The Freelance Art Director helps to turn artistic vision into cinematic reality in a film or video project. They are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions-working hand in hand with the production designer to show its visual identity.

Typically, you need to possess a bachelor's degree in an art or design majors such as fine art, visual communications, or digital media to become a freelance art director. However, it will be best to have several years of work experience in graphic design, photography, illustration, and direction.

The graduates who gravitate in this field end up laying claim to annual earnings at $58,250. The current median pay for a Freelance Art Director ranges from $42,550 to $74,515 in the U.S. However, this figure can vary significantly depending upon your experience and skills.

What Does a Freelance Art Director Do

There are certain skills that many freelance art directors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, creativity and leadership skills.

How To Become a Freelance Art Director

If you're interested in becoming a freelance art director, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 78.9% of freelance art directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.0% of freelance art directors have master's degrees. Even though most freelance art directors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Freelance Art Director

Freelance Art Director Career Paths

Top Careers Before Freelance Art Director

Top Careers After Freelance Art Director

Average Salary for a Freelance Art Director

Freelance Art Directors in America make an average salary of $85,453 per year or $41 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $142,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $51,000 per year.
Average Freelance Art Director Salary
$85,453 Yearly
$41.08 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


Freelance Art Director Education

Freelance Art Director Majors

14.9 %

Freelance Art Director Degrees


78.9 %


10.4 %


7.0 %

Top Colleges for Freelance Art Directors

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Freelance Art Director

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, 19.0% of freelance art directors listed photography on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and creativity are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Freelance Art Director Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Freelance Art Director templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Freelance Art Director resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Freelance Art Director Demographics

Freelance Art Director Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among freelance art directors, 40.9% of them are women, while 59.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among freelance art directors is White, which makes up 73.5% of all freelance art directors.

  • The most common foreign language among freelance art directors is Spanish at 39.1%.

Online Courses For Freelance Art Director That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Photoshop and Photography Digital Art Compositing Course

Learn Adobe Photoshop CC and photography by designing levitation digital art composites from four photoshoots...

Graphic Design MasterClass- Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign

Graphic design for beginners including Graphic Design Theories, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, CC & Creative Thinking...

Graphic Design Mastery: The FULL Branding & Design Process

Follows the FULL Graphic Design Process for A Company: Logo, Ad, Social Media, T-Shirt, Package, Website Design & More!...

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Top Freelance Art Director Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ freelance art directors and discovered their number of freelance art director opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Leo Burnett Worldwide was the best, especially with an average salary of $115,532. Doner follows up with an average salary of $100,363, and then comes Deutsch with an average of $111,410. 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 a freelance art director. The employers include The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, and Iron Mountain

Most Common Employers For Freelance Art Director

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1The Walt Disney Company$161,820$77.805
3Condé Nast$135,925$65.354
6Leo Burnett$115,532$55.547
7New York Film Academy$111,489$53.604
8Deutsch LA$111,410$53.565
10New York & Company$106,769$51.334

Freelance Art Director Videos