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Exhibit Designer

Exhibit designers work with others to research, plan, design and oversee the fabrication and installation of exhibits and displays.

Also Known As

Designer, Display Designer, Exhibition Designer, Museum Display Artist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 5243.3: Exhibit Designers

2006 NOC-S

  • F143: Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers

2011 NOC

  • 5243: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers

2016 NOC

  • 5243: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers

2021 NOC

  • 53123: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers

2023 OaSIS

  • 53123.03: Exhibit designers
Updated May 18, 2021

Exhibit designers may design permanent, temporary, travelling or virtual displays or exhibits for museums, historic sites, galleries, science centres, interpretive centres, trade shows or parades. Exhibits may include:

  • 2- or 3-dimensional materials such as fine art, museum artifacts (for example, clothing, personal items, household objects, tools, machinery)
  • Natural history or archaeological specimens
  • Scientific models
  • Consumer goods or services

In historic buildings, exhibits may recreate period interiors. Virtual exhibits may be displayed in a physical location or posted on the internet.

When planning new displays or exhibits, the design team must consider:

  • The sponsoring organization’s objectives and resources
  • The main ideas to be conveyed and the most effective ways to present them (for example, signage, human interaction, audiovisual presentation)
  • The characteristics of typical viewers and their comfort requirements (for example, temperature, rest areas, literacy levels)
  • The requirements imposed by the space surrounding the exhibit
  • Traffic flow through the exhibit, to ensure adequate space between components and display cases
  • Necessary protections for display items (for example, security and conservation requirements)
  • The overall aesthetic presentation
  • Installation and mobility requirements
  • Mechanical requirements (for example, lighting and power cables)
  • Safety issues (for example, fire regulations, disabled access)
  • Evaluation criteria by which to measure the success of the exhibit

The design stages are essentially the same for any type of design project. In general, exhibit designers:

  • Gather information about proposed exhibit spaces, proposed themes and content, audiences, timelines and budget
  • Produce sketches and mock-ups of the proposed exhibit, as well as budget and timeframe estimates, and obtain approval for the design concept
  • Prepare designs, computer models or 3-dimensional models and detailed working drawings
  • Coordinate the work of the production team fabricating the exhibit and, when required, help with fabrication
  • Work with curatorial staff to oversee and assist with installation
  • Participate in exhibit evaluations

Exhibit designers often supervise staff, prepare contracts and oversee the work of contractors. They also may coordinate or participate in the design and production of related materials such as exhibit catalogues, signs, educational materials, advertisements, publicity notices, posters, brochures, online promotions or invitations to promotional events.

Working Conditions
Updated May 18, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Exhibit designers’ working conditions vary depending on the type of project. They usually work indoors in offices, studios, workshops or warehouses, but also may visit outdoor sites. Overtime may be required to finish projects on time.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Exhibit Designers

2006 NOC: 5243.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

Interest in synthesizing information to develop new ideas and esthetic and practical solutions to meet customers' requirements; and in planning and developing permanent and temporary or moveable exhibits and displays for museum exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, retail spaces and for other exhibitions


Interest in precision working with drafting equipment and computer-aided design (CAD) software to prepare final designs; and in submitting designs to supervisors and clients for approval


Interest in speaking to direct workers who are erecting displays, making working drawings and models of displays, and positioning spotlights, coloured lighting and other illumination; and in evaluating information regarding developments in materials and styles

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated May 18, 2021

Exhibit designers need:

  • Interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
  • Creativity and the ability to develop innovative designs
  • Analytical skills
  • The ability to plan and create 2- and 3-dimensional designs
  • The ability to deal with frequent interruptions
  • The ability to work with a team of people from a variety of backgrounds

They should enjoy synthesizing information and developing new ideas, taking a methodical approach to tasks requiring precision and directing the work of others.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers

2016 NOC: 5243

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 39 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Feb 02, 2022 and May 17, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Fashion designers design and create clothing and accessories for men, women and children
Tasks: Exhibit designers plan and develop permanent and temporary or moveable exhibits and displays for museum exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, retail spaces and other exhibitions
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Attention to detail
Construction Specialization: Team player
Tasks: Theatre designers design and create settings, scenic environments, properties, costumes and lighting for theatre, film and video productions, operas and ballets
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Dependability
Women's clothing
Construction Specialization: Initiative
Educational Requirements
Updated May 18, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

Individuals who do not have formal art and design training may be hired as assistant exhibit designers if they demonstrate a strong design ability and a willingness to learn. However, employers generally prefer to hire people who have post-secondary education in exhibit design or a related field such as industrial design, architecture, drafting, construction or interior design. Education or experience in fine art, graphic design, illustration, animation, web design, lighting, costuming or props is an asset.

For entry-level positions, some employers, such as the Royal Alberta Museum, require a 2-year diploma with 2 years of experience or a 4-year degree with relevant experience. Senior positions require project management skills such as budgeting and supervision.

Employers usually want to see a portfolio of work.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 18, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 18, 2021

Exhibit designers may be employed by or work on a contract basis for:

  • Art galleries, museums, historic sites, science centres, interpretive centres or zoos
  • Government departments responsible for parks, forestry, wildlife, culture, public affairs, museums or historic sites
  • Theatre or television productions
  • Architecture or design firms
  • International expositions and events
  • Trade shows, special events and conventions

Designers may advance to supervisory and management positions. Some designers establish their own companies.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 5243: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers occupational group, 81.9% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 5243: Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 2.1% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 13 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated May 18, 2021

Freelance designers usually negotiate each contract separately. Incomes may vary considerably from one designer to another, and from one year to another.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Communications
  • Education and Library Studies
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training

Updated Mar 31, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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