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Exhibit Designer Job Description, Career as a Exhibit Designer, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Salary: $43,000 Annually

Job Outlook: Good

Job Description

An exhibit designer works within a variety of different environments in the design of a given space. They may work to design sets, tradeshow booths, or work within a facility such as a museum directly. As different as the number of applications and job types as there are within this type of role, there are as many different responsibilities associated.
An exhibit designer usually has to meet with another party to gather information. This may be a client directly, may be with other individuals within their own company, or may be with a third party for a specific project. They must gather information such as budget, timelines, and any guidance that is important for the design work to commence and move forward. They must take this information and put it into their work directly as they plan for their design, taking all key issues into consideration.
Exhibit designers of course focus a great deal of their time and effort on design directly. They are however often involved in the set up and removal of the exhibit. They may be involved with ordering the materials, and working to see how everything will come together in the space directly. They may visit the site where their exhibit will be so that they can understand any constraints and work through them. Their work often doesn’t stop as soon as the design is complete, as they are often consulted with on the actual construction as well.
They are considered to be subject matters in their areas and on the displays themselves, so they may very well be involved in every step from beginning to end. They may be on hand to consult with for the construction, may handle inspection, may be the final say on the materials used, and may be present for set up and take down. They may be the main point of contact for the exhibit itself if any issues arise, so they play a rather pivotal role. This is important as exhibits are often used for a company to put their message out or build awareness. So the role of an exhibit designer is a very involved one, and goes far above just design specifically.

Education and Training Requirements

The minimum educational requirement for an exhibit designer is usually a bachelor’s degree, though this can vary on the specific position. This is often the minimum expectation for an exhibit designer across the board, but particularly for those working at an entry level type of position. Though it is often preferred that an individual in this role have a background or education within design, this is not necessarily a requirement.
As an exhibit designer moves up in their role, it is usually important that they pursue additional education. Though not necessarily required, those that wish to move to more senior level positions often seek higher degrees or at a minimum must keep up with classes in new technologies that may be of great help. Though much of the training comes on the job with this type of role, it is always important to keep up with new trends and technologies to grow within the role.

Getting the Job

The best way for an exhibit designer to get a job initially is to have some sort of background in design. For a more entry level role, an educational background in design as well as any sort of internship or development of a portfolio can prove to be helpful. Moving forward, it’s important for an exhibit designer to show a solid understanding of what the role involves from beginning to end. Demonstrating through a portfolio of the exhibits that they’ve designed, as well as showing an ability to handle everything from construction to take down can be quite helpful in getting the job.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Though this can be a rather challenging career path to break into, there is a great demand and great growth potential for exhibit designers. Many exhibit companies, movie studios, and corporations alike have a need for an exhibit designer. This means that there is a good demand for individuals in this role, and there may be open positions within a wide range of environments. There is a greater potential for hiring in bigger cities where there may be the presence of more tradeshow or exhibit companies, as well as movie studios. This may be a position that isn’t in as high of demand during times of economic difficulties.

Working Conditions and Environment

Typically exhibit designers work within a studio of some sort. They may have an office or a desk to handle the actual design itself, as well as field any calls or communication. They may then handle the construction or be a part of that team in an appropriate facility that can handle this need. They may expect to travel a fair amount to get to the sites where the exhibits will be displayed. They may have to travel for stretches of time for a tradeshow for example, handling the set up and the clean up accordingly. They may move from environment to environment depending on the nature of their exhibit and what point in the process it is at. This may be a stressful job, particularly when working against a tight deadline.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for an exhibit designer is generally around $43,000. This is an average as it may depend greatly on the specific environment or company that the individual works for. Adding to the potential for a wide salary range is also the geographical location, because working in bigger cities or metropolitan areas may cause quite a variance. Those exhibit designers that work for organizations directly may expect to receive standard benefits including paid vacation, holidays, and sick days. They may also expect to receive health insurance and usually some sort of retirement account as well.

Where to Go for More Information

Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA)
1100 Johnson Ferry Rd
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30342
T: (877) 792-ESCA or (702) 319-9561
F: (702) 450-7732

International Association for Exhibition & Events (IAEE) Formerly IAEM
8111 LBJ Freeway
Suite 750
Dallas, TX 75251
T: (972) 458-8002
F: (972) 458-8119

Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA)
McCormick Place
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1005
Chicago, IL 60616
T: (312) 842-TSEA
F: (312) 842-8744

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCommunication and the Arts