Production Artist Job Description and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for production artists. Get the facts about skills and educational requirements, career outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Production Artist?

Production artists work with computer software programs and other technologies to produce designs for both print and online content. Some of their duties may include researching projects to make sure their designs are realistic and accurate, developing storyboards for projects to create a logical story progression, listening to the feedback from directors and other professionals involved in the project while editing and making sure they stay on deadline and within a budget. The chart below includes a few details about becoming a production artist.

Degree Required Associate's degree, bachelor's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Graphic design
Key Skills Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, print and Web production
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% for multimedia artists and animators*
Average Salary (2015) $70,300 for multimedia artists and animators*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Production Artists

A production artist produces basic drawings, designs and copy layouts for advertisements for marketing campaigns, online content or other communication materials. You would manage the prepress process and make sure files will not be problematic when they go to print. You might have to juggle a large number of projects at once with attention to detail and brand guidelines. You would resize and crop images to fit ad sizes.

Training

Although there are no educational requirements for a production artist, you might consider enrolling in a graphic design degree program to learn technical skills and build a professional portfolio of diverse media. In a 2-year associate's program, you learn the elements of design and work with imaging and illustration software. You study and practice layouts, print production, packaging and marketing. In a 4-year bachelor's degree program in graphic design, you take more extensive technical classes, as well as visual and liberal arts courses. Online options may be available to help you complete some or all of your curriculum requirements.

Skills and Qualities

Production artists must be efficient and organized to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines. You need to be able to use design software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for work in print. Other helpful skills include preflighting and checking files, creating electronic layouts and proofing.

For multimedia and Web production jobs, you also need to be familiar with Flash. You should be knowledgeable in image compression, file correction and optimization techniques. Employers might require you to have experience with HTML and CSS development. They may also ask that you be well versed in current production trends and technologies.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators - including production artists - earned an average annual of salary of $70,300 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also indicated that the career outlook for multimedia artists and animators is anticipated to grow about six percent, which is slower-than-average growth.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With a bachelor's degree, you could also become an art director which involves managing the visual and artistic style for magazines, newspaper, TV shows, movies and other productions. You will likely direct a team of other types of artists and make decisions regarding color choices, artistic themes, and artwork. Another option is becoming a graphic designer. Graphic designers, who need a bachelor's degree, also work with software or work by hand to create designs and layouts for magazines, newspapers, advertisements and brochures.

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