How to Become a Set Designer

Step 1: Understand the job description and responsibilities of a Set Designer

What does a Set Designer do?

A Set Designer designs motion picture or television production sets, signs, props, or scenic effects. Prepares scale drawings for use in construction, modification, or alteration. Being a Set Designer may require an associate's degree or its equivalent and 2-4 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with standard concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Additionally, Set Designer relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of complicated tasks. Typically reports to a supervisor/manager. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected.

People's Opinions on Set Designer responsibilities

These designers work in film, television, theater, dance, concert, and pageant production, as well as in other areas.

10/07/2019: Lancaster, PA

Any event which requires the presentation of people on a stage will involve a set designer, whether it's a speech from a head of state or a daytime soap opera.

11/14/2019: New Orleans, LA

Historically, many set designers learned their craft by working from the ground up.

12/10/2019: Greenville, SC

They would start in the scenery department with tasks like painting and carpentry, and gradually develop more advanced skills and aesthetics until they could work designing sets.

11/30/2019: Louisville, KY

Most designers today are trained artists, with many having MFA degrees in arts, theater production, or set design specifically.

11/17/2019: Wichita Falls, TX
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Step 2: Learn best tips to become a Set Designer

Best tips for those who want to become a Set Designer

Here are some tips to become a Set Designer.

People's Opinions on best tips

Keep Doing Your Personal Projects.

12/10/2019: Yakima, WA

Buy the first item to set the tone of the room.

12/28/2019: Danbury, CT

Don't push all your furniture up against the walls.

11/01/2019: Greensboro, NC

Live with your choices—then rearrange.

01/01/2020: Springfield, MA

Tom Dixon style beat pendant lights.

11/29/2019: Monroe, LA
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Step 3: View best colleges and universities for Set Designer

Best colleges and universities for Set Designer

  • Butler University
  • Carroll College
  • Cooper Union
  • High Point University
  • Princeton University
  • Providence College

Step 4: Think about whether is it worth to be a Set Designer

Is being a Set Designer Worth it?

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These are not just sets, but designs that pull audiences into the psychology of a play.

12/13/2019: Waterloo, IA

When Hollywood set designer Floyd Albee and his wife, Julia, a commercial photographer, moved to Mill Valley last June, they merged their talents and experience into Prevalent Projects, a design studio and store, in their new hometown.

11/07/2019: Stockton, CA

In parallel with Lavender Blue, Miss Baker has recently established another business that provides set and costume design services for photographers and independent filmmakers.

11/22/2019: Tucson, AZ

Korins will magnify small details — table legs, moldings, chair feet, corners of rooms — and use them as vitrines and set pieces for the artworks and objects on display.

12/24/2019: Schenectady, NY

Director Patty Jenkins and production designer Aline Bonetto chose a location in southern Italy to recreate the virginal lush landscapes of “Paradise Island”, complete with waterfalls and natural rock formations, Greek-mythology inspired towers and dwellings, and dusty gladiator-style training grounds for the Amazons to learn combat.

11/11/2019: Worcester, MA
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Step 5: Prepare relevant skills for being a Set Designer

What skills do you need to be a Set Designer?

People's Opinions on Set Designer skills

Becoming a set designer requires a keen eye for detail and the ability to give birth to ideas using a variety of artistic mediums.

10/11/2019: Modesto, CA

Once you’ve made up your mind to pursue set design, you can begin building the skills and experience you’ll need to put together sets that lend authentic character to a production.

11/22/2019: Rock Hill, SC

You may not be able to actually design sets yourself on your first few productions.

12/13/2019: Salisbury, NC

Realizing a finished set begins with understanding the needs of the story.

10/13/2019: Abilene, TX

Traditional art classes will teach you essential design skills, which you'll use every day on set.

10/04/2019: Montgomery, AL
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Step 6: View average salary for Set Designer

How much does a Set Designer make?

The average salary range for a Set Designer is from $42,371 to $62,534. The salary will change depending on your location, job level, experience, education, and skills.

Salary range for a Set Designer
$42,371 to $62,534

Step 7: Find relevant Set Designer jobs, and apply.

Looking for Set Designer jobs?

Here are some Set Designer jobs in the United States.

Search Set Designer Jobs in the United States

Step 8: Explore Career Path of Set Designer