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Career profile Art Director

Also known as Art Director; Art Supervisor; Creative Director; Creative Guru; Design Director; Director of Creative Services, Consumer Products; Group Art Supervisor; Production Manager; Senior Art Director

Art Director

Also known as Art Director; Art Supervisor; Creative Director; Creative Guru; Design Director; Director of Creative Services, Consumer Products; Group Art Supervisor; Production Manager; Senior Art Director

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$54,530 - $199,250 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Judgment and Decision Making
Knowledge Areas
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Communications and Media
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Formulate basic layout design or presentation approach and specify material details, such as style and size of type, photographs, graphics, animation, video, and sound.
  • Manage own accounts and projects, working within budget and scheduling requirements.
  • Confer with creative, art, copywriting, or production department heads to discuss client requirements and presentation concepts and to coordinate creative activities.
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What does an Art Director do?

Art Directors formulate design concepts and presentation approaches for visual productions and media, such as print, broadcasting, video, and film.

In addition, Art Directors direct workers engaged in artwork or layout design.

What kind of tasks does an Art Director perform regularly?

Art Directors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Formulate basic layout design or presentation approach and specify material details, such as style and size of type, photographs, graphics, animation, video, and sound.
  • Manage own accounts and projects, working within budget and scheduling requirements.
  • Confer with creative, art, copywriting, or production department heads to discuss client requirements and presentation concepts and to coordinate creative activities.
  • Present final layouts to clients for approval.
  • Review and approve art materials, copy materials, and proofs of printed copy developed by staff members.
  • Work with creative directors to develop design solutions.
  • Create custom illustrations or other graphic elements.
  • Confer with clients to determine objectives, budget, background information, and presentation approaches, styles, and techniques.
  • Review illustrative material to determine if it conforms to standards and specifications.
  • Negotiate with printers and estimators to determine what services will be performed.
  • Attend photo shoots and printing sessions to ensure that the products needed are obtained.
  • Research current trends and new technology, such as printing production techniques, computer software, and design trends.
  • Hire, train, and direct staff members who develop design concepts into art layouts or who prepare layouts for printing.

The above responsibilities are specific to Art Directors. More generally, Art Directors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is an Art Director salary?

The median salary for an Art Director is $97,270, and the average salary is $114,490. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Art Director salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Art Directors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Art Directors earn less than $54,530 per year, 25% earn less than $71,610, 75% earn less than $136,310, and 90% earn less than $199,250.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Art Directors is expected to change by 11.1%, and there should be roughly 11,500 open positions for Art Directors every year.

Median annual salary
$97,270
Typical salary range
$54,530 - $199,250
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
11.1%

What personality traits are common among Art Directors?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Art Director are usually higher in their Artistic and Enterprising interests.

Art Directors typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Art Directors typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Art Director tend to value Independence, Achievement, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Art Directors very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Art Directors very strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Art Directors very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Art Directors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and adaptability/flexibility.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Art Directors, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

What education and training do Art Directors need?

Many Art Directors will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Art Directors usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Art Directors

  • 2.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 11.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 18.9% completed some college coursework
  • 8.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 43.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 13.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Art Directors

Art Directors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as sales and marketing, communications and media, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Art Directors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Important Abilities needed by Art Directors

Art Directors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Art Directors need abilities such as fluency of ideas, originality, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Art Directors, ranked by their relative importance.

Fluency of Ideas
The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Originality
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Art Directors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Art Directors frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and judgment and decision making to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Art Directors, ranked by their relative importance.

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

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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