What Do Art Directors Do?
Art Directors are responsible for the overall style and vision of print products, productions or product packaging. They usually oversee the work of other artists and creators, and often focus on creating cohesive designs and themes for various media, although some direct workers do personally engage in layout design or artwork.The art director makes decisions about style that shape the overall tone and appearance of the project and how it interacts with and appeals to the targeted audience. The art director has the final say on which visual elements are utilized and what artistic style is deployed.As an art director, you would need to combine multiple visions into a creative and cohesive reality. A 3% annual growth is projected for this position across the United States, which will result in approximately 2,000 job openings each year.
Art Directors Skills and Abilities
Modern day art directors are expected to be very fluent not just in print, but also social media and the web. Communicating effectively through a variety of mediums and using innovative and effective techniques is important. Sales and marketing expertise is essential for promoting, displaying, and selling products.In addition, possessing a working knowledge of electronic equipment and software is helpful. Strong art directors are trained in the production of technical plans using the latest design techniques, tools, blueprints, and models.
Art Directors Duties
Creative thinkers who have the vision to design, create, and develop new things make great Art Directors. They must be proficient with a variety of software platforms and able to gather information from a variety of sources. Most art directors must establish and maintain strong relationship with others while overseeing a collaborative process. This takes a high level of organization, including long- and short-term planning and prioritizing projects.Some of the specific tasks associated with the position may include:
- Setting layout design or presentation style and specifying details
- Managing projects and accounts while working within a set budget
- Consulting with department heads to coordinate activities, creative directors to improve designs, and clients to set the desired course
- Reviewing materials developed by staff members and other illustrative materials
- Crafting graphic components
- Researching and incorporating the latest technology and design trends
- Editing and completing layouts and preparing materials for printing or typesetting
- Helping to design visuals for a variety of media
- Arranging storyboards for television production
- Supervising other staff members who are developing or preparing layouts
- Presenting final layouts to clients
Art Directors Tools and Technology
Art directors work frequently on computers, but also need creative tools such as cameras, charcoal, sketching pencils, and other art supplies. Some of the programs used in the industry include multiple Adobe Systems products such as After Effects, Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and ImageReady. In addition, professionals in this field use programs such as InDesign, Quark software, social media software, WordPress, and development software such as Dynamic hypertext markup language DHTML, AJAX, Cascading Style Sheets CSS, Apache Software Foundation Flex, or Drupal. You might also need to employ analytical software for tracking budgets and project details.
Education and Training for Art Directors
The majority of art directors need to obtain a bachelor’s degree before pursuing a career as an art director. Most relevant positions require about five years of experience. To prepare for this career, it would be helpful to take college courses in digital arts, graphic design, and multimedia.
Art Directors Salary
You have the potential to take home a decent paycheck in this field. The median salary for art directors is $85,600. The lowest 10% in the industry make about $45,100, and the top 10% of art directors can make in excess of $168,000 annually.
Art Directors Jobs by Geography
Six states have an above-average wage for art directors: New York, California, Washington, Washington D.C., Missouri and Massachusetts. Around 15% of art directors work for public relation and advertising firms, but other opportunities exist at magazine and newspaper publishers, movie and video industries, and design services companies across the country.