What Is the Job Description of an Art Director?

Art directors lead a team of artists and designers as they work together to assemble a final project for publication. Read on to learn about the job description of an art director and determine if it could be a fit for you. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Occupation Overview

An art director acts as an executive decision-maker on any type of art project. Art directors work for newspapers, magazines, websites, advertising companies, or design firms. One of the most important duties of an art director is determining which direction to take a project based on the client's wants, needs, and budget. In conjunction with the client, art directors have final say on the shape and scope of the entire project.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience A minimum of five years working in a relevant field is typically needed
Top Industries of Employment Advertising and public relations, publishers, specialized design services
Similar Occupations Fashion designer, industrial designer, graphic designer

Duties and Responsibilities

Art directors are in charge of a team of artists and others tasked with completing a project. It would be up to you as the art director to allocate each individual element of the project to artists, designers, writers, photographers, or subcontractors. It is the art director's responsibility to take the work from each individual and shape it into a finished piece. Art directors are ultimately responsible for making sure that the project's deadlines are being met.


Art directors are not only in charge of the project, but also act as hands-on leaders. Art directors work closely with artists to define and design the initial concept of the project and continue working closely with all involved all the way up through the printing or publishing date. You would need to have a background in art and be able to recognize and create catchy or appealing pieces of art or graphics. As an art director, you need to be able to work across multiple media, both traditional and digital.

Skills and Abilities

Since art directors are often in contact with many people on a project, they need to have good verbal and written communication skills to ensure that the project is accomplished as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Being an art director is a fast-paced and often stressful career, so it would benefit you to be organized and able to multitask across several different projects at once if you choose this career. Since you would work with many different types of artists, it would benefit you to have basic understanding of all of the elements that go into producing a project, such as text, photographs, printing, and desktop publishing.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary earned by art directors was $92,780 in May 2018. The employment of art directors is expected to grow by five percent between 2016 and 2026, per the BLS, which is as fast as the average for all occupations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools