Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers (NOC 5243)

About this job

Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers conceptualize and produce designs for film, television, theatre and video productions, garments and textiles, displays and exhibits, and other creative items such as jewellery and trophies.

See what a day in the life of this job is like—watch WorkBC’s Career Trek video about this occupation.

Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

People in this occupation:   

  • may be employed as a theatre designer by performing arts, film and television companies and by festivals
  • may be employed as a fashion designer  by clothing and textiles companies
  • may be employed as an exhibit designer by museums and retail establishments
  • may be employed as a creative designer by manufacturing establishments
  • may be employed as an independent designer working for themselves
Common job titles
  • co-ordinator, fashion
  • couturier - haute couture
  • designer, accessories
  • designer, show and demonstration
  • designer, sound
  • designer, swimming pool
  • co-ordinator, fashion
  • couturier - haute couture
  • designer, accessories
  • designer, crest
  • designer, facilities
  • designer, fishing lure

Duties

Designers:

  • review and analyze client needs and help develop a concept into an original design
  • prepare sketches, diagrams or prototypes, either by hand or with the aid of a computer to illustrate designs
  • perform administrative tasks, such as reviewing catalogues and ordering samples
  • may supervise assistants
There are many areas of design expertise such as designing window displays, jewellery, fabric, toys, trophies and haute couture. Most designers specialize in a particular area, such as those described under Special duties.

Special duties

Theatre designers:

Theatre designers design and create sets, scenic environments, properties, costumes and lighting for theatre, film and video productions, operas and ballets, by preparing sketches or scale models to guide construction. They may specialize in costume, lighting or set design.

Fashion designers:

Fashion designers design and create clothing and accessories. They may specialize in men's, women's or children's apparel or in different lines such as sportswear, footwear or formal wear.

Exhibit designers:

Exhibit designers plan and develop permanent and temporary or moveable exhibits and displays for museum exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, retail spaces and other exhibitions.

Work environment

Working conditions and places of employment vary depending on the type of work. Designers employed by manufacturing establishments, large corporations or design firms generally work regular hours in office settings, however, they may have to adjust their work day to suit client schedules and deadlines, meeting in the evening or on weekends if necessary.

Designers in smaller design consulting firms or those who freelance generally work on a contract basis. They may conduct business in their own offices or studios or in client homes or offices. They may also travel to other locations, such as showrooms, design centres, manufacturing facilities and client exhibits.

Fashion designers may be required to travel to production sites across the country and overseas. As well, fashion and interior designers frequently work under deadlines and may be required to work extra hours to complete a job.

Some designers (i.e., set and exhibit designers) may also help to construct and install displays, which may require moving lumber and heavy materials and performing some carpentry and painting. As well, work may be done under pressure to make changes by deadlines.

Insights from industry

Job openings in upcoming years will arise from a combination of new job growth and the need to replace retiring workers.

In the last decade B.C.'s film and television production activity has expanded rapidly due to a large pool of talented workers, a wide variety of shooting locations and extensive studio and post-production facilities. Currently, B.C. is the third-largest motion picture production centre in North America. This growth will create a strong demand for costume and set designers, which are primarily employed by film and television production companies.

Fashion design in B.C. has also grown as apparel companies focus local efforts on the design and marketing elements of their business, creating more opportunities for fashion designers and design assistants. Job responsibilities for fashion designers have expanded in recent years to include more research into the preferences of target customers, performance of past lines and the development of marketing materials.

Designers with experience in market research and the development of marketing materials are increasingly in demand by employers. As garment manufacturing shifts overseas, fashion designers are also increasingly required to travel to oversee production.

Designers use computer-assisted design and computer-assisted pattern-making software and these skills are now a prerequisite for employment by most companies, depending on the type of design work undertaken.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Many options are open to designers once they are employed in this group. Individuals often begin as design assistants before advancing to designer positions.

Progression to supervisory or head designer positions is possible with experience. Experienced designers may also choose to become self-employed.

Additional resources