Set Designers

Gritty city street or lush green countryside. Lively medieval marketplace or sleek suburban shopping mall. If you’ve ever been amazed at the look of a movie or play, you’ve been under the spell of a talented designer.

Set designers establish the physical worlds of plays, movies, and TV shows, setting the mood, time, and place of the story. They work with directors, other designers, and technicians to make a strong visual impact.

Set designers plan, design, and oversee the construction of sets for theatrical, motion picture, and TV productions.

Did You Know?

A good portfolio -- a collection of your best work -- will be your ticket to the design world.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Study scripts
  • Research historical periods
  • Consult with directors, lighting designers, and others
  • Use computers to create plans and models
  • Revise designs based on the feedback of others
  • Estimate costs
  • Select furniture, draperies, artwork, lamps, and rugs for sets
  • Direct carpenters, scenic artists, and prop builders
  • Build, paint, and shop for your own designs in some cases
  • Work long hours under deadline

It Helps To Be...

Creative, patient, and good at solving problems, working with people, and communicating visually, in writing, and verbally.

Make High School Count

  • Get a good foundation in art and design. Consider taking the AP Art History exam.
  • Gain experience in your craft. Work behind the scenes on high school and local community theater productions designing and building sets.
  • Take technical classes such as computer-assisted drafting and technical drawing.
  • Sign-up for shop to get a feel for the uses of tools and materials.

Did You Know?

A set designer’s clients may range from an art museum to a theater company.

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