Set Designer (Film Industry)



OFO No: 343204





What is a Set Designer?

A Set Designer is responsible for taking the ideas of the Film Production Designer, researching the concept and making these ideas come to life.  These ideas need to be as authentic and believable as possible.

A Set Designer is not only responsible for the location but will make sure the architecture, costumes, transport etc are all relevant to the story line and period of the production.

Set Designers usually work on a contract basis.  They can work for set building companies, exhibition construction companies, film/movie houses, interior design firms, photographic studios etc.

What does a Set Designer do?

  • studies the script and discusses ideas with the Film Production Designer and other crew members
  • researches a lot – to determine the fashion, architectural style and period of the production
  • takes note of size, shape, weight, colour, materials used, cost, ease of use and safety of all aspect s of the design
  • produces preliminary sketches (by hand and computer)
  • creates small, scaled 3D models of various parts of the set
  • oversees construction of the set
  • is involved in the costume design and manages the making of the costumes
  • ensures the creative and technical requirements from the director and producer are followed
  • follows and makes sure budgets are met

Are you … ?

  • creative?
  • 3D aware?
  • colour aware?
  • detail orientated?
  • good with your hands?
  • a good drawer?
  • design orientated?
  • a good manager?
  • deadline orientated?
  • driven?

How do I become a Set Designer?

You could start early by getting involved in the drama department/club at your school or in your community. 

There is a lot to learn and the more skills you can gather while volunteering at your school or local dramatic society, the better.  It will also assist you in your studies at a later date if you are seriously considering a job as a Set Designer.

One can study a National Diploma and a further BTech in Performing Arts Technology at one of the universities of technology listed below.

Skills such as carpentry, electrical, and knowledge of working with fibreglass etc could come in very handy.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Architectural Technologist … or … Graphic Designer

Is becoming a Set Designer the right career choice for me?