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Become A Design Director

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Working As A Design Director

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $88,493

    Average Salary

What Does A Design Director Do

A Design Director is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s design projects and strategies. This position is usually found in the advertising, media, automotive, or entertainment industries.

How To Become A Design Director

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. 


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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Design Director jobs

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Real Design Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Product Design Director Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Sep 10, 2015 $250,000
Product Design Director Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Sep 12, 2015 $250,000
Product Design Director Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jul 15, 2016 $250,000
Design Director Converse, Inc. New York, NY Jan 04, 2016 $246,330
Design Director-Men's Footwear Cole Haan LLC Greenland, NH Aug 20, 2016 $240,000
Senior Design Director Lands' End, Inc. Dodgeville, WI Apr 27, 2016 $225,000
Director of Engineering, Physical Design Group Arm, Inc. Austin, TX Mar 16, 2015 $213,000
Director of Engineering, Physical Design Group Arm, Inc. Austin, TX Jan 10, 2015 $213,000
Director of Technical Design, Appearel Innovation Tory Burch New York, NY Nov 03, 2016 $200,000
Design Director-Ready To Wear Kate Spade LLC New York, NY Dec 30, 2016 $200,000
Director of Design, Men's Bottoms Levi Strauss & Co. San Francisco, CA Aug 22, 2016 $198,450
Design Director J. Crew Group, Inc. Islandia, NY Sep 26, 2016 $187,000
Design Director Dollar Shave Club, Inc. Marina del Rey, CA Jun 20, 2016 $185,000
Design Director Dollar Shave Club, Inc. CA Mar 02, 2015 $185,000
Experience Design Director Havas Worldwide New York Inc. New York, NY Jan 21, 2015 $159,245
CD Design DIR Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 21, 2016 $158,600 -
CD Design DIR Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 21, 2015 $155,500 -
Director, Design and Delivery Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc. Orlando, FL May 25, 2015 $155,000
Design Director Foursquare Labs Inc. New York, NY Aug 02, 2015 $155,000 -
Design Director Droga5, LLC New York, NY Jun 06, 2016 $155,000
Mens Apparel Design Director NIKE, Inc. Beaverton, OR Sep 30, 2015 $153,830
Design Director Makeable LLC New York, NY Aug 15, 2015 $150,000
Director of California Design Center Aavid Thermalloy, LLC San Jose, CA Sep 05, 2015 $123,053 -
Design Director Assembled Brands Partner Services LLC New York, NY Nov 30, 2015 $120,000 -
Director, Design Services-Americas Hyatt Corporation Chicago, IL Jan 03, 2016 $120,000
Design Director Toca Boca New York, NY Dec 10, 2015 $120,000
Design Director Meyer Davis Studio Inc. New York, NY Jun 22, 2015 $120,000
Design Director VF Outdoor, Inc. Alameda, CA Feb 16, 2015 $120,000
Interactive Design Director Area 17 Media, LLC New York, NY Sep 15, 2015 $120,000

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Top Skills for A Design Director


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Top Design Director Skills

  1. Design Staff
  2. New Product Development
  3. Concept Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Directed design staff by delegating responsibilities and providing guidance, coordination and feedback to designers to ensure achievement of goals.
  • Brainstormed regularly with Marketing on new product development.
  • Managed X person design team throughout design and concept development process.
  • Crafted storyboards, provided art direction, designed characters and sets.
  • Web Designer to Director in February 2010.

Top Design Director Employers

Design Director Videos

Extra Credits - So You Want To Be a Game Designer - Career Advice for Making Games

Ferrari Design Director Flavio Manzoni on LaFerrari Design

Career Advice - Interior Design