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Prop Designer: Types, Role, Responsibilities & Pay

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Seeking out jobs you like matters as you decide to establish a career.

Some people choose to become doctors, others want to work as teachers, and some want to be prop designers.

You have tons of opportunities when it comes to potential career paths.

What Is a Prop Designer?

A prop designer is a person who creates different props for others.

These props exist as items to serve as a source of entertainment.

Prop designers received their name because they focus on developing, creating, and maintaining props for businesses.

Usually, the person in charge asks them to design specific props, so they put in the effort to help the entire company.

What Does a Prop Designer Do?

A prop designer puts most of the effort into the design portion of props.

They think of potential designs and see what they can create to meet the needs of the show or business.

A prop designer, also called a prop maker, usually designs the props.

However, they sometimes work alongside other designers depending on the project size.

Prop Designer Job Description

A prop designer has multiple responsibilities while working at a location:

  • Making a list of needed props
  • Buying, creating and storing props
  • Working with leaders and crew
  • Preparing props before a performance
  • Meeting deadlines

A prop designer has to work in a fast pace environment and make changes or adjustments.

Top Prop Designer Jobs and Careers

You can try the following jobs and careers to see what works for your style.

  • Stage Productions: Prop designers will work on stage productions to help with props and the background.
  • Movies: Prop designers will offer similar help but with props for a movie instead of a stageplay.
  • Escape Rooms: People need interactive props to use during escape rooms so that they can solve puzzles. You usually work alongside a puzzle designer to create these props.

Where Can a Prop Designer Work?

A prop designer can work in most environments where the business needs different props.

Usually, they work in creative fields to match the vision of the show, game, or movie.

Is Being a Prop Designer Hard?

Working as a prop designer will have its challenges.

Since you must design ideal props and communicate with multiple people, you’ll have to work hard and remain focused throughout the process.

You can’t just throw together a prop and expect it to work.

Is a Prop Designer Job Stressful?

Prop designers usually have deadlines they must meet.

For example, a film set and an escape room can’t start without the props ready, so you’ll have to get them done by a specific time.

The stress can add up depending on your deadline and how many revisions you must make.

Common Prop Designer Work Day

You should consider the points below to get an idea of what a work day looks like for a prop designer.

Prop Designer Tasks and Duties

Prop designers have multiple tasks and duties to address throughout their work weeks.

  • Communicate with leaders about props
  • Buying and creating props
  • Maintaining the props
  • Staying in budget

In short, they ensure all the props work correctly and make fixes to them as necessary.

Prop Designer Work Hours and Schedule

Every project has its own work hours.

Usually, you’ll put in more than 40 hours while creating the props.

You may work about 40 hours while maintaining the props and having some downtime between projects.

Prop Designer Dress Code

The dress code depends on the set.

You can usually wear a shirt and jeans while creating props, but you may need to dress nicely for special occasions.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

Some weeks will keep you busy for many hours while you have a few weeks of downtime between projects.

Do Prop Designers Make Good Money?

Since you work on high-quality productions as a prop designer, you’ll make more money than people expect.

Some people view prop design as lower-value work, but shows need solid designers to succeed.

As such, they’ll pay good money when you reach higher-level projects.

How Much Do Prop Designers Make?

A prop designer averages about 42,000 dollars a year.

Some people make around 26,000 a year, while others can make as much as 76,000 a year.

So you may have to start on the lower end and gain experience before making money.

The career path will reward you with an above-average income if you stick with it and work.

You may start with a below-average amount, but you can make solid money as you gain experience.

Prop Designer Field: Career Progression

Usually, prop designers will start by working under someone with more experience.

That person will provide direction and help them with the project so that they can seek higher positions later.

Is a Prop Designer a Good Career?

Since theaters, movies, and escape rooms will always hold their niche, the position works as a promising career.

You can seek freelance work if you prefer or go for a salary if you want consistent work.

Prop Designer Job Outlook

Entertainment has been at an all-time high.

People constantly look for new films, tv shows, plays, and escape rooms to enjoy, so you’ll always find more opportunities.

