Otherwise known as “set designers” or “exhibition designers”, scenic design companies transform physical spaces into immersive environments for the purpose of engaging an audience.
With a rare combination of technical skill and creative talent, the best scenic designers bring raw ideas to life as memorable storytelling experiences – but their expertise doesn't end there. The key to finding the right scenic designer lies in understanding the full range of solutions their services provide.
Who Can Benefit from Hiring a Scenic Design Company?
A few examples include:
- Retail management in charge of a store redesign
- Mall owners upgrading their interior design
- Ad agencies needing props for a television commercial
- Production companies in search of a movie backdrop
- Museum curators designing the perfect exhibit
- Entrepreneurs in need of trade show booth design
When is the Best Time to Hire a Scenic Design Company?
Scenic design companies can successfully take over a project at any stage – that’s their purpose – so not hiring one at the beginning does not mean that your project will fail.
However, finding a scenic design company early on affords ample time to assign decision makers, make contingency plans, and double check every design aspect before implementation for the smoothest experience possible.
What to Expect from Scenic Design Companies
There are five main benefits that the best scenic design companies can bring to your project or exhibit space:
1. Creative Energy
Scenic designers mix the analytical thinking of an engineer with the passion of an artist, meaning they can dream up the wildest ideas and then actually produce them as intended. This sounds like it could get expensive, but in reality, a good scenic design studio will find creative ways to save time and money with cost-effective ideas.
2. Cost Reductions
When it comes to designing a scenic exhibition, the simplest of mistakes can turn into costly errors, especially if set pieces are getting shipped back and forth to different locations. Getting everything right the first time saves a lot of money and hassle, but it’s a skill that takes years of experience to acquire.
Scenic designers are problem solvers who have seen it all before. From initial design schematics to final installation, they will be able to calculate all production and labor costs. They might have a suggestion for a material that is less expensive. Or, they might have a clever design change that calls for less of an expensive material. Nothing will go to waste under their watchful eye, and everything will be budgeted.
Like most scenic design projects, retail environments require creative, technical and logistical solutions.
3. Greater Utility
A scenic design studio will make sure every square inch of your space is utilized to the fullest extent. They create more value in very specific and nuanced ways. For example, if you can’t afford to have an entire space redesigned, they can focus on small improvements that will deliver the most impact.
Sometimes this could be a giant “super-graphic” design that’s printed and installed on a large feature wall. Other times, it could be a visual merchandising section with customized light-up pedestals or a sign with unique dimensions. In this respect, no design project is too small because a single element can greatly enhance the overall space.
4. Industry Connections
A scenic design company will have a variety of important insider connections needed to carry a project to completion. They can acquire special site permits and inspection approvals with ease. They can provide staff or security for events. They can even connect clients to specialty media and art producers to help promote their projects.
5. Consistent Quality
Letting a scenic designer handle the logistics of a project ensures a uniform standard of quality throughout. Surface finishes will never clash because two departments weren’t communicating. Design seams won't accidentally show because the model wasn't made to standard industry size. A trained eye and a single point of accountability will go a long way.
What to Look for in a Scenic Design Company
The scenic design industry is highly competitive. It takes more than creative skills to succeed. The best scenic design companies are also fabrication studios, meaning they can engineer and produce the same objects they design. Finding examples of name brand success is a great way to begin your search for a full-service scenic design and fabrication studio.
Computer numerical control (CNC) equipment has become standard for set design and fabrication because of its fast and precise results that cannot be replicated by hand. If your scenic design company does not have a CNC studio themselves, they will almost definitely outsource one – and may pass the additional expenses onto you.
A themed environment in a shopping mall can require substantial time to plan and execute.
Average Project Times for a Scenic Design Company
A medium-sized permanent storefront environment can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to design and build, and the same goes for multiple large temporary retail displays. Anything larger, like redesigning the interior of a shopping mall, for example, requires more resources, a more specialized skill set, and even more time.
When searching for a designer, always be clear about project deadlines from the start. You'll need to know if they can complete everything within a manageable period of time. Ask for examples of similarly sized projects whenever possible, too.
Bridgewater Studio: Scenic Design and CNC Fabrication
Bridgewater Studio is more than a scenic design company. We are a full-service scenic design and fabrication studio with 100% in-house capabilities and a proven six-step process that has streamlined success for global brands like Nike, Facebook, LinkedIn and many more.