Set Design – How to Make a Wonderful Set Design?

Set design corresponds to all the elements used to create the spectator experience in theater, film or television shows. Set design (also known as scenography, scenic design, stage design or production design) is composed using volumes, objects, textures and lights. Therefore, creating a set design is not something easy as there are many things are to be considered relatively to the expected spectator experience.

Set Design – History

Set Design – Theatre of ancient Greece

Roman Theater reduced 300x225 Set Design How to Make a Wonderful Set Design?

Make a Set Design

Set Design in theatre of ancient Greece was very complex as the theater where actors where performing has a huge influence over their performance. In fact, theaters were specially designed to offer a very good acoustics. Greeks were making a great use of masks and costumes. They were also using different mechanisms such as the deus ex machina which gave the impression of a flying actor, platforms to lift actors on stage or pictures used to create a scenario.

Set Design – Theatre of ancient Rome

Costumes are adapted not only to their roles but also to the type of drama. In tragedies, actors representing gods or heroes are wearing gorgeous costumes, of a wealth proportional to the quality of the characters they represent. Wigs and makeup symbolize the age and the nature of the character. Romans upgrade Greek technics to bring down gods from the sky or raise ghosts from dead’s. As the tae wall is mobile, the décor varies a lot from one representation to another. Moreover, it is used to demonstrate the generosity of the show donatory and produce illusion.

Set Design – Renaissance

Set design during the renaissance is characterized by overloaded canvas. Painters are hired to create the illusion. However, it is used only to situate the action.

Set Design – Naturalism

Within naturalism, which was a movement centered on trying to replicate human nature, set design was oriented to reproduce the most accurately the true place where the drama was taking place, including home furniture.

How to Make a Set Design – Main Elements to Consider

First of all, you have to study the play. Where does the action take place? Are movements of scenery needed? How many scenes are they? How long are the scenes? Keep the most complex scenes to the longs ones and benefits from inspiring scene changes.


Lights are a very important part of set design. Use them to enhance action and actors. They can be used to reduce the work to be performed for the set design by focusing spectator attention on the details you want.


Costumes can be very difficult to chose. Don’t hesitate to look for sales as mostcostumes are used only a few times.


The design of the stage shall be adapted to the theater itself. Don’t overbuild. You might use foam, as it is cheap, easy to cut, paintable. Moreover, it is easy to manipulate for scenes mouvements.

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