An exhibit designer is a person who creates displays and fixtures for large exhibitions, shows, businesses, museums, libraries, and galleries. They are specially trained in the art of layout and design and may work exclusively for a museum or gallery or in a private firm.
Designers are responsible for an exhibit from start to finish, and will work closely with many people, including the client, other team members, contractors, and suppliers. The end result is a beautiful exhibit at a venue for all to enjoy.
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Designers spend a lot of time preparing their visions and ideas. They present their ideas as sketches, plans, or models generated on the computer or by hand. Each of these designs is tailored to specific information, such as theme, size limit, audience, purpose, cost, and so on. This information is collected either personally in a discussion with the client or through company and corporate research. Designers will then discuss their plans with their clients or company, and begin creating a prototype. The client can then request necessary changes until the final model is produced and approved.
Designers may also be responsible for ordering supplies necessary and even managing the construction of any displays needed for the exhibit. They make sure that all supplies ordered are suitable for the exhibit and, more importantly, within the budget of the project. Designers often work together with contractors and other technical staff, especially during the construction stages of the project. Occasionally, construction will be at the venue itself, usually at museums or galleries, but for the most part construction will occur in the studio. The final step for a designer is delivery to the venue, which is arranged either by the designer or the client.
Designers may work in a large team as employed by a company or a museum. Typically designers will have their own desk to themselves but may have to share a larger studio area with other designers. It is possible for designers to freelance and therefore have their own studio.
Designers will also work closely with clients, usually meeting them in meeting rooms or at their own offices. There is also a lot of work at the site itself, especially after planning and during construction and setup of the exhibition.
Designers work typical office hours but may find the need to schedule meetings on the weekend or to finish up last-minute work at the site. Travel can be frequent, especially with firms that have a large range of clients. Designers will also need to travel to the exhibition itself.