Art Director Career

art-director-500Art directors are the stylistic backbone for advertisements, publications, theater or film productions, and even video games. They must coordinate a particular aesthetic that compliments the marketing or creative vision of their client. This involves developing and presenting designs, curating the artwork or visual productions of a design team, and managing the project’s budget and time restrictions.

Though some art directors work for public relations firms, advertising agencies, or publishers, about half are self-employed. If you have an eye for visual layout and design conceptualization along with strong leadership and time management skills, then this is the ideal position for you.

Art Director Career Snapshot

The most common work environment for art directors is advertising agencies or public relation firms (Mad Men, anyone?), as well as print and digital publishers, video production companies and theater. However, in 2012 it was recorded that 57% of the approximately 75,000 working in this field were self-employed.

Further details on a career as an Art Director are listed below (statistics from May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for art directors per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 17% have a Master’s degree.

Art Director Education

Most art directors hold a Bachelor of Arts or Fine Arts in programs such as graphic design, theater production, photography, or film, though work experience in an arts-related occupation is often critical, whether that be copy editing, set design, illustration, or other similar positions. You’ll also need to put together a stellar portfolio highlighting your artistic strengths and creative insight.

Art Director Job Duties

The main duty of art directors is to visually represent a company or firm’s ideas and decide which layout tools and artistic approaches will best capture this vision. Along with developing an idiosyncratic style, art directors must manage a team of artists, editors and designers, communicate with other creative departments, and develop a time schedule and budget plan for the project.

Art Director Salaries

The median pay for art directors is $89,760, with the lowest 10% averaging at $47,320 and the highest 10% at $172,900 (2015). This also depends on what industry you’re working in. For example, an art director in the film or television industry makes $106,630 on average, while the figure for those in print publication is slightly less, sitting at approximately $75,480.

Art Director Job Outlook

In 2014, art director jobs were projected to grow 2% in the next 10 years, which is lower than the average growth among all occupations. These positions will be particularly scarce in the print industry, though with the growth of electronic magazines and online blogs, new opportunities for art directors are expected to arise as digital media expands.

Art Director Career

Art Director Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Art Directors:Typical Work Activities:
•Active Listening
•Time Management
•Judgment and Decision Making
•Complex Problem Solving
•Fluency of Ideas
•Near Vision
•Oral Comprehension
•Oral Expression
•Charcoal pencils
•Desktop computers
•Digital video cameras
•Laptop computers
•Creative thinking
•Working with computers
•Getting information
•Building interpersonal relationships

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