Being an art director: all you need to know
Graphic design, advertising, marketing, publishing, film and television, web design, and video games all have art directors, and there are a number of so-called soft skills and character traits that are essential to the role. Art directors from top studios share their top tips for how to become one.
An art director leads a team of designers working on a creative project, with varying degrees of responsibility and autonomy. Ben Brears, strategic design director at Robot Food, notes that agency models have become more fluid, and individual roles have become less defined.
What makes a good art director?
It’s not just about creative ability; you’ll also need the right temperament and personality for the job, according to Shaun Bowen, creative partner at B.
Top tips for becoming an art director
If you want to be successful in the world of professional sport, James Fenton, the founder of Blimp Creative, believes you have to abandon the concept of hierarchy.
01. Remember, it’s all about teamwork
Being able to create a beautiful illustration or piece of typography yourself is a wonderful skill set to have, but equally important is having the foresight to recognize when it’s not you or your team’s strength.
02. Put together a killer portfolio
See our post on how to curate a creative portfolio for more tips.
03. Don’t focus on hierarchy
An art director who sees themselves in a position of hierarchical authority is simply a glorified manager, according to Paul Fenton. An art director who sees themselves in a position of hierarchical authority is simply a glorified manager, says Paul Fenton.
04. Be confident with feedback
If you want to be an art director, you’ll need to be comfortable giving feedback. “You have to get past your own impostor syndrome,” Rob Brears says. Check out our guide to giving and receiving more from art critiques.
06. Gain knowledge of the job
“Stay on top of blogs and trend reports,” Theolin advises, “because you’ll have a role in shaping the direction of projects and pushing the creative in new directions.”
What qualifications do you need to be an art director?
Personal qualities and abilities
- Be extremely creative.
- have a thorough understanding of photography, typography, and printing techniques.
- have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
- work well in a team with a diverse group of people.
- have excellent computer skills in relevant art and design software packages.
Is an art director a good career?
Many creatives aspire to be art directors, and if you’re just starting out, you probably want to know what you need to do to get the top job. Art directors can be found in graphic design, advertising, marketing, publishing, film and television, web design, and video games.
How much money does an art director make?
In 2019, the median salary for art directors was $94,220, with the highest-paid 25% earning $130,330 and the lowest-paid 25% earning $69,110.
Are art directors in demand?
Since 2004, the overall job outlook for Art Director careers has been positive, with vacancies increasing by 10.53 percent nationwide, on average, at 1.76 percent per year. Demand for Art Directors is expected to increase, with 64,300 new jobs expected to be filled by 2018.
What skills do art directors need?
Art Director Qualifications and Skills:
- Graphic design skills.
- Developing creative standards.
- Proficiency with illustration tools.
- Desktop publishing skills.
- Project management.
- Graphic design skills.
Do art directors need to draw?
So, while art directors aren’t required to be able to draw, those who can will have a much easier time communicating than those who can’t.
Can you be an art director without a degree?
You don’t need a specific degree or experience, and it doesn’t boil down to seniority or even creative talent, as noted in the Creative Bloq article “How to Become a Creative Director.” (See Ref. 2) In most cases, you’ll start your career as a hands-on creative position like writer or designer.
How many years does it take to become an art director?
Before becoming an art director, most art directors have 5 or more years of experience in another occupation, such as graphic designers, fine artists, editors, photographers, or another art or design occupation, depending on the industry.
Is being an art director hard?
You must work hard to become one, which takes time, effort, perseverance, and, in many cases, a university degree. No doubt, attaining such a position requires a certain level of skill and years of experience, as you cannot enter the industry as an Art Director, but the rewards can be enormous.
What art careers make the most money?
The 9 Best-Paying Art Jobs
- #1 Art Director. Median Salary: $94,220.
- #2 Producer and Director. Median Salary: $74,420.
- #3 Landscape Architect. Median Salary: $69,360.
- #4 Video Editor. Median Salary: $63,780.
- #5 Graphic Designer. Median Salary: $52,110.
- #6 Drafter.
What career should I choose if I like art?
Jobs that are directly related to the arts
- Fine artist. Fine artists create one-of-a-kind works of art.
- Art gallery curator.
- Art therapist.
- Art teacher.
- Art lecturer, design lecturer, or art history lecturer at a university.
- Art technician/demonstrator at a university.
What exactly does an art director do?
An art director’s responsibilities include deciding which artistic elements to use, communicating the vision to their team, reviewing and approving copy, designs, and photography, developing budgets and timelines, and determining how to best represent the creative director’s concept.
How many hours do art directors work?
In a fast-paced office environment, art directors typically work more than 40 hours per week, and they frequently work under pressure (and on weekends) to meet strict deadlines.
What should I study to become a creative director?
According to the BLS, most creative directors have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, advertising, or communications, but courses in business, management, finance, computer science, and graphic design can also provide creative directors with technology, design, and other skills.
What is the difference between an art director and a creative director?
The scope of responsibilities differs between art direction and creative direction; an art director is solely concerned with aesthetics, whereas a creative director is responsible for strategy, campaign execution, art direction, and more.