Career Development

What Does an Art Director Do?

Find out what an art director does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an art director.

Art directors are responsible for creating the visual look and feel of a product or service. They work closely with other members of a creative team to develop concepts, create layouts, and select colors, fonts, images, etc.

Art Director Job Duties

Art directors typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Ensuring that all creative work meets the client’s needs and complies with applicable laws
  • Managing a team of designers, art directors, copywriters, and other creatives to create effective advertising campaigns
  • Presenting concepts for campaigns to clients and managing the approval process for all materials
  • Reviewing client requests for revisions to artwork or copy, and making sure revisions are implemented by the designer or writer who created the material
  • Meeting with clients to discuss campaign goals and objectives and to solicit feedback on concepts
  • Reviewing competitor advertisements to identify trends in the industry and potential opportunities for new products or services
  • Managing design teams and overseeing the production of all design projects, including packaging, brochures, catalogs, and point-of-purchase displays
  • Managing the production process to ensure that deadlines are met, artwork is properly reproduced, and materials are delivered on time and within budget
  • Directing the work of art department staff to ensure that all artwork is completed on time and meets client requirements

Art Director Salary & Outlook

Art directors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of art directors is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Art directors will be needed to help advertising agencies and other types of businesses create and design advertisements, websites, and other forms of marketing material. In addition, more art directors will be needed to create visual displays for social media platforms and mobile devices.

Art Director Job Requirements

To become an art director, you may need to have the following:

Education: Art directors typically need a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, graphic design, advertising or another related field. Some art directors choose to pursue a master’s degree in fine arts or graphic design to further their education and increase their earning potential.

Training & Experience: Most art directors learn the specific skills and knowledge they need for their role while on the job. Training for this role often includes shadowing an experienced art director for a few weeks or months. During this time, they learn about the company’s workflow, how to communicate with clients and how to manage projects. They also learn about the software the company uses for design and for project management.

Certifications & Licenses: Art directors typically do not need a license or certification to get hired. If you do not have an art degree, however, or want to further your skills in a certain area, enroll in a graphic design certificate program through an online or a physical college.

Art Director Skills

Art directors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: Art directors use their creativity to develop ideas for projects and campaigns. They use their creativity to develop a visual style for a project and to create a cohesive brand image. Creativity is also important for generating ideas for new projects and campaigns.

Typography: Typography is the practice of arranging text to make it more readable and appealing. Art directors use typography to create attractive logos and marketing materials. They also use typography to create a consistent look for a company’s brand.

Graphic design: Art directors often use graphic design skills to create marketing campaigns and advertisements. They may also use graphic design skills to create logos, posters, social media graphics and other marketing materials. Art directors may also use graphic design skills to create the overall design of a company’s website or other digital marketing materials.

Communication: Art directors often communicate with clients, other designers and other team members. They use verbal and written communication skills to convey ideas and information. They also use communication skills to resolve conflicts and answer questions.

Leadership: Art directors often have to lead a team of other professionals, including graphic designers, copywriters and other artists. Having strong leadership skills can help you motivate your team and ensure that everyone is working together to create a successful project. You can also use your leadership skills to delegate tasks and motivate your team to complete their work on time.

Art Director Work Environment

Art directors work in a variety of settings, including advertising agencies, public relations firms, corporate marketing departments, and publishing companies. They usually work regular hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Art directors typically work closely with other members of the creative team, such as copywriters, graphic designers, and illustrators, to develop advertising campaigns, design print materials, and create websites. They also work with clients to determine their needs and objectives and present concepts to them for approval. Art directors must be able to effectively communicate their ideas to others and be able to work well under pressure to meet deadlines.

Art Director Trends

Here are three trends influencing how art directors work. Art directors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Creative Director

The role of the creative director is on the rise, as businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of good design. As a result, art directors will need to be able to not only create great designs, but also manage teams and communicate with clients.

Art directors who are able to effectively manage teams and communicate with clients will be in high demand, as they will be able to help businesses create beautiful and effective designs. In addition, art directors who are able to create great designs will be able to work with a variety of different types of media, such as print, web, and video.

More Collaboration Between Design and Marketing

As marketing becomes more visual, art directors will need to collaborate more with other members of the team. This includes copywriters, product managers, and even developers.

By collaborating with these other members of the team, art directors can ensure that their designs are aligned with the overall goals of the company. Additionally, this collaboration can lead to better products that are more visually appealing to customers.

A Greater Emphasis on User Experience (UX)

User experience has become an increasingly important factor for businesses looking to succeed in today’s marketplace. This is because users are now more likely to judge a product based on its user interface rather than its features or price.

As a result, art directors are now tasked with creating interfaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. They must be able to understand what makes a good user experience and how to create it.

How to Become an Art Director

A career as an art director can be incredibly rewarding. It offers the opportunity to work with a variety of creative professionals, from designers to copywriters and photographers. You’ll also have the chance to collaborate with clients on projects that will impact the way people see the world.

To become an art director, you’ll need to have a strong portfolio of your own work. This should include both graphic design and illustration pieces. You’ll also want to show examples of your branding and marketing work. Additionally, it’s important to demonstrate your ability to lead teams and manage projects.

Related: How to Write an Art Director Resume

Advancement Prospects

Art directors typically have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, graphic design, or a related field. Many have a master’s degree. They must be able to think creatively and have strong communication, problem-solving, and project management skills.

Art directors typically start out as graphic designers or assistant art directors and are promoted as they gain experience and demonstrate their abilities. Some art directors become creative directors, a position that often has more responsibility for the overall vision of an organization’s communication efforts. Others move into executive positions, such as chief creative officer or vice president of creative services. Some art directors freelance, working on a project basis for advertising agencies, design firms, corporate marketing departments, or other organizations.

Art Director Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced art director to join our team and help shape the visual identity of our brand. The ideal candidate will have a strong portfolio of work that demonstrates an ability to create concepts and execute designs that are on-brand, on-strategy, and on-trend. He or she will be a master of typography, layout, and color with a keen eye for detail. The art director will be responsible for leading and mentoring a team of designers, as well as working with other members of the creative team to develop concepts and execute designs for a variety of mediums, including print, web, and video.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the lead creative on assigned projects, providing art direction and design solutions that meet the needs of the client while adhering to company standards
  • Work with copywriters, photographers, illustrators, videographers, and other team members to develop concepts that are on strategy, on brand, and on budget
  • Present concepts to clients for approval, making revisions as needed based on feedback
  • Oversee production of all assigned projects from start to finish, ensuring quality control at every stage
  • Manage multiple projects simultaneously while meeting deadlines and maintaining a high level of quality
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, sharing knowledge with team members as appropriate
  • Mentor junior team members, providing guidance and feedback to help them grow their skillset
  • Serve as a resource for other departments when questions arise related to art direction or design
  • Proactively seek out new business opportunities, developing relationships with potential clients and participating in new business pitches as needed
  • Attend networking events and trade shows as needed to represent the company and build awareness of our brand
  • Collaborate with the marketing team to develop annual campaigns and other initiatives
  • Develop an understanding of the company’s overall business goals and objectives, and ensure that all projects align with these goals

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in graphic design, art, or similar discipline
  • 10+ years experience as a professional graphic designer or artist
  • Proven experience as an art director, with a strong portfolio of work
  • Exceptional creativity and innovative design skills
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Organizational and time-management skills for meeting deadlines in a fast-paced environment

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in graphic design, art, or similar discipline
  • 15+ years experience as a professional graphic designer or artist
  • Working knowledge of CSS3, HTML5, and JavaScript
  • Knowledge of WordPress and content management systems
  • Photography experience and proficiency with photo-editing software

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