A Set Designer creates the look of a set for a theatre production. Their role is a combination of creativity and practicality as they must create not only the design but also make it come to life alongside a team.
You can search for roles in set design using The Stage Jobs here.
What are the main responsibilities of a Set Designer?
- Read through the script and work with the Director to create a concept for the production. A concept includes your rough ideas of what you think it should look like
- Communicating your ideas to costume, make-up, props and lighting departments
- Have a creative vision and able to create sets from small scale to large scale
- Building and photographing scale models
- Arrange your team and give them all individual tasks to ensure you and your team are all working together to create a great set
- Have a knowledge of set materials which can be used to create certain aspects of the set
- Working out problems like lighting and scene changes
- Researching historical, contemporary, futuristic details to get the right look for the production
- Creating effective designs within the available budget
- Sketching design ideas to produce a storyboard
Search through our opportunities in set design and other backstage roles available.
What qualifications do I need to be a Set Designer?
A majority of Set Designers training will take place on the job. You can also gain a position as a Set Designer through a university course, college course, apprenticeship or working towards the role. If you would like to study to become a Set Designer you can study for a qualification in one of the following areas and this can make you a desirable candidate. You can gain a qualification in any of the following subjects:
- Fine art
- Interior design
- 3D design
- Theatre design
Take a look at our apprenticeships and how they can help you here.
Ensure you keep a portfolio of all of your previous work to show to potential employers. Read our blog, ‘How to make a set design portfolio’ for some tips on how to best display your work.
What skills do I need to be a Set Designer?
- Knowledge of the fine arts
- Design skills and knowledge
- Attention to detail
- Work well in a team
- Create new ways of doing things
- Work well under pressure
- Excellent verbal communication
- Basic computer skills
What does a career in Set Design look like?
If you choose not to study and gain a job through experience, volunteer at your local theatre or try and get a work experience placement at a slightly larger theatre. With more experience and developing your skills you can work on larger scale productions in the West End.
Watch this great video from award-winning Set Designer Khadija Raza.
How much does a Set Designer earn?
There aren’t any set guidelines as the role of a Set Designer can vary depending on the scale of the production as well as the actual size of the theatre. Most Set Designers work on a freelance basis unless they belong to a big theatre which is constantly creating new productions.
Find all careers advice here.
Published: 27 August 2019