Profession set designer

Set designers develop a set concept for a performance and supervise the execution of it. Their work is based on research and artistic vision. Their design is influenced by and influences other designs and must be conform with these designs and the overall artistic vision. Therefore, the designers work closely with artistic directors, operators and the artistic team. During rehearsals and performance they coach the operators to obtain optimal timing and manipulation. Set designers develop sketches, design drawings, models, plans or other documentation to support the workshop and performance crew. They may also design exhibition stands for fairs and other events. 

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Personality Type

  • Artistic / Enterprising
  • Artistic / Realistic

Skills

  • Sketch set images

    Quickly sketch ideas for set layouts and details.

  • Verify feasibility

    Interpret an artistic plan and verify whether the described design can be executed.

  • Define set materials

    Make set construction drawings, define a proper set building and select painting materials and methods.

  • Analyse the scenography

    Analyse the selection and distribution of material elements on a stage.

  • Analyse the artistic concept based on stage actions

    Analyse the artistic concept, form and structure of a live performance based on observation during rehearsals or improvisation. Create a structured base for the design process of a specific production.

  • Perform quality control of design during a run

    Control and ensure the quality of design results during a run.

  • Understand artistic concepts

    Interpret an artist's explanation or demonstration of their artistic concepts, inceptions and processes and strive to share their vision.

  • Work ergonomically

    Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.

  • Use technical documentation

    Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.

  • Coach staff for running the performance

    Give instructions to all team members about how they should run the performance.

  • Draw stage layouts

    Manual drawing or sketching of stage layouts.

  • Prevent fire in a performance environment

    Take steps to prevent fire in a performance environment. Make sure the space complies with fire safety rules, with sprinklers and fire extinguishers installed where necessary. Make sure staff are aware of fire prevention measures.

  • Develop design concept

    Research information to develop new ideas and concepts for the design of a specific production. Read scripts and consult directors and other production staff members, in order to develop design concepts and plan productions.

  • Research new ideas

    Thorough research for information to develop new ideas and concepts for the design of a specific production based.

  • Analyse score

    Analysing the score, form, themes and structure of a piece of music.

  • Monitor developments in technology used for design

    Identify and explore recent developments in technology and materials used in the live performance industry, in order to create an up-to-date technical background for one’s personal design work.

  • Analyse a script

    Break down a script by analysing the dramaturgy, form, themes and structure of a script. Conduct relevant research if necessary.

  • Define prop materials

    Decide what materials the props will be made from, and document the conclusions.

  • Communicate during show

    Efficient communication during live performance, anticipate any possible malfunctioning.

  • Monitor sociological trends

    Identify and investigate sociological trends and movements in society.

  • Update design results during rehearsals

    Updating the design results based on observation of the stage image during the rehearsals, especially where the different designs and the action are integrated.

  • Create set models

    Create three-dimensional models of the envisioned set layout.

  • Meet deadlines

    Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.

  • Propose improvements to artistic production

    Assess past artistic activities with a view to improving future projects.

  • Model sets

    Produce plans, drawings and models of sets.

  • Use communication equipment

    Set up, test and operate different types of communication equipment such as transmission equipment, digital network equipment, or telecommunications equipment.

  • Present detailed design proposals

    Prepare and present detailed design suggestions for a specific production to a mixed group of people, including technical, artistic and management staff.

  • Draw prop sketches

    Make sketches of envisioned props to help develop the concept and to share with others.

  • Develop design ideas cooperatively

    Share and develop design ideas with the artistic team. Conceptualise new ideas independently and with others. Present your idea, gain feedback and take it into account. Make sure the design fits with the work of other designers.

  • Safeguard artistic quality of performance

    Observe the show, anticipate and react to possible technical problems, ensuring optimal artistic quality.

  • Adapt existing designs to changed circumstances

    Adapt an existing design to changed circumstances and ensure that the artistic quality of the original design is reflected in the final result.

Optional knowledge and skills

build props translate artistic concepts to technical designs prevent technical problems with scenic elements define prop building methods make set construction drawings organise resources for artistic production keep personal administration provide documentation document your own practice follow safety procedures when working at heights adapt props purchase props paint sets define set building methods ensure visual quality of the set use personal protection equipment lead a team update budget analyse the need for technical resources prevent technical problems with stage equipment work safely with machines copyright legislation mark the information from the ground plans on the stage area work with respect for own safety draw up artistic production labour legislation adapt artistic plan to location