Design & Architecture

Set Designer

Set designers create scenery, visual aids and sets for theatre, film and television productions.

  • Entry-level education

    VET qualification

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Set Designer do?

Set designers create scenery, visual aids and sets for theatre, film and television productions.


Work activities

As a set designer, you would:

  • read scripts and discuss ideas with directors and writers
  • research your thoughts for specific details or further ideas or accuracy
  • discuss ideas with relevant team members such as costume designers or lighting technicians
  • create the overall look of a theatre, television or film production
  • sketch out ideas using a storyboard using materials, pictures and visual aids
  • estimate costs and work within a set budget
  • oversee the construction of the set
  • source visual aids appropriate to the production.

Key skills and interests

To become a set designer, you would need:

  • creative flair and lots of imagination
  • artistic and drawing skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • problem solving skills
  • planning and time management skills
  • the ability to meet deadlines
  • a good eye for detail.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a set designer, you would work often long hours on a contract or project basis, to meet strict deadlines. You may then have periods in between when you are not working.


You would work in a studio, an office or from home. You may travel to set locations and to attend meetings with theatres, or film/TV production companies.


How to become an Set Designer?

Entry Level Education

To become a set designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in design, visual arts, live production and management services or scenery and set construction. Skills can also be gained on the job through extensive experience in the industry.

You may also become a set designer by completing a degree in design, visual arts, fine arts, creative arts, technical production or visual communication. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, visual arts and design would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university. You may also have to attend an interview and submit a folio of work. Relevant industry experience is also an advantage.

Each November, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) conduct auditions in most states and territories for their courses. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) usually holds auditions in November and early December.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of set designers is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

Some job growth is expected to stem from strong demand from the public for more movies and television shows, although this will depend on the local production of shows.. Set designers who work in small- and medium-sized theatres may see slower job growth because many of those theatres have difficulty finding funding.


CareerHQ Compass

Discover the path to your future

How can CareerHQ Compass help you?