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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:
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.
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 Senior Art Director
Top Careers After Senior Art Director
Hispanic or Latino10.4%
Black or African American0.6%
Senior Art Director
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School of Visual Arts15.7%
Savannah College of Art and Design8.4%
Art Center College of Design7.2%
Fashion Institute of Technology7.0%
Art Institute of Pittsburgh5.4%
Rochester Institute of Technology4.2%
Rhode Island School of Design3.8%
University of North Texas3.6%
Parsons the New School for Design3.6%
Art Institute of Colorado3.4%
Virginia Commonwealth University3.4%
College for Creative Studies3.2%
Columbia College Chicago3.2%
University of Kansas3.2%
Columbus College of Art and Design2.8%
Iowa State University2.8%
Massachusetts College of Art and Design2.6%
Senior Art Director
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|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 -
|Senior Technical Art Director||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Apr 05, 2016||$164,151|
|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 Art Director||Droga5, LLC||New York, NY||Oct 29, 2015||$160,000|
|Senior Technical Art Director||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Aug 19, 2015||$157,051|
|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||Razorfish, LLC||New York, NY||Sep 01, 2015||$125,000 -
|Senior Art Director||Laird and Partners New York LLC||New York, NY||Mar 09, 2015||$125,000|
|Senior Art Director||360I LLC||New York, NY||Aug 09, 2016||$123,050|
|Senior Art Diector||Anomaly Partners LLC||New York, NY||Oct 20, 2015||$120,000|
|Senior Art Director||Caesars Interactive Entertainment||Las Vegas, NV||Jan 02, 2016||$120,000|
|Senior Art Director||Argonaut, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Apr 02, 2016||$120,000|
|Senior Art Director||Anomaly Partners LLC||New York, NY||Apr 01, 2016||$120,000|
|Senior Art Director||Bond Creative LLC||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 29, 2016||$120,000|
|Senior Art Director||Ravenshield Studios Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 15, 2016||$104,000|
|Senior Art Director||Onestop Internet Inc.||East Rancho Dominguez, CA||Jan 10, 2016||$102,000|
|Senior Art Director||Valtech Solutions Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 06, 2016||$100,800|
|SR Art Director||Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners||New York, NY||Apr 03, 2016||$100,000|
|Senior Art Director||Publicis Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 06, 2016||$100,000|
|Senior Art Director||Rokkan Media, LLC||New York, NY||Feb 09, 2016||$100,000|
|Senior Art Director||The Barbarian Group LLC||New York, NY||Sep 04, 2015||$100,000|
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