become an art director

What does a Art Director do?

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An art director creates the overall design, images, and visual style for newspapers, magazines, television and movie productions and product packaging. They also direct others who develop layouts, artwork, or other design elements. Watch a video to learn what an art director does:

How to Become an Art Director

A bachelor’s degree in art or design subject is normally required to become an art director. In addition, work experience in a similar field is often preferred. Similar fields include photography, the graphic arts, editing, or fine artists. Work experience of five or more years is usually necessary along with a portfolio of their collective demonstration of their abilities, style, and talent. Employers look for candidates that have good communication and leadership, creativity, time management, and resourcefulness.

Job Description of an Art Director

become an art director

Although usually self-employed, an art director must collaborate with other designers and work in fast-paced work environments that includes strict deadlines. They typically have to decide how to represent a concept visually and determine which art, photographs, or design elements to use. They manage graphic, set, and exhibit designers and develop the style of an advertising campaign, film set, or publication.

An art director also approves the photography, artwork, and graphic designs of other staff members or vendors. They must also communicate with other departments. These directors may have the responsibility of developing the budgets and timelines for each project and present the creative storyboard to clients or their organization for approval.

Art Director Career Video Transcript

Art directors interpret their employer’s or a client’s vision to create the visual style of print publications, movie, and television productions. They ensure their staff of artists understand the overall design of a project as they create illustrations, graphics, and stage sets to translate the vision into artwork and layouts.

Art directors manage projects, keeping them on time and within budget. They oversee the layout of catalogs, newspapers, and magazines, and choose cover art for books. Artists working under art directors create graphics, charts, and illustrations. Directors also oversee the visual aspects of website and video game development. Art directors work with producers and directors of theater, television, and movie productions to develop the concept for set designs, and then oversee the production of set elements.

While many art directors are self-employed, all art directors collaborate with a team of designers and artists. The work is fast-paced, and they are often under pressure to meet deadlines. Art directors need at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design subject and five or more years of previous work experience, many start out as graphic designers, fine artists, or photographers. To apply for positions, art directors must develop a portfolio that illustrates the quality and range of their work.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Art Directors.

National Center for O*NET Development. 27-1011.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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