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Art Director Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Art Director, or Artistic Director designs the visuals for advertising campaigns, publications, films and other projects. Their duties include creating visual concepts, illustrating these concepts and managing their development.

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Art Director duties and responsibilities

Art Directors perform a range of tasks while supervising art projects from conception to completion. Their responsibilities vary depending on their sector, but often include:

  • Collaborating with clients and relevant employees, such as the Creative Director, Writer or Marketer, on design concepts
  • Creating sketches or storyboards of design concepts
  • Presenting sketches and concept ideas to clients, the Creative Director, accounts teams and other relevant parties
  • Hiring creatives, such as Graphic Directors or Photographers, to develop design concepts
  • Selecting and booking locations and studios, as required
  • Overseeing creatives to ensure they work productively and meet the brief and budget
  • Maintaining graphic consistency across all deliverables
  • Reviewing graphic materials to assess its validity and appropriateness for the brand
  • Making changes directed by clients and overseeing edits
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What does an Art Director do?

Art Directors design all the visuals for their business and their clients. They create storyboards or sketches that illustrate their concepts, after receiving approval, they coordinate and oversee the it’s development. Art Directors typically specialise in art direction for a specific industry. They often work on advertising, publishing, film, television and theatre projects. These sectors rely on Art Directors to create striking, memorable visuals reflecting the brand and its projects. Art Directors also ensure quality delivery of all visual projects on time and on budget.

Art Director skills and qualifications

Art Directors rely on creative talents and leadership skills during the development of visual projects. A successful Art Director candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include:

  • Problem-solving skills to develop original and effective visual concepts
  • Artistic skills to develop sketches and storyboards reflecting visual concepts
  • Technical understanding of artistic concepts including photography, typography and color theory
  • Verbal and written communication skills, including active listening, to understand briefs and share them with creative team
  • Organisation skills and the ability to multi-task
  • Computer literacy, including confidence using office and design programs

Art Director experience requirements

People usually gain experience working in creative roles before becoming Art Directors. Working as a Graphic Designer, Photographer or Illustrator helps aspiring Art Directors refine their artistic and problem-solving skills. Before entering paid work, many aspiring Art Directors gain experience through work placements and internships with advertising agencies and other creative businesses.

Art Director education and training requirements

Businesses employing Art Directors expect applicants to hold a standard degree, foundation degree or higher national diploma in art or design. Degrees or diplomas in graphic design, advertising design, fine art or illustration all give aspiring Art Directors good technical foundations. Students need one of two A levels, or the equivalent, to enter a foundation degree or higher national diploma program. Students must complete two or three A levels, or the equivalent, for acceptance into a standard degree program.

Art Director salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an Art Director in the UK, is £43, 446 per year. An Art Director’s salary depends on their experience, location, employer and industry.

Job description samples for similar positions

If you do not need an Art Director, the following job description samples for similar positions may suit you better:

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Art Director job description FAQs

What is the difference between an Art Director and a Creative Director?

Art Directors and Creative Directors both oversee creative projects. However, the scope of their responsibilities differs. Art Directors focus on the development of visual elements. The work of Creative Directors has a broader focus. It considers how visual elements work with a business’ strategy and campaign execution.

Who does an Art Director report to?

Art Directors usually report to Creative Directors. Art direction is one of the creative areas Creative Directors oversee. Creative Directors give Art Directors briefs about the kind of visuals required. Art Directors develop detailed concepts meeting these briefs. They concern themselves with details including typefaces, color choices, kerning and spacing.

What qualities do successful Art Directors have?

Successful Art Directors are creative people who have original, innovative ideas. They must have good aesthetic instincts. They must also be detail-orientated people who can work meticulously. Since Art Directors work with many creative people, they should thrive in team environments. They should also be positive people who can motivate and get the best from their artistic teams.

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