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Career and Education Opportunities for Set and Exhibit Designers in Detroit, Michigan

There are many career and education opportunities for set and exhibit designers in the Detroit, Michigan area. There are currently 170 jobs for set and exhibit designers in Michigan and this is projected to grow by 10% to 190 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for set and exhibit designers are expected to grow by about 16.6%. Set and exhibit designers generally design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets.

Income for set and exhibit designers is about $22 hourly or $45,850 annually on average in Michigan. Nationally, their income is about $21 hourly or $44,660 annually. Incomes for set and exhibit designers are better than in the overall category of Art and Design in Michigan, 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 and exhibits director, production manager, and exhibit designer.

The Detroit area is home to seventy-three schools of higher education, including nine within twenty-five miles of Detroit where you can get a degree 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 Detroit 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.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • 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.
  • 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

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Ann Arbor, MI

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, , Ann Arbor, MI 48109. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a large university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 40,618 students and an admission rate of 42%. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor has a bachelor's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated six students in 2008.

Henry Ford Community College - Dearborn, MI

Henry Ford Community College, 5101 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, MI 48128-1495. Henry Ford Community College is a large college located in Dearborn, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,571 students. Henry Ford Community College has a one to two year program in Illustration which graduated one student in 2008.

College for Creative Studies - Detroit, MI

College for Creative Studies, 201 E Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202. College for Creative Studies is a small college located in Detroit, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,358 students and an admission rate of 27%. College for Creative Studies has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Illustration, bachelor's degree which graduated 31 students in 2008.
  • Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties, less than one year which graduated 15 students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Canton - Canton, MI

ITT Technical Institute-Canton, 1905 S. Haggerty Rd, Canton, MI 48188-2025. ITT Technical Institute-Canton is a small school located in Canton, Michigan. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 1,113 students and an admission rate of 46%. ITT Technical Institute-Canton has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

Cranbrook Academy of Art - Bloomfield Hills, MI

Cranbrook Academy of Art, 39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. Cranbrook Academy of Art is a small school located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 150 students. Cranbrook Academy of Art has a master's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated seven students in 2008.

Oakland University - Rochester Hills, MI

Oakland University, , Rochester Hills, MI 48309-4401. Oakland University is a large university located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 18,169 students and an admission rate of 78%. Oakland University has a bachelor's degree program in Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology which graduated four students in 2008.

Lawrence Technological University - Southfield, MI

Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075-1058. Lawrence Technological University is a small university located in Southfield, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,318 students and an admission rate of 60%. Lawrence Technological University has a bachelor's degree program in Illustration which graduated six students in 2008.

The Art Institute of Michigan - Novi, MI

The Art Institute of Michigan, 28125 Cabot Dr Ste 120, Novi, MI 48377-2985. The Art Institute of Michigan is a small school located in Novi, Michigan. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 300 students and an admission rate of 33%. The Art Institute of Michigan has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

ITT Technical Institute-Troy - Troy, MI

ITT Technical Institute-Troy, 1522 E Big Beaver Rd, Troy, MI 48083-1905. ITT Technical Institute-Troy is a small school located in Troy, Michigan. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 1,350 students and an admission rate of 55%. ITT Technical Institute-Troy has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan photo by Durova

Detroit is located in Wayne County, Michigan. It has a population of over 912,062, which has shrunk by 4.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Detroit, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Detroit are priced at $108,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, eighty-five new homes were built in Detroit, down from one hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Detroit are health care, educational services, and transportation equipment. For men, it is transportation equipment, construction, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 28 minutes. More than 11.0% of Detroit residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Detroit is 27.0%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Detroit residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.7%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Detroit is home to the Memorial Park Marina and the Detroit Golf Club as well as Chene Park and Mallett Playground. Visitors to Detroit can choose from Corktown Inn, Clark's Motel and Days Inn of Downtown Detroit for temporary stays in the area.