Set Designer

Job Description:

Design and create backdrops and settings for video productions including TV, film, and theatre.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • studying scripts and discussing ideas with the director
  • communicating your ideas to costume, make-up, props and lighting designers
  • working out problems like lighting and scene changes
  • researching historical, contemporary or futuristic details to get the right look for the production
  • creating effective designs within the available budget
  • sketching design ideas to produce a storyboard
  • building and photographing scale models


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Set Designer, it’s important to develop a strong foundation in the arts, creativity, and technical skills. While there are no specific subjects required, you can focus on subjects that will help you build a relevant skill set and knowledge base for this career. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring Set Designers:

  1. Art & Design: This is one of the most important subjects for a career in set design. It will help you develop your artistic skills, including drawing, painting, and design.
  2. Design and Technology: This subject can provide you with a good understanding of materials, construction, and the technical aspects of creating sets.
  3. Drama or Theater Studies: These subjects can help you gain insights into the world of theater, performance, and stage design, which are closely related to set design.
  4. Media Studies: Understanding how different media and visual elements are used in storytelling can be helpful for designing sets for various types of productions.
  5. English Language: Strong communication skills are crucial for working with directors, producers, and other team members in the entertainment industry.
  6. Mathematics: While not directly related to set design, math skills can be useful for measurements and calculations when creating and constructing sets.

Post School

You’ll usually need an HND or degree in a relevant subject, like architecture, fine art, interior design or 3D design.

You could start as a designer’s assistant, art department trainee or a runner in film or TV and work your way up.

A DVD or online portfolio showcasing sets you’ve designed for amateur theatre, school plays or films would be useful.


Working Hours and Environment:

Your working hours could be long and include evening and weekend work.

You’ll work in a studio, an office or from home. You may also travel to attend meetings with theatres or film and TV production companies.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could work on larger and more prestigious film, TV and theatre productions.