An art director collaborates with the design and art staff for books, public relations firms, advertising agencies, or newspaper publishers. Art directors create designs and layouts that embody the organization and send the message they want the audience to get. They work with producers and directors of theatres, television, and movie productions to oversee set designs. Being an art director also includes critiquing people's work, working to reach deadlines while still following the budget allocated for a certain project, and (on occasion) disciplining designers who are slacking off on the job.

Designer/Art Director Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real designer/art director resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Create and manage a high-performing creative team for an internet base marketing and advertising company.
  • Design, implement, and manage online marketing programs focusing on building awareness and customer acquisition.
  • Provide art direction and layer Photoshop artwork to website builders.
  • Edit and maintain the film festival s web site content and design, utilizing HTML and CSS coding.
  • Create point-of-purchase displays/ merchandising programs, free-standing inserts, corporate and brand identities, brochures, packaging, and marketing collateral.
  • Work with start-ups to expand their individual markets through logo and identity programs to poster design and other collateral materials
  • Design and code website using CSS and integrate database content from external sources.
  • Assist two art directors in layouts, some design, photo sizing and Photoshop work.
  • Create line sheets for buyers in multiple formats such as PowerPoint presentations and print catalogs.
  • Lead creative on interactive pharmaceutical presentations and HTML emails working with developers, animators, and programmers.
Designer/Art Director Traits
Leadership skills directly correlate with a person's ability to lead others toward success or an accomplishment.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Creativity involves thinking about a task or problem in an entirely new or different light.

Designer/Art Director Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a designer/art director is "should I become a designer/art director?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, designer/art director careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "little or no change" at 1% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a designer/art director by 2028 is 900.

A designer/art director annual salary averages $70,393, which breaks down to $33.84 an hour. However, designer/art directors can earn anywhere from upwards of $40,000 to $122,000 a year. This means that the top-earning designer/art directors make $82,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a designer/art director. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a senior graphic designer, graphic design manager, lead graphic designer, and web graphic designer.

Designer/Art Director Jobs You Might Like

Designer/Art Director Resume Examples

Designer/Art Director Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 12% of Designer/Art Directors are proficient in Graphic Design, Creative Concepts, and Company Website. They’re also known for soft skills such as Leadership skills, Communication skills, and Creativity.

We break down the percentage of Designer/Art Directors that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Graphic Design, 12%

    Collaborated and managed a team of graphic designers to enhance brand identity and continuity.

  • Creative Concepts, 9%

    Executed creative concepts and visual design for interactive media presentations.

  • Company Website, 8%

    Redesigned company website and branding.

  • Photography, 7%

    Assigned and supervised photography, illustrations and designs for editorial layouts and magazine advertisements.

  • Production Artists, 7%

    Teamed with staff writers, and assigned work to photographers, illustrators and production artists.

  • Layout, 6%

    Developed an advanced understanding of fundamental disciplines and principles of color, composition, layout and typography.

"graphic design," "creative concepts," and "company website" aren't the only skills we found designer/art directors list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of designer/art director responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Leadership skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a designer/art director to have. According to a designer/art director resume, "art directors must be able to organize, direct, and motivate other artists" designer/art directors are able to use leadership skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "provided art direction and leadership to junior designers, scoped design phases of projects accurately and efficiently. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform designer/art director duties is the following: communication skills. According to a designer/art director resume, "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." Check out this example of how designer/art directors use communication skills: "lead in design, development and implementation of graphic, layout and production for communication materials while maintaining overall brand consistency. "
  • Designer/art directors are also known for creativity, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a designer/art director resume: "art directors must be able to come up with interesting and innovative ideas to develop advertising campaigns, set designs, or layout options." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "started as photographer and quickly became the main photographer and layout designer due to a creative eye. "
  • In order for certain designer/art director responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "time-management skills." According to a designer/art director resume, "balancing competing priorities and multiple projects while meeting strict deadlines is critical for art directors." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "provide proposal layout and design for corporate contracts under extremely tight deadlines. "
  • See the full list of designer/art director skills.

    We've found that 74.4% of designer/art directors have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 6.1% earned their master's degrees before becoming a designer/art director. While it's true that most designer/art directors have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every eight designer/art directors did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those designer/art directors who do attend college, typically earn either a graphic design degree or a fine arts degree. Less commonly earned degrees for designer/art directors include a design and visual communication degree or a photography degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a designer/art director. We've found that most designer/art director resumes include experience from Apple, Intuit, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Of recent, Apple had 2 positions open for designer/art directors. Meanwhile, there are 2 job openings at Intuit and 2 at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    Since salary is important to some designer/art directors, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Bloomingdale's, Apple, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. If you were to take a closer look at Bloomingdale's, you'd find that the average designer/art director salary is $122,718. Then at Apple, designer/art directors receive an average salary of $122,518, while the salary at JPMorgan Chase & Co. is $121,976.

