Production Designer: Job Description, Duties & Salary

The look and feel that's established through visual designs or set pieces in things such as films, advertisements or video games is determined by a production designer. Read on to learn about what these professionals do, earn and more.

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Career Definition of a Production Designer

Production designers are visual artists. One of the most common fields they work in is film. They may be responsible for determining the visual style that will be used to create set pieces in a movie or television show. In this role they will read scripts and determine the intended tone for the production and relevant set details that should be included in the film. They provide direction for the film's art department and oversee the creation of set pieces and props that will be used during the filming process. They may also be responsible for establishing the design budget for the film.

Some employers hire production designers to produce other types of visual materials. They may combine artistic, photographic and layout skills to produce things such as catalogues that will be used to market products. Others may produce animation that will be incorporated in a film or video game. Whatever specific role they're in their primary objective remains the same: produce visual content that will meet their project's needs.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Creativity, artistic talent, computer skills, attention to detail, teamwork skills, time management skills, communication skills, multitasking skills, proofreading skills
Median Salary (2017)* $46,576
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 11% (set and exhibit designers)

Sources: *PayScale; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Production designers must have a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as graphic design or art, in order to prepare for their career. One of their primary objectives during their studies is to develop a portfolio to showcase their work so that they can effectively compete for employment opportunities. Their training should include computer design skills and learning how to use programs such as Photoshop.

Required Skills

Production designers need to be very creative in order to come up with effect designs in their work. They may spend a lot of time working on computers to modify images or produce visual designs or design plans so they need to have strong computer skills. They also need to pay attention to detail in order to ensure that they include all the material that's essential in their designs and to ensure that the work they produce conveys the intended message. Their tasks involve the ability to manage multiple projects, meet deadlines and work with other professionals in their field so they also need to have time management skills, the ability to work as part of a team and strong communication skills.

Career Outlook and Salary

As of 2017, PayScale reported that set and exhibit designers earned a median income of $46,576 per year. These creative professionals are categorized with set and exhibit designers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2016 to 2026, the BLS expects this career group to see an 11% job growth rate. This is notably higher than the national average job growth rate for all occupations, which is projected to be 7% from 2016 to 2026.

Related Careers

Since production designers are creative and artistic they may be interested in a range of career options that involve producing visual images or models for entertainment or marketing purposes. This list of links leads to information about a number of careers that share similar training requirements or common duties with production designers.

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