer Jobs For You

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What Does A Set Designer Do?

Here are examples of responsibilities from real set designer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Develop UNIX shell scripts to automate file manipulation and data loading process.
  • Develop marketing and brand awareness initiatives through social media outlets; create and manage company Facebook and Houzz profiles.
  • Trouble-Shout, reload and reject records using DTS, SQL scripts.
  • Create stored procedures, functions, packages, views and triggers using PL/SQL.
  • Perform relate engineering support tasks and making basic calculations to determine layout requirements and requirements for design of electric transmission lines.
  • Develop marketing and brand awareness initiatives through social media outlets; create and manage company Facebook and Houzz profiles.
Set Designer Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Artistic ability involves being able to design ideas in a way that makes them come to life.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.

Set Designer Overview

When it comes to understanding what a set designer does, you may be wondering, "should I become a set designer?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, set designers have a growth rate described as "slower than average" at 3% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of set designer opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 8,800.

On average, the set designer annual salary is $49,832 per year, which translates to $23.96 an hour. Generally speaking, set designers earn anywhere from $33,000 to $74,000 a year, which means that the top-earning set designers make $41,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a set designer, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include an exhibit builder, set decorator, show design supervisor, and graphic designer.

Set Designer Jobs You Might Like

Set Designer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 28% of Set Designers are proficient in Set Design, Art Direction, and Production Meetings. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Artistic ability, and Communication skills.

We break down the percentage of Set Designers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Set Design, 28%

    Set Designer/ Photography Assistant- New York CityFinish Carpentry.

  • Art Direction, 15%

    Provided scenic design consultation, color scheme development and art direction for 4 play productions throughout the year with director.

  • Production Meetings, 12%

    Attend all production meetings and develop a cohesive concept with the design team.

  • Photography, 7%

    Coordinated Product Photography, scheduled, purchased and assembled products Supervised temp labor.

  • Special Effects, 5%

    Created concept sketches and inspiration boards for brainstorming session with Director, Costume, Makeup and Special Effects teams 3.

  • CAD, 5%

    Devised and implemented CAD standards for use in set construction documents.

Some of the skills we found on set designer resumes included "set design," "art direction," and "production meetings." We have detailed the most important set designer responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a set designer to have in this position are analytical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a set designer resume, you'll understand why: "graphic designers must be able to perceive their work from their consumers’ point of view to ensure that the designs convey the client’s message." According to resumes we found, analytical skills can be used by a set designer in order to "conduct risk analysis of costume and scenery ensuring the safety of theatre crew members and actors/actresses during theatrical productions. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform set designer duties is the following: artistic ability. According to a set designer resume, "graphic designers must be able to create designs that are artistically interesting and appealing to clients and consumers." Check out this example of how set designers use artistic ability: "directed graphic designers in the development of a wide range of commercial, functional, and artistic graphics. "
  • Communication skills is also an important skill for set designers to have. This example of how set designers use this skill comes from a set designer resume, "graphic designers must communicate with clients, customers, and other designers to ensure that their designs accurately and effectively convey information." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "coordinated design process between design development and contractor utilizing excellent communication skills. "
  • A set designer responsibilities sometimes require "computer skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "most graphic designers use specialized graphic design software to prepare their designs." This resume example shows how this skill is used by set designers: "supervised and delegated freelance artist to achieve timely deadlines chief computer artist and trained staff in cad systems. "
  • Another common skill for a set designer to be able to utilize is "creativity." Graphic designers must be able to think of new approaches to communicating ideas to consumers a set designer demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "assisted designing creative and appropriate sets for bugsy malone, jr. Production. "
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in "time-management skills." According to set designer resumes, "graphic designers often work simultaneously on multiple projects, each with a different deadline." This resume example highlights how set designer responsibilities rely on this skill: "developed innovative set designs within budget and deadlines. "
  • See the full list of set designer skills.

    Before becoming a set designer, 61.8% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 8.5% set designers went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most set designers have a college degree. But about one out of every seven set designers didn't attend college at all.

    Those set designers who do attend college, typically earn either a fine arts degree or a graphic design degree. Less commonly earned degrees for set designers include a theatre degree or a photography degree.

    View more details on set designer salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire set designers from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include IBM, Macy's, and The Walt Disney Company.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious set designers are:

      What Exhibit Builders Do

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take exhibit builder for example. On average, the exhibit builders annual salary is $19,085 higher than what set designers make on average every year.

      Even though set designers and exhibit builders have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require scale drawings, cad, and design concepts in the day-to-day roles.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A set designer responsibility is more likely to require skills like "set design," "art direction," "production meetings," and "photography." Whereas a exhibit builder requires skills like "shop equipment," "exhibit structures," "exhibit components," and "cnc." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      On average, exhibit builders reach lower levels of education than set designers. Exhibit builders are 15.3% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Set Decorator?

      Next up, we have the set decorator profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a set designer annual salary. In fact, set decorators salary difference is $4,152 higher than the salary of set designers per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Set designers and set decorators both include similar skills like "set design," "art direction," and "special effects" on their resumes.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real set designer resumes. While set designer responsibilities can utilize skills like "production meetings," "photography," "scale drawings," and "cad," some set decorators use skills like "department heads," "feature film," "grip," and "production designers."

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, set decorators tend to reach similar levels of education than set designers. In fact, they're 1.7% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.2% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Show Design Supervisor Compares

      Let's now take a look at the show design supervisor profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than set designers with a $36,648 difference per year.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from set designer resumes include skills like "set design," "art direction," "production meetings," and "photography," whereas a show design supervisor might be skilled in "a/v," "booth space," "show reports," and "corporate events. "

      Show design supervisors typically study at similar levels compared with set designers. For example, they're 1.7% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.2% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Graphic Designer

      Graphic designers are visual communicators who create graphic ideas to deliver a message through art and images which inspire, inform, and motivate consumers with the use of computer software, especially Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign or by hand. They have the ability to design stunning illustrations that are easily understood, even without a lot of thinking or based on the demand of their clients. It is very crucial to them as well to be flexible and to stay on top of the design trends. They create websites, posters, packaging, logos, advertising, and marketing materials, depending on the nature of the business.

      Now, we'll look at graphic designers, who generally average a lower pay when compared to set designers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $3,468 per year.

      According to resumes from both set designers and graphic designers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "art direction," "photography," and "graphic design. "

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a set designer might have more use for skills like "set design," "production meetings," "special effects," and "scale drawings." Meanwhile, some graphic designers might include skills like "adobe creative suite," "company website," "typography," and "brochures" on their resume.

      In general, graphic designers make a higher salary in the technology industry with an average of $67,756. The highest set designer annual salary stems from the media industry.

      The average resume of graphic designers showed that they earn lower levels of education to set designers. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 8.9% less. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.1%.