Exhibit Designers

Exhibit designers create fixtures, furnishings and display stands for events including trade shows, public exhibitions and conferences. They also create displays for museums, businesses and galleries. Some exhibit designers are employed by an independent studio. Others work for government agencies, museums and organizations that have their own design departments. Many exhibit designers are self-employed.

Increasingly, exhibition designers are utilizing computer aided design software to make designs. The designs are reviewed by the client and adjustments may be made. Their drawings, sketches and models are utilized as a guide for constructing the exhibits. They often supervise the construction of the exhibit.

Common job titles include exhibit preparator, exhibition organizer, display coordinator, design chief, show design supervisor and scenic designer.

Exhibition designers that work in the apparel industry design exhibits and booths for clothing industry trade shows and fashion shows. They also work with art museum curators and directors to determine the best use of museum space for displaying art and artifacts. Exhibition designers also create exhibitions for fairgrounds, libraries and malls.


  • Plan for issues such as space limitations, safety concerns and traffic flow patterns
  • Produce final specifications
  • Present ideas as scale plans and sketches
  • Order supplies
  • Discuss exhibit ideas with clients
  • Direct the construction of components and the assembly and installation of exhibits
  • Collaborate with technical specialists
  • Plan where to place items in an exhibit
  • Estimate exhibit related costs
  • Inspect installed exhibits to ensure they meet specifications

Job Characteristics

Those working in the field of exhibit design often travel to visit clients or to exhibition sites. Exhibition designers should be artistic and creative. They need good organizational and management skills.

Employment Outlook

The employment outlook is rated as fair for exhibit designer jobs. The median annual earnings for set and exhibit designers in 2008 was $44,660.

The field is quite competitive. In large design firms, exhibit designers may move up to managerial positions including art director. They may become department heads in organizations that design numerous exhibits.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Exhibit designers come from a variety of backgrounds including interior design, graphic design, industrial/product design and architecture. Some exhibition designers have earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts or design. The bachelor's of fine arts program typically includes classes in principles of design, art and art history, and designing and sketching.

Some exhibit designers have an associate degree in design. Employers are increasingly expecting new designers to have knowledge and skills with computer aided design software. Those that plan to do freelance work may want to take classes in subjects such as marketing, merchandising, business management and project management.

Professional schools provide certificates and associate degrees in design. For some of the top jobs, employers may prefer those with a master's degree in fine arts. For some entry-level jobs, a two-year degree may be sufficient. Typically, on-the-job training is provided. Museums may provide internships for people interested in a career in designing exhibits.

Exhibit designers needs to have a strong foundation in topics such as computer aided design (CAD) conceptual design, making models, and safety regulations and applicable standards.


Major Employers

The top employers are the fashion industry, apparel manufacturers, design firms, trade show design firms and museums.

Schools for Exhibit Designers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Exhibit Designers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Exhibit Designers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 2,750 $65,890
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 430 $54,920
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise 290 $43,030
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 290 $49,980
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 230 $68,430
Columbus 170 $39,700
Oklahoma City 160 $39,190
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 130 $53,020
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 130 $60,780
San Diego-Carlsbad 100 $49,460

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to exhibit designers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Exhibit Designers

To find out more about building a career as Exhibit Designers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Exhibit Designers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Performing Arts And Sports 2,260 29% $33,110
Movie And Music 1,470 18% $59,060
Professional And Technical Services 1,220 15% $55,510
Museums And Historic Attractions 920 11% $39,770
Office Services And Staffing 600 7% $40,720
Government 510 6% $59,800
Education 400 5% $39,390
Media And Broadcasting 200 2% $51,160
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 90 1% $49,110
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Exhibit Designers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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