Exhibit Designer, Split Rock Studios

Exhibit Designer, Split Rock Studios
August 24, 2021 Heather Olson
In Uncategorized

Position Description

The Exhibit Designer expresses the content, themes, and goals of the exhibition in 3D media.

Primary Objectives

Reporting to the Design Manager and working closely with the Developer, Graphic Designer, Project Manager, and clients, the Exhibit Designer helps create a seamless visitor experience that meets the client’s goals and objectives. Produce drawings that communicate design intent and describe how the exhibition is organized in a space — its shape, dimensions, materials, and general construction.

Areas of Responsibility and Specific Responsibilities

  • Conceptual Development
    • With the Developer, conduct a start-up meeting with the client and stakeholders to determine storylines, themes, and goals of the exhibition.
    • Create a bubble plan that places major exhibit areas on the floor plan, based on exhibit priorities and hierarchy.
    • With the Developer, brainstorm ideas, interactives, and best media to express exhibit topics and content, being cognizant of audience, goals, client, SRS build needs, and budget.
    • Create concept sketches or renderings of major exhibit areas or ideas, coded to the development documents.
    • Create a floor plan with an accurate footprint of exhibit areas, coded to the development documents.
    • Work with the Graphic Designer and Developer to develop a graphic approach to the exhibition.
    • Prototype interactives and participate in evaluation process, as needed (for major projects).
    • Start to develop a “look book” that expresses the visual approach to the exhibition (styles of illustration, murals, etc.). This may be an internal document that develops into the design development art reference package.
    • Ensure that the client is being heard and responded to regarding exhibit interpretation and design.
  • Design Development
    • Prepare elevation drawings of all exhibits, including size, material usage, and layout. These should be based on client feedback and reflect budget realities. The drawings may also include traffic flow, ADA requirements, or other details as required.
    • Refine a floor plan that shows all exhibits and location in the physical space.
    • Prepare materials, finish, and color samples.
    • Prepare a lighting and reflected ceiling plan, as required.
    • Prepare an electrical and data plan, as required.
    • Compile spec sheets for off-the-shelf components.
    • In conjunction with the Graphic Designer, create overview artifact layouts. Design specialty mounts or shelving as needed.
    • With the Developer, create a props list, with sources.
    • Create graphic elevations that show locations and sizes of all graphics.
    • With Developer, compile an art fabrication reference package, showing species, colors, styles, time of day, reference photos, and other details for all original artwork, illustrations, commissioned photographs, and specialty components.
  • Pre-Production
    • Present final design to Production team at Production hand-off meeting for CAD and fabrication.
    • Advise and respond to CAD design questions, as needed.
  • Fabrication and Close-Out
    • Compile final copy of Content Manual and appendices for archives and client.
    • Review AV and interactive submittals from subcontractors.

Other Requirements

  • Travel to site to present to clients throughout the design process
  • Comfortable facilitating and leading meetings with a variety of stakeholders
  • Occasional presentations at sales interviews or for prospective clients
  • Strong oral and visual communication skills, including conceptual sketching
  • Flexible team player with strong leadership skills
  • Big picture and detail oriented
  • Up to date on current design trends with the exhibition field
  • Ability to balance multiple projects simultaneously
  • Familiarity with various types of building systems including, but not limited to HVAC, plumbing, flooring, electrical, and low voltage
  • BS degree in design-related field
  • Proficient in Vectorworks or other 3D software, and Adobe Suite; preference for CAD software and digital interface experience

Please note: This is not a remote position, however Split Rock Studios is developing a hybrid Work From Home policy.

Compensation is commensurate with experience and salary history.

About the Company

Split Rock Studios specializes in creating natural and cultural history exhibits for museums, interpretive centers, aquariums, zoos, and political institutions. From coast to coast, our team of museum experts brings stories to life. Our clients trust and enjoy our design process because it’s collaborative, creative, and organized. From exhibit designers and project managers in our front office to artists and woodworkers in our shop, Split Rock Studios brings together the full range of museum exhibit design and fabrication services under one roof.

Of special note: Split Rock Studios is an employee-owned business known as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).

How to Apply

First, indicate your intent to apply to our retained search manager: heather@soladayolson.com. Please email your portfolio link or PDF samples*, cover letter**, resume, and salary requirement with the subject line “Your Name, Exhibit Designer > Split Rock Studios.”

*For portfolio samples, we’d like to see any exhibit design related to museums, state parks, zoos, natural history, or cultural institutions. The focus should be on 3D work that tells a story and is interpretive. 

**In your brief cover letter addressed to SRS President Isaiah Boehlert, answer three of these…

  • In the process of exhibit design, what is your favorite part or in which area are you most skilled?
  • What distinguishes your work in terms of your ideas or the outcomes?
  • Briefly share about your most successful exhibit design to date; what made it a standout?
  • How do you collaborate effectively with a team?

Our search manager will inform you if you’ve been selected to interview, and will outline the steps thereafter. The process typically involves a first virtual or in-person meeting with the Design Manager and President, and next with collaborators — a Developer, Project Manager, and Graphic Designer.

We look forward to hearing from you!