Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER PATHS / JAN. 22, 2015
version 4, draft 4

How to Become an Exhibition Designer in the UK

asian girl working with firend

Exhibition designers work with organisations and individuals to create display designs based on their clients’ ideas and requirements. They also provide their own ideas as to how to promote products the best possible way using a combination of props, graphics, lighting and sound. In essence, designers should be able to create exhibitions that work on several fronts and have aesthetic appeal, be practical, communicate their clients’ ideas and meet the limitations imposed by space and budget.

What Do Exhibition Designers Do

Exhibition Designers perform the following duties:

  • Liaising with clients to discuss themes, ideas and products to be promoted.
  • Discussing ideas and design concepts with the design team, finalising proposals.
  • Creating initial design sketches, computer-generated visuals and models.
  • Developing an understanding of the client’s brand, products, needs and objectives.
  • Attending meetings to discuss the status of current projects.
  • Liaising with the workshop manager to ensure project is within budget and meets client’s requirements.
  • Meeting and briefing suppliers.
  • Transporting displays to exhibition sites and installing displays.

Work Environment

Exhibition Designers usually work from 9am to 5pm (30 to 40 hours per week) but may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines when multiple projects are under way. Even though their work is mainly based on a studio or an office, they might need to travel a lot and sometimes visit their clients’ exhibition sites.


The annual average salary exhibition designers get is:


Starting Salary


£16,000 to 19,000


Experienced Designers Salary


£20,000 to 30,000

Salary Source:nationalcareersservice

Entry Requirements

In order to become an exhibition designer, you will need to be qualified at HND or degree level in the following subjects:

  • Spatial Design
  • Interior Design
  • 3D Design
  • Graphic Design

It might be possible to get into exhibition design through Events Management depending on the modules offered for the particular course. Alternatively you could start as a junior design assistant and work your way up to becoming an exhibition designer. This means that you will need:

  • A level diploma or a qualification in Art and Design.
  • Experience of using computer-aided design (CAD) software packages.

Also, if you are searching for a course or a job you need to put together a portfolio of your work to showcase your design skills.

Important Skills

To be a competent exhibition designer you need:

  • Excellent design and artistic skills.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines.
  • Experience with design software.
  • Creativity and model making skills.
  • Team working ability.
  • Project management skills.

Career Development

Career progression largely depends on whether you are self-employed or not as well as on the nature and size of your employer. This means that if you work for a medium-sized company you might start as a junior or a design assistant and work your way up becoming a team leader, senior designer, creative director or even a design manager. In a larger organisation, you may be responsible for tendering for new work and finding new customers.

Moreover, you are more likely to have more opportunities to work as an Exhibition designer if you have:

  • Architectural training.
  • A technical background.
  • Specialist knowledge and experience in areas beyond pure design.

Also, just by looking at the job outlook and into the future of design, acquiring versatile 2D and 3D design skills is essential so it might be a good idea to specialise in these two subjects.   

Job Opportunities

The employers of exhibition designers are:

  • Independent teams of exhibition design practice.
  • Design departments of museums.
  • Large retailers.

If you are interested in becoming an exhibition designer, you should join the Chartered Society of Designers to get the advice you need, and learn more about training and networking opportunities.  

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