Similar Titles

Art Coordinator, Art Department Head, Art Supervisor, Artistic Director, Arts Administrator, Arts Manager, Creative Director, Creative Guru

Job Description

Art directors oversee the creation of visual material for advertisements, print publications, product packaging, film productions and other outlets. They may look over specific elements, such as design concepts, original or stock artwork, layouts and the stylistic components of written materials. Art directors also oversee the work of staff members, such as writer, designers, or artists. They may also create budgets and deadlines, collaborate with other departments like copywriting or production and communicate with clients over the course of a project.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Gives artists creative freedom and ability to work with designs
  • Provides independence to people who like to work on their own and make decisions
  • Great for those who love working indoors
  • High salary
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities
  • Determine how best to represent a concept visually
  • Decide 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
  • Manage 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
  • Come up with detailed budgets and timelines
  • Present designs to clients for approval
Skills Needed
  • Excellent aesthetic judgment
  • Strong leadership skills to oversee the work of other artists
  • Creativity and superb communication to develop products that meet clients' needs
  • Ability to prioritize work and manage deadlines
Different Types of Organizations
  • Self-employed
  • Advertising company, marketing firm, or related service
  • Newspaper, periodical, book, or directory publishers
  • Motion picture / video operation
  • Specialized design services
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Not many opportunities to solve problems mentally, which can be difficult for certain personality types
  • Hard career to get into - a considerable amount of work related skill, knowledge, and experience is required, which will take up a large chunk of time and effort
  • Long hours- expect to work more than 40 hours per week, especially during a project deadline
Current Industry Trends
  • Surreal scenes
  • Travel photography
  • Ultra-Violet over Millennial Pink
  • Transparency in fashion
  • Mixed metals within the home
  • Continued speech recognition and progress on AI-based creative tools
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Arts and crafts
  • Playing indoors
  • Leading get togethers / playtime activities
  • Standing out in art classes
Employment Security
  • Employment of art directors is projected to grow in the next decade as they will continue to be needed to oversee the work of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and others engaged in artwork or layout design
  • Employment of art directors is projected to decline in the publishing industry over the next decade as traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms; rather than focusing on the print layout of images and text, art directors for newspapers and magazines will increasingly design for web and mobile platforms
2016 Employment
2026 Projected Employment
Education and Training Needed
  • Need at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design subject and previous work experience
  • Depending on industry may have worked as graphic designer, fine artist, editor, or photographer, or in another art or design occupation for at least five years before becoming art director
  • Beneficial to complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree to supplement work experience and show ability to take on a more creative or managerial role
  • 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

Employers are looking for candidates that are proficient in:

  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat (document management software)
  • Adobe Systems Adobe AfterEffects (Video creation and editing software)
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver (Web page creation and editing software)
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Director (Video creation and editing software)
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks (Graphics or photo imaging software)
Things to do during high school/college

High School

  • Sign up for art class to develop an eye for color and design
  • Test the waters and build skills in electives like website design, graphic arts, commercial art, and photography; if these are unavailable at your school, check out a local two-year college
  • Develop strong writing and speaking skills in English and speech classes; communicating ideas clearly is a must


  • Develop portfolio
  • Join art and design related clubs
  • Take courses in related fields to gain a broad spectrum of knowledge
  • Take a public speaking course as well as writing courses
  • Seek out leadership roles
  • Build sense of confidence and independence by constantly stepping outside your comfort zone to gain more skills and experience
  • Complete art and design related internship
Typical Roadmap
Graphic Designer Gladeo Roadmap
How to land your 1st job
  • Keep LinkedIn and other job profiles up-to-date
  • Keep portfolio updated and include in application process
  • Make connections at internships and within university program
  • Gain experience as a graphic designer, fine artist, editor, or photographer, or in another art or design occupation for at least five years - maintain good references
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and continue developing skills, especially within Adobe Acrobat programs
What it really takes to make it and succeed
  • Desire to brainstorm ideas
  • Passion for pop culture, or at least desire to tune into it
  • Team managing skills
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines
  • Patience to deal with difficult clients


Jobs by
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Owl Guru, Interview

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