Art Directors

Art Director Explains Photos

Art directors, sometimes known as creative directors, play a key role in every stage of the creation of media and products with a visual component such as advertising, newspapers and magazines, books, films, television programs, video games, and Web sites.

In advertising, they contribute to an ad or ad campaign, from formulating concepts to supervising production. Ultimately, they are responsible for planning and overseeing the presentation of their clients' messages in print or on screen—that is, in books, magazines, newspapers, television commercials and shows, posters, and packaging, as well as in film and video and on the Internet.

In publishing, art directors work with artists, photographers, and text editors to develop visual images and generate copy, according to the marketing strategy. They evaluate existing illustrations, determine presentation styles and techniques, hire both staff and freelance talent, work with layouts, and prepare budgets.

In films, videos, and television commercials and shows, art directors, under the direct supervision of production designers, set the general look of the visual elements and approve the props, costumes, and models.

In digital content, art directors conceptualize the overall style and presentation of a Web site or an app and may select graphics or illustrations

In sum, art directors are charged with selling to, informing, and educating consumers. They supervise both in-house and off-site staff, handle executive issues, and oversee the entire artistic production process. There are 36,210 art directors working in the United States.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Creative Directors
Duties Plan and oversee the presentation of their clients' messages in print or on screen
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but the largest number of jobs are located in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles
Minimum Education Level
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Art
  • Business
  • Computer Science
Experience Three to five years experience
Personality Traits
  • Artistic
  • Creative
  • Problem-Solving
  • Digital Media
  • Drawing/Design
  • Leadership
Certification or Licensing None
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Little Change or More Slowly than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Advertising Agency Owner, or Television Director, or Production Designer
  • Art Director
  • Assistant Art Director