    View more details on designer/art director salaries across the United States.

    The industries that designer/art directors fulfill the most roles in are the media and retail industries. But the highest designer/art director annual salary is in the retail industry, averaging $102,780. In the technology industry they make $96,664 and average about $94,588 in the media industry. In conclusion, designer/art directors who work in the retail industry earn a 21.2% higher salary than designer/art directors in the professional industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious designer/art directors are:

      What Senior Graphic Designers Do

      A senior graphic designer oversees all of the designing operations in a company, from conceptualization to production. One of their primary responsibilities is to ensure that all designs produced are according to a client's preference and brand. They also encourage fresh ideas from the team, communicate with clients or representatives, and manage the schedules to meet all deadlines. Furthermore, as a senior graphic designer, they are responsible for leading and mentoring a team of graphic designers, all in the joint effort to reach project goals.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take senior graphic designer for example. On average, the senior graphic designers annual salary is $5,277 lower than what designer/art directors make on average every year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between designer/art directors and senior graphic designers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like graphic design, creative concepts, and company website.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a designer/art director responsibilities require skills like "production artists," "product design," "design projects," and "multimedia." Meanwhile a typical senior graphic designer has skills in areas such as "project management," "design solutions," "indesign," and "internal clients." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Senior graphic designers receive the highest salaries in the retail industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $80,126. But designer/art directors are paid more in the retail industry with an average salary of $102,780.

      The education levels that senior graphic designers earn is a bit different than that of designer/art directors. In particular, senior graphic designers are 3.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a designer/art director. Additionally, they're 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Graphic Design Manager?

      A graphic design manager is primarily in charge of leading and overseeing the efforts of a graphic design team, ensuring adherence to goals and deadlines. It is their duty to learn and analyze the purpose of design, coordinate staff, liaise with internal and external parties, set goals and objectives, manage schedules, and conceptualize plans. Furthermore, as a graphic design manager, it is essential to lead and encourage teams to reach goals while implementing the company's policies and regulations, including its vision and mission.

      Now we're going to look at the graphic design manager profession. On average, graphic design managers earn a $12,409 lower salary than designer/art directors a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Designer/art directors and graphic design managers both include similar skills like "graphic design," "creative concepts," and "company website" on their resumes.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real designer/art director resumes. While designer/art director responsibilities can utilize skills like "production artists," "product design," "user interface," and "content marketing," some graphic design managers use skills like "project management," "customer service," "graphics department," and "posters."

      It's been discovered that graphic design managers earn lower salaries compared to designer/art directors, but we wanted to find out where graphic design managers earned the most pay. The answer? The manufacturing industry. The average salary in the industry is $65,787. Additionally, designer/art directors earn the highest paychecks in the retail with an average salary of $102,780.

      In general, graphic design managers study at lower levels of education than designer/art directors. They're 5.8% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Lead Graphic Designer Compares

      A lead graphic designer is responsible for creating, designing, and updating the company's visual aspects. The lead graphic designer works closely with the branding department alongside the advertising and marketing team. It is essential for the lead graphic designer must be creative, willing to think outside the box, and brave to dare novel ideas. The lead graphic designer is also responsible for leading the creative department in accomplishing assigned tasks from management.

      The lead graphic designer profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of designer/art directors. The difference in salaries is lead graphic designers making $2,384 lower than designer/art directors.

      By looking over several designer/art directors and lead graphic designers resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "graphic design," "creative concepts," and "company website." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from designer/art directors resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "production artists," "content marketing," "style guides," and "design projects." But a lead graphic designer might have skills like "project management," "graphics department," "indesign," and "design solutions."

      Additionally, lead graphic designers earn a higher salary in the retail industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $80,406. Additionally, designer/art directors earn an average salary of $102,780 in the retail industry.

      Lead graphic designers are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to designer/art directors. Additionally, they're 5.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Web Graphic Designer

      A web graphic designer specializes in the aesthetics and functionality of a web platform, software, and other applications. They are primarily responsible for building a platform that adheres to the subject's purpose and the client's preferred theme while prioritizing an easy-to-use and navigate interface. They must conduct regular testing and maintenance on the platform to ensure its efficiency and significance to the brand involved. Furthermore, a web graphic designer may work independently or work for a company, usually within a team setting.

      Now, we'll look at web graphic designers, who generally average a lower pay when compared to designer/art directors annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $24,931 per year.

      According to resumes from both designer/art directors and web graphic designers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "graphic design," "company website," and "photography. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "creative concepts," "production artists," "product design," and "design concepts" are skills that have shown up on designer/art directors resumes. Additionally, web graphic designer uses skills like online, html5, php, and indesign on their resumes.

      In general, web graphic designers make a higher salary in the retail industry with an average of $56,915. The highest designer/art director annual salary stems from the retail industry.

      Web graphic designers reach similar levels of education when compared to designer/art directors. The difference is that they're 3.6% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.