3 Tips for the Perfect Set Design

3 Tips for the Perfect Set Design

Attending a play is magical because of its unique ability to yank you into a new way of seeing the world, even if just for the night. Though the coronavirus stopped most large-scale events, that doesn’t stop writers, directors, and set designers from looking toward a future when people can safely get back to this magic.

Set designers, in particular, may be looking for ways to get better at their craft. For some valuable tips for the perfect set design, read on.

Know the Script Inside and Out

We can’t harp on this enough: internalize the story as much as you can before you turn to creating an aesthetic. A playwriter pursues a certain mood with their writing you can either replicate on stage or subvert for your own purposes. Consider, as one example, the characters. The better you understand their motivations and personality, the better you can fiddle with the lighting and sound to reflect their distinct personalities while on stage.

More practically, you need to know what happens on stage. If the play involves sailing, you need a creative way to mimic a voyage without hundreds of gallons of water on hand. On a finer level, you need structures that facilitate different actors’ postures while on stage.

Mind Every Audience Member’s Experience

As you attend to the stage, keep an eye on how each seat in the house will take in every scene. While some spots have better stage visibility than others, you shouldn’t inadvertently neglect a certain area by placing a structure in the way.

If you do notice a particular scene leaves a part of the house in the dark to some degree, adjust not only your set but also how your actors place themselves. Some movement on their end can help the situation immensely.

Design Rich Set Pieces

One final tip for the perfect set design is to incorporate well-crafted set pieces. Unless you’re going for a bare stage, put some labor into the fine details of structures (columns, arches, and more) that will live on stage the whole time. These give a strong impression as people trickle in and suggest a quality play before your cast even steps onto the stage.

To secure set pieces that are outside your ability to make, consider how to outsource a wood carving job to a professional. With computer-aided carving, they can create exactly what you need with ease and save you from sinking time into creating it yourself.

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