How to Become an Art Director

How to Become an Art Director

Art is a form of creative expression, which has been in practice for hundreds of years and is still flourishing with ardour. An Art Director is someone who can manipulate the various forms of art and oversee it to make sure that all things proceed smoothly without any problems. He/she works with a group of people and tries to come up with a concept that can prove to be successful.

Art Director’s Work location:

Art Directors work in various circles like advertising, magazine publishing, books, etc.[1]:

Advertising: An art director in the advertising field works with copywriters to create images that go with ads. These art directors can specialize in ads placed in a newspaper, TV or web.

Book publishing houses: Art directors employed in book publishing houses involve in designing of books and design of book covers. Sometimes art directors also hire designers to create these covers or do it themselves.

Magazines: An Art director is one who makes sure that the magazines have a similar layout throughout the magazine. They also make sure that there is a particular concept to an edition of the magazine.

Tasks and Duties of an Art Director:

An Art director has a wide number of jobs, which may require technical skills and proper judgement. Some of their duties include[2]:

  • Working with copywriters to generate ideas for clients.
  • Working on designs and coming up with new concepts for advertising campaign.
  • Employing designers and specialists to make sure that design work gets done.
  • Completing work within a budget.
  • Editing and presenting the ideas to the client in a pleasing manner.

Qualifications needed to be an art director:

An art director may need to have graduated from the art schools with degrees in photography, graphic designs, drawing, or another art-related course of study. Graphic designing is typically a must for any art director of today. In addition, knowledge about working with computers and editing software like Photoshop is also preferred. Most art directors contain portfolios with samples of work, which they have carried out and will be helpful for them to land jobs. A good art director possesses creative skills and professional skills which are guaranteed to satisfy the customers1*.

Salaries and Job opportunities:

Art Director is a job which has varied job specifications and sometimes an art director must work on coming up with ads utilizing other’s skills. Several art directors find work in the media. Photo shoots, magazines, TV networks, book houses and many more are typically willing to employ art directors who are capable of bringing together all working requirements. Salary for an art director is averaged to be around $80,630 annually. This may vary depending on location, experience, employer, and so on[3].

An art director does not simply adopt what he reads in books. He/she explores the realms of unexplored ideas that can lead to a new and fresh concept. An open-minded art director with people skills who can creatively concoct ideas is the one who can effectively capture the attention of all[4].


Ready to pursue a career as an Art Director? Get matched to art schools in your area and online using our art school finder at the top of this page.