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Exhibition designer: Entry requirements

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Exhibition design is open to all graduates, but a degree in one of the following areas is particularly useful:

  • architecture;
  • fine art;
  • graphic design;
  • interior and spatial design;
  • multimedia;
  • theatre design.

The University of Lincoln runs a degree in design for exhibition and museums. Other degrees, such as spatial and interior design, include a significant element of exhibition design within individual modules. It is important to research the structure of degrees to know how much exhibition design will be included.

A postgraduate qualification is not essential but some exhibition designers, particularly in museum and heritage work, have one. Relevant Masters include interior and spatial design and museum and heritage exhibition design.

Find a postgraduate course in exhibition design.

Relevant courses focus on areas such as communication through spaces, involving 2D, 3D and time-based design in many combinations, as well as the hands-on production of models and artwork and training in specific computer design programs. These courses help to prepare you for work in the growing number of multi-disciplinary design consultancies, interior design and architectural modelling and visualisation.

Entry into this career without a degree is possible, but attitudes vary between employers. Some may favour a mix of the right skills and personality rather than academic qualifications. Others, however, may ask for specific degree qualifications and grades. Check with individual employers before applying.

Irrespective of the views of employers on qualifications and training, it is essential to have a design portfolio and some relevant work experience.

Some courses offer placement and live-project opportunities, which are a good way to build contacts and develop your portfolio. University or college design departments typically have strong links with the design industry and it is a good idea to take advantage of these networking opportunities during your course.

You will need to show evidence of the following:

  • strong design, drawing and artistic skills, including the ability to do perspective sketches;
  • creative, imaginative and lateral thinking;
  • effective communication skills for dealing and liaising with colleagues and clients through presentations, written bids and reports and also through designs;
  • an outgoing and positive personality;
  • excellent organisational skills;
  • the ability to work well as part of a team to achieve a good design solution, sometimes accepting that your own ideas will not be adopted by the whole team;
  • good commercial understanding;
  • ability to work with other specialists and an awareness of other people's particular knowledge;
  • knowledge of computer-based design programs, such as Quark Xpress, In Design and FreeHand;
  • ability to work well under pressure and sometimes to tight deadlines.

You can become a student member of the Chartered Society of Designers (CSD) , which offers professional recognition and training and networking opportunities. A two-week creative academy, which includes talks, workshops, briefs and live challenges to help prepare you for industry, is offered by D&AD .

Make speculative applications by calling employers, sending them your CV or even going in person to meet with them.

For more information, see work experience and internships and search postgraduate courses.

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Written by AGCAS editors
August 2015

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