Visuals can first of all help tell stories, evoke particular emotions and furthermore inform, sell products and services. The art director job description contains the duties, skills, and qualifications necessary to create them.
With the prevalence of digital devices and technological design tools, the art director must often blend artistic talents with computer savviness. Depending on the particular visual platform, the art director job description also includes exposure to elements of business, entertainment, fine arts, and journalism.
Job Overview: What Does an Art Director Professional Do?
Art directors shepherd the layouts and visual style of digital presentations, print publications, television programs, plays, and movies. In addition to fulfilling these duties, these professionals summon their abilities to create, manage, plan and improvise when necessary.
Art Director Job Duties
- Develop a film’s, television program’s, publication’s or advertising campaign’s overall style or appearance.
- Discuss needs, proposals, and plans with clients.
- Decide the best visual representation of a concept or idea.
- Choose which design elements, such as photographs, art, appearance of text to employ in the representation.
- Oversee the design team, including designers of exhibits, sets, and graphics.
- Review, approve or direct revisions to the work product of the design team.
- Formulate budgets, schedules, and plans for completion of the project.
- Submit designs or representations to clients or other end-users for approval.
The job duties in the art director job description can vary by type of project or work setting. For example, art directors in movie, television or theatrical performances consult with directors and producers to learn the desired sets or staging. In the print and online media arena, art directors handle photographs, printed text, and other images.
Art Director Job Essential Skills
Creativity. Film and television directors, advertisers and publishers rely on art directors to propose and develop innovative and attention-grabbing presentations or layouts. Depending on the setting, creative skills may involve the ability to use three-dimensional objects and displays, colors, patterns and shapes. However, the art director may also need to consider angles for photographs and how to employ various media or design platforms.
Communication. Active listening is essential for art directors to comprehend the theme, image or message the client or other end-user wishes to convey. Therefore art directors need to ask questions, clearly convey and justify ideas and instruct design team members.
Leadership. Team members seek and receive guidance, vision, and answers to questions from art directors.
Resourcefulness. Art directors must adapt displays for new and technological platforms. Being resourceful also means creating images and displays from various objects, especially when others might not be available.
Time-Management. Art directors typically will have to manage multiple projects and meet various deadlines. O*NET’s survey reports that nearly 89 percent of art directors face time pressures “every day.” Time-management includes skills in scheduling and delegating particular tasks.
Becoming an Art Director Professional
The art director job description calls for applicants to acquire a college education in art-related fields and demonstrate designing talents. Generally, art directors start as members of design teams, set crews or publishing staffs, depending on the work setting.
Qualifications & Training
At a minimum, art directors normally hold a bachelor’s degree in art, fine arts or design. According to O*NET, approximately three out of four art directors have a bachelor’s degree. While some may pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree, O*NET reports that 17 percent hold master’s degree.
For aspiring art directors in business settings, coursework such as business and marketing can provide needed knowledge on these principles. Other classes include computer science, web design, art history, and theater.
Prospective art directors accumulate experience through occupations involving art or design. These positions usually include photographers, graphic designers, editors and fine artists. Photographers and artists may freelance and submit works for consideration and approval. Participating in or managing theatrical performances and programs held at schools, places of worship or community theaters also supplies experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, art directors on average work at least five years in art or design-related occupations before reaching the level of an art director.
Art directors, along with other professionals in graphic and art fields, must possess a portfolio of their work. So, with a collection of photographs or designs in tow, art directors can impress employers or clients.
Generally, art directors log full-time hours, however, due to deadlines work hours may go into evening time or on weekends. Those who oversee design crews for live theatrical performances often will work evenings and weekends. On live television crews, art directors carry out their duties depending on when the program airs.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a two-percent rise in the employment of art directors by 2024. This falls below the overall employment growth rate of seven percent, however, the prominence of the internet, social media, computer and mobile platforms have significantly reduced the use of newspapers, magazines and other print publications. To garner the best job prospects, art directors must have skills in designing on interactive digital platforms.
As of 2014, approximately 50 percent of art directors were self-employed. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for art directors is $101,900, as of May 2015. The top ten percent of earners made above $172,900.
According to PayScale, art directors may advance to positions such as senior art director, creative director, marketing director and vice-president and creative director.
Clients and employers rely on art directors to produce images and visuals that convey ideas, shape emotions and influence audiences and consumers. To accomplish these goals, art directors must, first of all, listen, plan, lead and finally, guide design team members.
Due to digital technology and mobile devices, job growth for art directors will lag behind employment sectors overall. However, demand for art directors may decline in print media but rise for art directors with digital and online skills.