Set designers determine what furnishings are needed for a play or movie. Exhibit designers create displays to share information.
Set designers research time periods and create sets to represent that time period. They read scripts to learn about the productions they work on. They talk to directors and other production heads about what they want from the set. They also establish budgets and timelines. If they are not familiar with the time period, set designers do research to learn more about it.
Set designers draw sketches of their ideas for sets. Some designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software for their sketches. CAD tools allow them to easily modify their designs.
Once they have completed several sketches, set designers meet with directors and get feedback about their designs. They may meet with directors several times to refine their designs. Designers estimate how much it will cost to build the sets and rent the props.
Set designers oversee the construction and decoration of sets. Designers frequently rent props. They look through catalogs or visit warehouses where props are stored. Sometimes designers draw pictures of props and instruct assistants how to build them.
Once the sets are built, designers make sure the actual sets closely resemble their sketches and meet director's requirements. They often attend rehearsals to make sure the sets don't interfere with performances.
Exhibit designers create educational displays for museums, libraries, and other organizations. The work process for exhibit designers is similar to that for set designers. They gather information, create designs, modify designs based on client feedback, and build the exhibit.
Both set and exhibit designers oversee the takedown of displays and sets. They make sure pieces are properly transported and stored for future use.