Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design and direct others who develop artwork or layouts.Duties
Art directors typically do the following:
Art directors typically oversee the work of other designers and artists who produce images for television, film, live performances, advertisements, or video games. They determine the overall style in which a message is communicated visually to its audience. For each project, they articulate their vision to artists. The artists then create images, such as illustrations, graphics, photographs, or charts and graphs, or design stage and movie sets, according to the art director’s vision.
Art directors work with art and design staffs in advertising agencies, public relations firms, and book, magazine, or newspaper publishers to create designs and layouts. They also work with producers and directors of theater, television, or movie productions to oversee set designs. Their work requires them to understand the design elements of projects, inspire other creative workers, and keep projects on budget and on time. Sometimes they are responsible for developing budgets and timelines.
The following are some specifics of what art directors do in different industries:
In publishing, art directors typically oversee the page layout of catalogs, newspapers, or magazines. They also choose the cover art for books and periodicals. Often, this work includes publications for the Internet, so art directors oversee production of the websites used for publication.
In advertising and public relations, art directors ensure that their clients’ desired message and image are conveyed to consumers. Art directors are responsible for the overall visual aspects of an advertising or media campaign and coordinate the work of other artistic or design staff, such as graphic designers.
In movie production, art directors collaborate with directors to determine what sets will be needed for the film and what style or look the sets should have. They hire and supervise a staff of assistant art directors or set designers to complete designs.
Art directors need at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design subject and previous work experience. Depending on the industry, they may have worked as graphic designers, fine artists, editors, or photographers, or in another art or design occupation before becoming art directors.Education
Many art directors start out in another art-related occupation, such as fine artists or photographers. Work experience in art or design occupations develops an art director’s ability to visually communicate to a specific audience creatively and effectively. They gain the appropriate education for that occupation, usually by earning a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
To supplement their work experience in those occupations and show their ability to take on a more creative or a more managerial role, some complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Most art directors work 5 years or more in another occupation before becoming art directors. Depending upon the industry, they may work as graphic designers, fine artists, editors, photographers, or in another art or design occupation before becoming art directors.
For many artists, including art directors, developing a portfolio—a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities—is essential. Managers, clients, and others look at artists’ portfolios when they are deciding whether to hire an employee or contract for an art project.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Art directors must be able to listen to and speak with staff and clients to ensure that they understand employees’ ideas and clients’ desires for advertisements, publications, or movie sets.
Creativity. Art directors must be able to come up with interesting and innovative ideas to develop advertising campaigns, set designs, or layout options.
Leadership skills. Art directors must be able to organize, direct, and motivate other artists. They need to articulate their visions to artists and oversee the work as it progresses.
Resourcefulness. Art directors must be able to adapt their latest designs to the changing technology used in their industry.
Time-management skills. Balancing competing priorities and multiple projects while meeting strict deadlines is critical for art directors.
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As you move along in your career, you may start taking on more responsibilities or notice that you've taken on a leadership role. Using our career map, an art director can determine their career goals through the career progression. For example, they could start out with a role such as creative director, progress to a title such as creative director and then eventually end up with the title creative director.
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Art Director CV: Claire.Dehoet@Creativegroup.com
Art Director CV: Claire.Dehoet@Creativegroup.com
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Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Art Director. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.
Learn How To Write an Art Director Resume
At Zippia, we went through countless Art Director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.View Detailed Information
Hispanic or Latino
Cambridge, MA • Private
Durham, NC • Private
Philadelphia, PA • Private
Evanston, IL • Private
Pittsburgh, PA • Private
Los Angeles, CA • Private
Austin, TX • Public
Gainesville, FL • Public
Boston, MA • Private
New York, NY • Private
The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.7% of art directors listed graphic design on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and creativity are important as well.
Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an art director. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Oregon, and Utah. Art directors make the most in Washington with an average salary of $102,203. Whereas in California and Oregon, they would average $101,551 and $97,674, respectively. While art directors would only make an average of $89,153 in Utah, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.
We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ art directors and discovered their number of art director opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Ogilvy was the best, especially with an average salary of $74,826. J. Walter Thompson follows up with an average salary of $74,551, and then comes Leo Burnett with an average of $74,856. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an art director. The employers include Activision Blizzard, VaynerMedia, and 1871
Professor of Art, Covenant College
We encourage students to take a small business course, as most studio owners are small businesses. We also promote internships to determine the right fit.Show more