So you want to be an art director? It’s a great career choice. But what does it take to make it there? What kind of education and experience do you need? And what kind of person makes the best art directors?
This blog post will answer those questions and more so that you can start planning your journey to becoming an art director. Let’s get started!
1. What is an Art Director?
Before we can discuss becoming an art director, we need to know what one is. An art director is a person who provides creative direction for a company or client on a variety of design-related projects such as magazine spreads, catalogs, website designs, and multimedia presentations. They coordinate with photographers, illustrators, and designers to develop the look and feel of a project.
Art directors typically work in advertising, marketing, publishing, and media industries, where they oversee the artistic development of all projects produced by their company or client. An art director must have strong leadership skills and motivate employees to deliver superior-quality materials that meet the needs of clients and customers.
2. What Does an Art Director do?
An Art Director is responsible for creating the look and feel of a company’s product. They are usually in charge of developing advertisements, websites, or other forms of marketing materials used to promote the product(s). It is the job of an art director to make sure these promotional pieces meet the high standards set by their company while also convincing a consumer to purchase a product.
An art director will work closely with other company members, including web developers and graphic designers, and outside sources such as marketing companies, to ensure that the promotional material they produce is consistent with previous advertisements or materials produced by their company. They may also be responsible for working with licensing companies to ensure that the promotional materials are within legal licensing standards.
Art directors will meet with clients, marketing departments, and their team members to discuss projects they are working on and brainstorm ideas for future projects. They may also be responsible for overseeing any other artists or designers working under them to make sure both employees produce high-quality work promptly.
3. How to Become an Art Director?
An art director typically has a bachelor‘s degree in graphic design or fine arts, although this is not always the case. An essential qualification for an art director is experience. If you are still in college or have just graduated, your opportunities are limited because it takes time to build up contacts within the industry who will hire you after they see your work. If you cannot get an entry-level job right out of college, there are other options, including working as a freelance designer or even trying your hand at becoming an illustrator.
Art directors typically have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field, such as advertising. Although it is not required, it is helpful to have a master’s degree in design. If you are interested, take some time to research the best art director degrees or graphic design degrees for your goals. You should also consider internships and co-op programs that provide you with on-the-job experience.
To become an art director, you will need to get your work in front of the right people. If you are still in college or grad school, join professional organizations to network with established professionals. Also, go to career fairs and find out about internship opportunities that may lead to entry-level jobs once you graduate. You should also send your resume to companies known for hiring art directors.
4. What Skills do You Need to Become an Art Director?
Some of the skills your need to become an art director are:
1. Leadership Skills
Art directors need to motivate their employees and ensure that they are delivering the highest-quality materials possible. They must also work well with clients, photographers, illustrators, and designers to get the results they want.
Art directors need creativity in abundance to generate fresh ideas for all of their projects. You need to stay on top of industry trends and think outside the box when coming up with ideas.
3. The Ability to Multi-Task
As an art director, you will be working on several projects at once; therefore, you must juggle multiple clients while meeting deadlines. This means that you will need excellent time management skills to meet your clients’ needs.
4. Ability to Communicate Effectively
The ability to communicate well is a necessary skill for an art director. You will need strong communication skills when interacting with clients, photographers, and other designers to develop high-quality ideas that work for everyone involved with a project.
5. Good Business Sense
Art directors must also have the excellent business sense to make intelligent decisions for their companies. They need to know the current market conditions and how their products will fit what consumers want.
5. How Much Money Can You Make as an Art Director?
Art directors often receive salaries based on their experience, location, and industry within which they work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), art directors in advertising earned an average salary of $95,820 per year. In contrast, those working for newspapers averaged $61,300, and artists who work in publishing received $75,880 annually. The BLS also reports that the top 10 percent of art directors earned more than $176,000 per year.
6. What are the Benefits of Becoming an Art Director?
Some of the benefits of becoming an art director include:
- Jobs are available for those with or without experience.
- Art directors can work in various settings, including advertising agencies, design firms, and publishing companies. This means that even if you have no industry experience, you may be able to find an entry-level position after you graduate.
- Salaries are typically relatively high for this profession.
- According to the BLS, art directors earned a median salary of $71,660 in May 2011. The top 10 percent earned more than $138,940 per year.
- You can work your way up in an organization.
- Many art directors start as assistants or junior staff members and move their way up once they have gained experience.
- Several people can help you if you need them.
As an art director, your co-workers and supervisors will be there to help you. If you have questions about projects or clients, they should be willing to offer guidance and support. This is because art directors must work as a team to meet the needs of their clients and produce high-quality work.
7. What are the Disadvantages of Being an Art Director?
Some of the disadvantages of being an art director include:
- It can be challenging for new graduates to find work in this field
- Many advertising agencies are reluctant to hire art directors who do not have at least three years of industry experience. This means that young people often need to begin working as interns or junior designers before they can secure a full-time job as an art director.
- There is a lot of competition in this profession
- Art directors tend to be hired based on their creative talent. This means that you will need to establish yourself as a talented and creative person to become successful in this field.
- You may work long hours or odd shifts
- Art directors often work at least 40 hours per week but may need to work weekends or odd shifts to meet deadlines.
8. The Job Outlook for an Art Director
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for an art director is positive, with employment projected to grow by six percent from 2012 to 2022. This growth is attributed to the increasing demand for advertising and graphic design services. As more companies compete for consumers’ attention, they will need creative professionals who can help create effective and eye-catching advertisements.
9. How Many Years Does it Take to Become an Art Director?
Becoming an art director is not an easy task, and it takes years of hard work and practice to become a master of the craft. While there is no one answer to this question, most professionals agree that it takes at least ten years to become an expert in the field. During that time, you will need to learn about the history of art, develop your style, and hone your visual thinker and storyteller skills. Only then will you be able to create truly inspiring works of art that influence others in your industry.
10. Top Recruiting Companies for an Art Director
Art directors work in the advertising and design fields. They are responsible for creating ads, designing packaging, and doing other graphic design work. Art directors often specialize in a particular area of expertise like print or TV advertisements.
Some of the top recruiting companies for an art director include:
- Wieden+Kennedy ( wk.com )
- Droga5 ( droga5.com )
- Goodby Silverstein & Partners ( gsapartners.com/careers )
- Young & Rubicam ( yra.com )
- TBWA\Chiat\Day ( tbwachiat.com )
- R/GA ( rga.com )
- Leo Burnett Group ( leoburnett.com )
- MullenLowe Lintas Group ( mullenlowe-lintasgroup.com )
11. Best Colleges to Study Art Direction
Several colleges offer art direction programs.
The best colleges to study art direction typically have robust graphic design and advertising departments.
These schools often have well-known alumni who have had successful careers in the creative field.
Top art and design colleges:
- Rhode Island School of Design ( risd.edu )
- School of Visual Arts ( sva.edu )
- California College of the Arts (cca.edu)
- Pennsylvania State University ( psu.edu/homepage/arts-comm )
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( ills.illinois.edu )
- Washington University in St. Louis ( wustl.edu )
- The University of Texas at Austin ( utexas.edu/visualarts )
If you are looking for a career in the creative world, an art director may be your best bet. An art director’s job is to use their imagination and creativity to design graphics that communicate messages or sell products. All you need to become is some formal training in graphic arts or interior design combined with experience working on various projects. Many different types of jobs fall under this umbrella term, so it might take some time before you find the perfect fit!