The demand for prop designers continues to grow as more companies want to bring their creations to life.

Prop Designer Facts

  • The movie industry keeps growing
  • You have multiple career paths such as movies, tv shows, plays, etc.
  • Prop designers can work remotely. Check career sites for more information.

Jobs Related to Prop Designer

You can have other job opportunities that let you branch out and seek more jobs beyond prop designers.

  • Escape Room Artist: Escape room artists can design the rooms, puzzles, and anything else the business needs.
  • Costume Designer: Costume designers handle the same work as prop designers, except they focus on the costumes.
  • Creative Director: A creative director brings all the creative teams together and gets them to work together.

Who Should Consider a Prop Designer Career Path?

Prop designers work best for extroverts and creative people who bring art to life and communicate.

The role doesn’t work well for people who don’t enjoy art or working with others.

Is It Hard to Become a Prop Designer?

It’s easy if you want to do it as a hobby.

However, it isn’t easy if you want to turn it into a career since it’ll take time and effort.

What Do I Need to Become a Prop Designer?

As you seek out a career, you must understand the requirements to get involved with the industry.

The details will include skills, experience, and education.

Requirements for Becoming a Prop Designer

The requirements to become a prop designer vary based on the job.

It depends on the scope of the work, but you should get experience and a bachelor’s degree if you plan to make it a career.

What Skills Does a Prop Designer Need?

A prop designer needs to focus on a few essential skills to succeed.

  • Communicating with leadership and employees
  • Maintaining and realizing an artistic vision
  • Remaining organized with the props

What Education Does a Prop Designer Need?

You won’t need an education for basic prop design.

You can also secure smaller jobs as an undergraduate.

However, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree if you want to turn it into a career.

What Experience Does a Prop Designer Need?

You’ll want experience in the field, so seek opportunities for internships and similar situations.

Prop Designer Education and Schooling

Alongside experience, you’ll want to look into education and courses.

Doing so will help you plan and prepare for your career.

What Is Taught in a Prop Designer Course?

A prop designer course usually focuses on how to make props, identify what you need, and communicate with others.

Some will also offer hands-on experience with experts to show future designers the ropes.

How Long Does a Prop Designer Course Take?

The length varies based on the course itself.

Some may only take a few weeks, while others will take multiple months to finish, so research the courses.

Prop Designer Education Options and Degree Programs

While prop designer courses matter, you’ll naturally wonder about education options.

You can quickly seek bachelor’s degrees in art, film, design, and similar avenues.

In addition, some prop designers will minor in engineering to help them with the building aspect.

While you don’t need a master’s degree for prop designing, getting one could boost your salary.

Schools for Prop Designers

You’ll want to focus on the best art schools.

Such schools include The University of California- Los Angeles, Yale, Virginia Commonwealth University, and similar options.

Steps to Become a Prop Designer

To become a prop designer, you can start by getting some school experience or internships.

Look into productions run by your college or high school.

You can work with the film or theater students to see what props they need you to make.

You can look into internship programs even if you graduated or currently attend college.

Doing so will build your resume to secure better jobs in the future.

Current Career Job Openings

If you feel confident enough to apply for jobs, you can try some of these job openings.

They show you what you should know and how to get into the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have a few questions you want answered, so check these frequently asked questions.

They’ll give you some insight into the job and help you understand props.

What are the different types of props?

Most props fall into different categories: used props, visual props, and stage props.

Used props need to be grabbed or used by people.

Visual props add to the experience.

Finally, stage props are part of the background, but actors interact with them.

What is prop art?

Prop art involves creating different props while keeping the visual style in mind.

For example, instead of making a background tree, you add style and color to it to make it stand out.

Prop art varies depending on what the play, movie, or situation needs.

Wrapping Up

A prop designer remains a solid career path for people interested in art, design, and creation.

You can research the subject and determine if you want to get involved.

Make sure you consider the potential jobs, income, and how you must prepare.

You can decide if you want to become one as you understand prop designers and what they do.

Make sure you determine what works best for you to enjoy your career while identifying one you feel comfortable pursuing.

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