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Career and Education Opportunities for Set and Exhibit Designers in Santa Clara, California

If you want to be a set and exhibit designer, the Santa Clara, California area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 2,300 working set and exhibit designers in California; this should grow 17% to about 2,700 working set and exhibit designers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for set and exhibit designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. Set and exhibit designers generally design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets.

The income of a set and exhibit designer is about $24 per hour or $50,930 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,660 annually on average. Incomes for set and exhibit designers are not quite as good as in the overall category of Art and Design in California, and not quite as good as the overall Art and Design category nationally. Set and exhibit designers work in a variety of jobs, including: art coordinator, food stylist, and show design supervisor.

There are thirty-five schools of higher education in the Santa Clara area, including four within twenty-five miles of Santa Clara where you can get a degree to start your career as a set and exhibit designer. Set and exhibit designers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a set and exhibit designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Set and Exhibit Designer

Set and Exhibit Designer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, set and exhibit designers design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. They also may study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

Set and exhibit designers estimate set- or exhibit-related costs including materials and rental of props or locations. They also direct and schedule construction, erection, or decoration efforts in order to insure that sets or exhibits meet layout and schedule requirements. Equally important, set and exhibit designers have to talk with clients and staff so as to gather data related to exhibit space, proposed themes and content and/or promotion requirements. They are often called upon to acquire, or manage acquisition of, specimens or graphics required to finish exhibits. They are expected to submit plans for approval, and adapt plans to serve intended purposes, or to conform to budget or fabrication restrictions. Finally, set and exhibit designers design for location-specific issues such as space limitations, traffic flow patterns, and safety concerns.

Every day, set and exhibit designers are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for set and exhibit designers to layout and produce displays and materials that can be used to decorate windows or event locations such as streets and fairgrounds. They are often called upon to direct the removal of sets and exhibits after productions or events are complete. They also research architectural and stylistic elements appropriate to the time period to be depicted, consulting experts for data as needed. They are sometimes expected to decide on and purchase lumber and hardware needed for set construction. Somewhat less frequently, set and exhibit designers are also expected to observe sets during rehearsals in order to insure that set elements do not interfere with performance aspects such as cast movement and camera angles.

and design set designs on the basis of evaluation of scripts and available locations. And finally, they sometimes have to ready rough drafts and scale working drawings of sets, including floor plans and properties to be constructed.

Like many other jobs, set and exhibit designers must believe in innovation and creative thought and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Santa Clara include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Camera Operator. Operate television, video, or motion picture camera to photograph images or scenes for various purposes, such as TV broadcasts, advertising, or motion pictures.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Set and Exhibit Designer Training

Gavilan College - Gilroy, CA

Gavilan College, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd, Gilroy, CA 95020. Gavilan College is a medium sized college located in Gilroy, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,159 students. Gavilan College has an associate's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology.

West Valley College - Saratoga, CA

West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070-5698. West Valley College is a large college located in Saratoga, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,585 students. West Valley College has an associate's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology.

Foothill College - Los Altos Hills, CA

Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. Foothill College is a large college located in Los Altos Hills, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,837 students. Foothill College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology.

Ohlone College - Fremont, CA

Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539-0390. Ohlone College is a large college located in Fremont, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,083 students. Ohlone College has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, two to four year.
  • Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology, associate's degree and two to four year which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Santa Clara, California

Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara, California photo by Coolcaesar

Santa Clara is located in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 110,200, which has grown by 7.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Santa Clara, 158, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Santa Clara cost $196,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were constructed in Santa Clara, down from eighty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Santa Clara are computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 42.4% of Santa Clara residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara is 10.9%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Santa Clara residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Peace Lutheran Church, Good News Community Church and Universal Church of the Master are some of the churches located in Santa Clara. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

Santa Clara is home to the Santa Clara Unified School District Office and the Santa Clara Municipal Golf Course as well as Westwood Acres Park and Washington Park. Shopping centers in the area include Moonlite Shopping Center, Fairway Glen Shopping Center and Youth Shopping Center.