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Production Designer


Production Designer Job Description:Production Designers work mainly for the Film and Television Industry. Production design team is the one that ensures that the director’s vision is turned into a visual reality. They manage the art department and they are involved from pre-production to post-production stage, from estimating the budgets for art department to creating the sets to choosing the locations to making of video games and advertising. The director depends solely on the Production Designer and their team to create the look and feel of the film.

Production Designers usually work as freelancers and follow no set daily routines. This a very demanding career in terms of time and effort needed. But the creative aspect of the work is very appealing.

Education: Bachelor’s Degree focusing on film related fields such as ‘Fine Arts and Visual Arts’, ‘Graphic Design and Illustration”. ‘Interior Design’, ‘Theatre Design’, ‘3D Design’, or ‘Architecture’ etc. is very useful to become a Production Designer.



Production Designers should

·         Have an aptitude for great visuals and should be an expert in art and design techniques like drawing, photography, lighting etc.

·         Should be able to use latest software applications like design programs etc.

·         Should be able to estimate the budgets for sets and location preparation and other related tasks.

·         Should be excellent leaders and must have the ability to put together a creative team and manage the entire art work for a project with-in budget.


This is a fictitious calendar of a Production Designer  work schedule and is meant to give an idea of the different tasks that the professional performs and different people that the professional needs to coordinate with.

This DILO or the Work Scheduleof a Production Designer may differ from organization to organization and context.

Given below is a typical Day In The Life of a Production Designer.

Context DILO:

A production designer working on a large project that is in pre-production stage.

DILO, Day In The Life of:

8:00 AM -10:00 AM Research on the possible locations and props based on the script.
10:00 am -12 noon Preparing for the noon meeting. Sit with the senior members of the team and review the production plan.
12:00 noon – 2:00 pm Working lunch. Meeting with the director and producer to discuss the production plan and proposed locations and required sets and props.
02:00 PM-04:00 PM Draft estimate of the production budget.
04:0 PM-07:00 PM Meeting with the team and assigning the tasks. Discuss a few ideas about the design.
07:00 PM- 09:30 PM Working with the team and come up with a high level production design plan and schedule for set design and construction. Leave for home.

Career Ladder:

Exact career path, i.e. Production Designer career ladder, i.e. career progression may change from organization to organization.

Sample career ladder for Production Designer career path is given below.

Career Ladder Image:


Description For Certifications:

Links to Certifications or Credentials for Production Designer career path, that are usually offered by Professional Organizations that certify, can potentially help in climbing up the career ladder. A few Production Designer certifications are given below.

Professional Certifications or Credentials:

Certification Description Career Level Certifying Body
M.F.A in Production Design Masters in Fine Arts in Production Design Entry Level/Expert/Professional Chapman University
MA in Production Design Masters in Production Design Professional National Film and Television School

Description For Associations:

Links to Associations for Production Designer career, that can also be identified as Professional Organizations, can potentially help in networking with other professional in the field and to learn the latest developments in the field. A few Production Designer associations are given below.

Professional Associations or Organizations:

Association Description More Info
ADG Art Director’s Guild ADG
Design in India Design in India Design in India
CSD Chartered Society Of Designers CSD

Production Designer Tools:

Links to a few Tools/Techniques (Also called Career Management Tools or Career Tools) and Methods (Also called Career Method Tools or Techniques) that the professionals in that career path tend to use, like this:

Tool Purpose More info
Basic Tools like, pencils, Rulers, compasses, erasers, etc. These most basic tools are the best way for the production designer to explain in sketch his whole designs.
Visual Design Tools: Film, Photography, Sketches, etc. These kinds of tools are most helpful because they give the team the exact idea of what the story looks like. Like a picture can recall the exact location etc.
Verbal Tools: Metaphors, Descriptions, Calculations, Discussions etc. These help in creating an understanding of what an idea is among the entire Production Design Team. For example, discussions help the Production Designer gather more ideas and also help him put across his points.
Graphic Tools: • Computer Aided Design (CAD) •
Autodesk Inventor •
DSS SolidWorks •
Pro Engineer etc.

Production Designer Methods:

Links to a few Methods (Also called Career Method Tools or Techniques) and Tools/Techniques (Also called Career Management Tools or Career Tools) that the professionals in that career path tend to use, like this:

Method Description
Script Review Read through the script, understand the visual aspects of the story.
Research Conduct a thorough research to plan the sets, locations and other visual aspects that the script requires to plan the budget, schedule and the tasks.
Designing Create overall look and feel of the project using technical drawings, color schemes, lighting schemes, sets designs etc. Should be able to put together a team with the relevant skills accordingly.
Leading the team through execution Lead and manage the team to finalize the locations, put together the sets etc….

Production Designer Experts: