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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Creative Director
Top Careers After Creative Director
Hispanic or Latino10.4%
Black or African American0.6%
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Savannah College of Art and Design9.9%
Fashion Institute of Technology9.2%
School of Visual Arts7.7%
New York University6.5%
Full Sail University5.5%
University of Texas at Austin4.9%
Art Center College of Design4.6%
Michigan State University4.0%
Columbia College Chicago4.0%
Virginia Commonwealth University3.7%
Florida State University3.7%
Art Institute of Pittsburgh3.6%
Academy of Art University3.5%
Rochester Institute of Technology3.5%
Parsons the New School for Design3.5%
University of Phoenix3.5%
University of California - Los Angeles3.4%
University of North Texas3.4%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Creative Director||Burleigh Point, Ltd.||Irvine, CA||Jan 15, 2016||$260,000|
|Creative Director||Grey Global Group, LLC||New York, NY||Mar 19, 2015||$260,000 -
|Creative Director||Wieden + Kennedy, Inc.||Portland, OR||Sep 06, 2015||$250,000|
|Creative Director||Surya Carpet Inc.||Calhoun, GA||Feb 16, 2015||$250,000|
|Creative Director||Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation||Watertown Town, MA||Feb 22, 2016||$250,000 -
|Creative Director||Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation||Watertown Town, MA||Apr 25, 2016||$250,000 -
|Cross-Funtional Creative Director||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Jan 09, 2015||$240,000 -
|Creative Director||BBDO USA, LLC||New York, NY||Jul 18, 2016||$240,000 -
|Director, Creative||Google, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jan 08, 2016||$240,000|
|Creative Director||Aesop USA, Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 13, 2016||$237,930|
|Creative Director||Google Inc.||New York, NY||Jul 09, 2016||$235,000|
|Creative Director||RDG Global, LLC||New York, NY||Jan 01, 2016||$223,300|
|Creative Director||The Howard Hughes Corporation||New York, NY||Jun 09, 2016||$223,226|
|Creative Director||The Howard Hughes Corporation||New York, NY||Feb 09, 2016||$223,226|
|Creative Director||Schawk Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 15, 2016||$147,700 -
|Creative Director||Natural Resources Defense Council||New York, NY||Sep 21, 2015||$145,000|
|Creative Director||Steven Meisel, Inc.||New York, NY||Feb 26, 2016||$145,000|
|Creative Strategy Director||Sundaysky, Inc.||New York, NY||Dec 23, 2015||$144,123 -
|Creative Director||Frost Lighting Inc.||NY||Nov 30, 2015||$142,500|
|Creative Director, Brand Management||Puma North America, Inc.||Boston, MA||Oct 24, 2016||$141,149 -
|Creative Director||VML, Inc.||Kansas City, MO||Oct 05, 2015||$140,000|
|Creative Director||Jwalk Holdings LLC||New York, NY||Mar 20, 2015||$140,000 -
|Creative Director||Liquor.Com Holdings Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 15, 2016||$95,000|
|Creative Director||Liquor.Com Holdings Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jan 10, 2016||$95,000|
|Creative Director||Friendmedia, Inc.||Pleasanton, CA||Jan 09, 2016||$95,000|
|Creative Director||Liquor.Com Holdings Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Aug 25, 2015||$95,000|
|Creative Director||DOTW, LLC||Santa Monica, CA||Oct 21, 2016||$94,765 -
|Creative Director||DOTW, LLC||Santa Monica, CA||Sep 21, 2016||$94,765 -
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