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Art Director

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What Does it Take to Be an Art Director?

Example of Art Director Job Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media, such as print, broadcasting, and advertising. Direct workers engaged in art work or layout design.

Daily Life Of an Art Director

  • Attend photo shoots and printing sessions to ensure that the products needed are obtained.
  • Work with creative directors to develop design solutions.
  • Prepare detailed storyboards showing sequence and timing of story development for television production.
  • Formulate basic layout design or presentation approach and specify material details, such as style and size of type, photographs, graphics, animation, video, and sound.
  • Negotiate with printers and estimators to determine what services will be performed.
  • Mark up, paste, and complete layouts and write typography instructions to prepare materials for typesetting or printing.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as an Art Director?

Art Directors state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Types of Art Director

  • Interactive Art Director
  • Artistic Director
  • Designer
  • Director of Operations and Creative Services
  • Associate Creative Director ACD Art Director

Are There Job Opportunities for Art Directors?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 90,300 jobs in the United States for Art Director. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 5.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,900 new jobs for Art Director by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,700 positions for Art Director per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Art Directors in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Art Director are Washington, Utah, and Oregon. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Vermont, or West Virginia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Art Director Salary

Art Directors make between $52,160 and $172,570 a year.

Salary Ranges for Art Directors

Art Directors who work in California, New York, or New Mexico, make the highest salaries.

How much do Art Directors make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $82,670
Alaska $91,510
Arizona $74,270
Arkansas $67,030
California $127,630
Colorado $92,440
Connecticut $96,780
Delaware $99,760
District of Columbia $78,270
Florida $78,840
Georgia $111,500
Hawaii $75,120
Idaho $69,230
Illinois $99,800
Indiana $82,720
Iowa $75,110
Kansas $82,340
Kentucky $75,540
Louisiana $68,040
Maine $93,590
Maryland $74,850
Massachusetts $97,810
Michigan $87,330
Minnesota $95,300
Mississippi $58,350
Missouri $91,090
Nebraska $90,350
Nevada $77,830
New Hampshire $92,080
New Jersey $104,820
New Mexico $100,030
New York $124,710
North Carolina $96,680
North Dakota $76,520
Ohio $82,630
Oklahoma $68,420
Oregon $108,830
Pennsylvania $98,410
Rhode Island $83,690
South Carolina $81,410
Tennessee $78,320
Texas $81,170
Utah $103,570
Vermont $86,740
Virginia $91,770
Washington $106,260
West Virginia $89,760
Wisconsin $78,920

Tools & Technologies Used by Art Directors

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Art Directors may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • jQuery
  • Data visualization software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
  • Facebook
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign
  • PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver
  • WordPress
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Flash
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Apple macOS

Becoming an Art Director

What education is needed to be an Art Director?

Art Director Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Art Director Work Experience

Where Art Directors Are Employed

Art Director Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Art Directors employed by various industries.

Art Director Industries


Image Credit: Szilas in the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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