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Interior Designers

Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful for almost every type of building: offices, homes, airport terminals, shopping malls, and restaurants. They select and specify colors, finishes, fabrics, furniture, flooring and wallcoverings, lighting, and other materials to create useful and stylish interiors for buildings. Show Details

Duties

Interior designers typically do the following:

  • Determine the clientís goals and requirements of the project
  • Consider how the space will be used and how people will move through the space
  • Sketch preliminary design plans
  • Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wallcoverings, flooring, equipment, and artwork
  • Prepare final plans using computer applications
  • Create a timeline for the interior design project and estimate project costs
  • Oversee installing the design elements
  • Visit after the project to ensure that the client is satisfied
  • Search for and bid on new projects

Interior designers work closely with architects, structural engineers, and builders to determine how interior spaces will look and be furnished. Interior designers may read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations.

Although some sketches or drawings may be freehand, most interior designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software for the majority of their drawings.

Many designers specialize in particular types of buildings (homes, hospitals, or hotels), specific rooms (bathrooms or kitchens), or specific styles (early American or French Renaissance). Some designers work for home furnishings stores, providing design services to help customers choose materials and furnishings.

Some interior designers produce designs, plans, and drawings for construction and installation. This may include floor plans, lighting plans, or plans needed for building permits. Interior designers may draft the preliminary design into documents that could be as simple as sketches or as inclusive as construction documents, with schedules and attachments.

The following are examples of types of interior designers.

Sustainable designers use strategies to improve energy and water efficiencies and indoor air quality, and they specify environmentally preferable products such as bamboo or cork for floors. They may obtain certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council. Such certification indicates that a building or its interior space was designed with the use of sustainable concepts.

Universal designers renovate spaces to make them more accessible. Often, these designs are used to renovate spaces for elderly people or people with special needs; however, universal designs can benefit anyone. For example, an entry with no steps may be necessary for someone in a wheelchair, but it is also helpful for someone pushing a baby stroller.

Kitchen and bath designers specialize in kitchens and bathrooms and have expert knowledge of the variety of cabinets, fixtures, appliances, plumbing, and electrical solutions for these rooms.

Lighting designers focus on the effect of lighting for home, office, or public spaces. For example, lighting designers may work on stage productions, in gallery or museum spaces, or in health care facilities to find appropriate light fixtures and lighting effects for each space.

Closet designers design closet space for homes to maximize storage and increase orderliness. They work with both fixed structures and stand-alone storage systems.

Set and Exhibit Designers

Set designers create sets for movie, television, theater, and other productions. They analyze scripts or other research documents to determine how many sets will be needed and how each set can best support the story. Show Details

Exhibit designers create spaces to display products, art, or artifacts. Show Details

Duties

Set and exhibit designers typically do the following:†

  • Develop set or exhibit designs based on their evaluation of scripts or of artifacts to be exhibited, budgets, and location
  • Collaborate with directors, curators, clients, other designers, and production staff on specific design features
  • Consult with producers, curators, and clients to identify the intended audience and determine what set or exhibit characteristics may appeal to them
  • Prepare hand-drawn sketches or use Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs to create electronic drawings and diagrams to show what the finished sets or exhibits will look like
  • Prepare budgets for all necessary sets or exhibits
  • Create sets and exhibit spaces that help to tell a story

Set and exhibit designers create a space to communicate a particular message to an audience. In film, theater, or television, set or scenic designers communicate the authorís or directorís ideas to the audience through the look and feel of scenery, furniture, and props.

They must take into account the sceneís historical period, time of day, location, season, and other aspects of the story. In addition, set designers help the audience gain a better sense of the physical space in which the action takes place.

Exhibit designers must take into account the lighting, size of the space, message, and intended audience when they design exhibits. Lighting is essential because it can make a space more appealing or draw visitorsí attention to something specific.

Increasingly, museum and trade show exhibits are becoming interactive and integrate multimedia effects, such as video and sound, into the experience. Exhibits are no longer just a few posters or paintings on the wall; they have become three-dimensional experiences.

Exhibit designers are responsible for developing a concept and then seeing the design project through to the opening of the exhibit.

Set and exhibit designers may work on traveling shows and exhibits, such as concert tours, theatrical road shows, and traveling museum exhibits. Often, these sets must be easily erected and dismantled for transport to new venues and must be flexible to accommodate performing or exhibit spaces of different sizes.

Many set and exhibit designers eventually specialize in designing sets for a particular purpose. Most, however, start out learning a common set of skills and taking a variety of set and exhibit design jobs while building their credentials, expertise, and personal style.

The following are examples of types of set and exhibit designers:

Live theatrical performance set designers work on stage sets for theater, ballet, opera, or other live performances. They collaborate with directors to ensure that the set enhances the story and is appropriate for the space and size of the production.

Television or movie set designers design sets for television programs or motion pictures. Filming may take place either on location or on a production set, and set designers are responsible for any background that appears on camera.

Television studio set designers create set designs for in-studio programs, such as news and sports broadcasts, talk shows, and interviews. Their designs take into account the desired brightness of studio lights, any permanent background images, and the ability to display other visual images, such as images shown through television monitors or screen projections.

Trade show or convention exhibit designers work on designs for exhibiting or demonstrating products at trade shows and conventions. They are responsible for making maximum use of the available space and attracting visitors with a visually pleasing display.

Exhibit designers work with curators, artists, and museum directors to design sets that display art or artifacts for museum exhibits. Exhibit designers must be able to tell a story through exhibit pieces while allowing visitors to walk through the exhibit area easily.

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