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Career and Education Opportunities for Set and Exhibit Designers in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a set and exhibit designer, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 180 jobs for set and exhibit designers in Washington and this is projected to grow by 14% to about 200 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for set and exhibit designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. In general, set and exhibit designers design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets.

Income for set and exhibit designers is about $23 per hour or $49,140 yearly on average in Washington. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,660 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Art and Design, people working as set and exhibit designers in Washington earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Art and Design nationally. People working as set and exhibit designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: art coordinator, room designer, and art and exhibits director.

There are eight schools within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can study to be a set and exhibit designer, among sixty-five schools of higher education total in the Seattle area. The most common level of education for set and exhibit designers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Seattle 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.
  • 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

Seattle Pacific University - Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Seattle Pacific University is a small university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,891 students and an admission rate of 84%. Seattle Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated eighteen students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Everett - Everett, WA

ITT Technical Institute-Everett, 1615 75th Street Sw, Suite 220, Everett, WA 98203. ITT Technical Institute-Everett is a small school located in Everett, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 481 students and an admission rate of 45%. ITT Technical Institute-Everett has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

Northwest College of Art - Poulsbo, WA

Northwest College of Art, 16301 Creative Dr NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Northwest College of Art is a small college located in Poulsbo, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 97 students and an admission rate of 43%. Northwest College of Art has a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.

Cornish College of the Arts - Seattle, WA

Cornish College of the Arts, 1000 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA 98121. Cornish College of the Arts is a small college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 815 students and an admission rate of 78%. Cornish College of the Arts has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 26 students in 2008.
  • Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 2 areas of study related to Set and Exhibit Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, bachelor's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.
  • Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology, master's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle - Seattle, WA

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle, 12720 Gateway Dr Ste 100, Seattle, WA 98168-2610. ITT Technical Institute-Seattle is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 541 students and an admission rate of 36%. ITT Technical Institute-Seattle has an associate's degree program in Design and Visual Communications.

International Academy of Design and Technology - Seattle, WA

International Academy of Design and Technology, 645 Andover Park West, Seattle, WA 98188-0000. International Academy of Design and Technology is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 583 students. International Academy of Design and Technology has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Design and Visual Communications which graduated three and ten students respectively in 2008.

The Art Institute of Seattle - Seattle, WA

The Art Institute of Seattle, 2323 Elliott Ave, Seattle, WA 98121-1622. The Art Institute of Seattle is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,250 students and an admission rate of 77%. The Art Institute of Seattle has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Design and Applied Arts, Other Specialties which graduated fourteen and fifty-two students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.