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Become A Senior Art Director

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Working As A Senior Art 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

  • $93,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Art Director Do

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: 

  • Determine how best to represent a concept visually
  • Determine which photographs, art, or other design elements to use
  • Develop the overall look or style of a publication, an advertising campaign, or a theater, television, or film set
  • Lead graphic designers, set and exhibit designers, or other design staff
  • Review and approve designs, artwork, photography, and graphics developed by other staff members 
  • Talk to clients to develop an artistic approach and style
  • Coordinate activities with other artistic and creative departments
  • Develop detailed budgets and timelines
  • Present designs to clients for approval

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.

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How To Become A Senior Art 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. 

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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Art Director 4.2 years
Creative Director 3.9 years
Art Supervisor 3.7 years
Top Careers Before Senior Art Director
Art Director 39.0%
Designer 4.5%
Internship 1.6%
Artist 1.0%
Top Careers After Senior Art Director
Art Director 14.0%
Owner 2.7%
Consultant 1.4%

Do you work as a Senior Art Director?

Senior Art Director Demographics

Gender

Male

59.9%

Female

32.0%

Unknown

8.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

8.1%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.7%

French

6.6%

Chinese

5.7%

Russian

4.7%

Mandarin

4.7%

German

3.8%

Italian

3.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Cantonese

1.9%

Korean

1.9%

Swedish

0.9%

Portuguese

0.9%

Serbian

0.9%

Norwegian

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Indonesian

0.9%

Armenian

0.9%
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Senior Art Director Education

Schools

School of Visual Arts

18.3%

Art Center College of Design

7.8%

Fashion Institute of Technology

6.8%

Syracuse University

6.5%

Pratt Institute-Main

6.1%

Savannah College of Art and Design

5.7%

Parsons the New School for Design

5.1%

College for Creative Studies

4.3%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

4.2%

Academy of Art University

3.9%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.8%

Portfolio Center

3.5%

Rhode Island School of Design

3.5%

University of North Texas

3.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.0%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

2.9%

University of Kansas

2.9%

Art Institute of Colorado

2.8%

New York University

2.8%

Columbus College of Art and Design

2.8%
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Majors

Graphic Design

47.1%

Fine Arts

13.8%

Design And Visual Communication

10.2%

Advertising

5.7%

Marketing

3.1%

Communication

2.4%

Photography

2.3%

Graphic Communications

1.9%

Theatre

1.9%

Computer Applications

1.9%

Business

1.5%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.2%

Public Relations

1.1%

Education

1.1%

Journalism

1.1%

Computer Information Systems

0.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.8%

Animation

0.8%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

0.7%

English

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

61.3%

Other

16.8%

Masters

9.1%

Associate

8.5%

Certificate

3.4%

Diploma

0.7%

Doctorate

0.1%

License

0.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$93,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$54,000
Min 10%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$93,000
Median 50%
$160,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Wieden+Kennedy
Highest Paying City
Redmond, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.9 years
How much does a Senior Art Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Art Director in the United States is $93,856 per year or $45 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $54,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $160,000.

Real Senior Art Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Art Director Ignite Health New York, NY Sep 04, 2013 $208,700
Senior Art Director Venables Bell & Partners LLC San Francisco, CA Sep 30, 2016 $200,000
Senior Art Director Big Spaceship LLC New York, NY Aug 03, 2015 $200,000
Senior Art Director Venables Bell & Partners LLC San Francisco, CA Jul 07, 2015 $175,000
Marcom SR Art Director Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 09, 2016 $175,000 -
$195,000
Senior Art Director, Facebook Brand Marketing Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Aug 25, 2014 $165,000
Senior Art Director Droga5, LLC New York, NY Oct 29, 2015 $160,000
Senior Art Director Droga5, LLC New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $160,000
Senior Art Director Droga, LLC New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $160,000
Senior Print Art Director David Yurman Enterprises, LLC New York, NY Dec 09, 2014 $159,245
Senior Art Director Playtika Holdings LLC Henderson, NV Sep 15, 2016 $151,200
Senior Art Director Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc. Henderson, NV Nov 18, 2016 $151,200
Senior Art Director S & P Yard, Inc. New York, NY Dec 15, 2015 $150,000
Senior Art Director 360I LLC New York, NY Aug 09, 2016 $123,050
Senior Art Director The Martin Agency Richmond, VA Sep 30, 2014 $121,000
Senior Art Director Anomaly Partners LLC New York, NY Apr 01, 2016 $120,000
Senior Art Director Laird and Partners New York LLC New York, NY Sep 16, 2013 $120,000
Senior Art Director TBWA Worldwide, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 15, 2013 $120,000
Senior Art Director Crispin Porter & Bogusky, LLC Santa Monica, CA Mar 25, 2013 $120,000
Senior Art Director Deutsch La, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 31, 2014 $120,000 -
$140,000
Senior Art Director Sephora USA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 23, 2015 $98,000 -
$138,000
Senior Art Director MUH-Tay-ZIK Hof-Fer San Francisco, CA Sep 05, 2015 $98,000
Senior Art Director Mullen Communications, Inc. Boston, MA Apr 27, 2015 $98,000
Senior Art Director Latinworks Marketing, LLC Austin, TX Aug 29, 2014 $96,300
Senior Art Director Conill Advertising, Inc. El Segundo, CA Sep 30, 2013 $95,000

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Top Skills for A Senior Art Director

  1. Photo Shoots
  2. Web Banners
  3. Creative Concepts
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Directed photographers with conceptual visions during photo shoots.
  • Developed the Harvard Business School brochure from concept to design and created digital ad, e-card and web banners.
  • Develop and prepare creative concepts internally and externally.
  • Assisted and mentored graphic designers by providing constructive feedback, technical direction and design modifications as necessary to ensure high-quality output.
  • Created digital photography library, consisting of over 100 models representing the spectrum of gender, age and race demographics.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Art Directors

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. New Mexico
  4. Georgia
  5. Oregon
  6. Utah
  7. Maine
  8. New Jersey
  9. New York
  10. Illinois
  • (492 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (277 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)

Top Senior Art Director Employers

Jobs From Top Senior Art Director Employers

Senior Art Director Videos

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