An art director is a professional who oversees the development of visual, design and artistic projects for public and private businesses or organizations. These specialists often create artistic concepts for media-related agencies, or supervise the design department of a publication or entertainment company. Art directors working in museums and related settings may lead the acquisition, exhibition, analysis, restoration and preservation of owned and borrowed antiquities and artwork. In particular, art museum directors are usually responsible for an institution’s policy, staffing and funding decisions.
Art directors typically find work at advertising, marketing or public relations firms, artistic institutions, media organizations, and entertainment or publishing companies. If you have a passion for art and design combined with a desire to serve in a leadership role, earning an online degree in art administration or art management can help you advance your career goals.
Depending on their chosen area of specialty and desired work environment, art directors may have undergraduate degrees in studio art, art history or fine arts. Due to the competitive nature of the career field, many professionals employed in director-level positions have additional qualifications, including:
Both prospective and established art directors must develop and maintain a portfolio containing the best of examples of their work, such as high-quality photographs, prints, videos or digital files.
Art directors supervise artistic, design and visually-based projects and programs for a variety of advertising, media and entertainment companies. Professionals employed by museums and other institutions may also oversee the acquisition, restoration, analysis and exhibition of artwork, as well as the development of promotional materials for special acquisitions, limited engagement shows and other high-profile events.
To help achieve their career goals, art directors frequently supervise personnel on various aspects of the creative and design process, like copywriting, photography, film production, and graphic and multimedia design. They may also consult with other departments within an organization, including sales, marketing, legal or accounting.
Art directors work in a variety of settings, including:
An art director may concentrate on a specific medium (such as animation or digital photography) or a particular industry (like advertising or video games). Since computers are becoming increasingly important in art production, analysis and management, many art directors also keep up-to-date with advances in industry related software and hardware.
The number of job openings for art directors is predicted to grow at a generally average rate. Specific demand increases are expected in the advertising industry, while opportunities for art directors at print publications are anticipated to decrease as more titles transition to online formats.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, art directors tend to earn an average annual salary of between $54,490 and $108,090.
Art directors working in the advertising and public relations field earned a median annual salary of around $80,170.