5 Important Steps to Set Design

The launch of a new product is an exciting time. Getting THE perfect image during a photoshoot or take during filming can be consuming and stressful. There’s so many things to consider in creating an ideal set – things such as lighting, colours, background, props, angles, perspective and mood.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the 5 steps of set design and provide you with some practical tips to help you create the ideal set design to showcase your product. With careful planning, a vision, the right tools and support you will be able to create the perfect set design every time!

1. Create a Mood Board

Now that your product has come to life you’ll need to consider how you want to bring it to market. You’ve done your research on the demographics of who wants your product so delve into that a little more and create a mood board for the photo shoot.

What feelings do you want to evoke through photography? What colours and backdrops do you want to use? Some simple ways to do this are to look for inspiration in magazines, social media, websites and even art galleries. These ideas will help you generate ideas and create a mood board to assist you in identifying the style, mood and feel that you want for the set design.

2. Conceptualise Your Set

Now that you’ve created a visual idea of the set design you can begin to bring it to life. Start picking out the elements of your set design including the type of background and colours you’re going to use. What props do you need to make your product the hero? What materials can you use that align with your brand and the product? What colours will complement or completely contrast your product? What mood or feelings do you want to evoke?

Once you have a clearer idea, make contact with your stylist, photographer, prop designer and discuss with them your vision and how they can help you bring it to life, as well as what materials and props you may need. You will want to work with a professional set builder or someone who has experience in the industry that can provide you with some advice, reliability and efficiency.

3. KISS Principle

You know the saying, keep it simple stupid! Sometimes we overlook the simplicity of a set design and try to add more and more which will add unnecessary clutter to your visuals. The simpler the set design, the more the focus will be on your product.

Props such as plinths or boxes made from MDF or plywood can be a great addition to your set design. These are visually attractive and allow the set to remain flexible with the design. They are easy to move around and give you the opportunity to have a different ‘look’ for each product you’re shooting. Best of all these can be repurposed or repainted for future activations and a great way to save costs if you’re on a budget.

Remember to keep it simple and let your product be the hero.

4. Ready, Set, Go

Once you have all your materials on hand and your set design has been put together you will need to brief any models and your photographer with your vision and what you want to achieve. Allow them to help you get the most out of what you have created.

If you’re looking to create a specific mood consider the lighting and the props you have on hand. Use different camera angles, lenses and dimensions to really change or brighten the images for a polished result.

5. Be Flexible and Change It Up

Now that the photoshoot is underway and you’re happy with the set configuration think about how you can change things around to create a different look. You can do this easily by moving, adding or removing props. Reposition furniture and walls and experiment with a different background or colour. Get your model into a different position or a completely new outfit. It’s often during these minor changes that the perfect images are achieved. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what works best for you and your products.

Below are some sample images from set designs we have helped create. We hope this guide has been helpful and sets you up for set design success!

Fashion Shoot Set:

For a creative agency, our client requested a custom-made set, designed to have movable parts, so that they could be rearranged into alternative configurations. The set brief was very specific, for timber boards to be routed with different size holes and an individual colour finish for each unit.

Federation Square Set:

For this project our producer/director client was filming an international ad for a new Kia vehicle. One of the aspects for the ad was a set design consisting of 2.4mH x 6mL, ‘L’-shaped backdrop for an artist to create a perspective painting of a Kia car.

Our crew was involved in creating the separate parts offsite, the timber framework, including support braces, and undercoated canvas, then bringing it all to Federation Square and assembling it according to the timeframe of the film schedule.

About Kist Displays

Kist Displays is a family owned and operated business based in Melbourne, Victoria. We are incredibly passionate and proud of our products and craftsmanship that are commissioned by leading Australian brands.

Our quality custom displays and simple, modern and stylish plinths have helped thousands of businesses maximise the impact of their products and improve the aesthetic of their displays and events. Enquire today, email us at info@kistdisplays.com.au