Art Director jobs and careers

An Art Director is a conceptual role typically found within agencies. The Art Director will often be paired with a Creative Copywriter. Their job is to create concepts and then work closely with the rest of the creative team (especially Designers) to deliver those concepts into creative collateral. An Art Director could be above the line, below the line or fully integrated into delivery. The Art Director is a senior and often leadership position within the agency team. Art Directors are often good illustrators, handy with a pencil and pad – able to sketch and scamp ideas when needed. Some Art Directors prefer to focus on the conceptual aspect whereas others will be confident visualising their designs.

Why consider a career as an Art Director?

Art Direction is a fast-paced and varied role where no two days will be the same. You’ll get the opportunity to be creative on a daily basis and enjoy defining the creative vision across a wide range of media.

What a career or job as an Art Director may entail…

As part of a creative studio, your job will be conceptual in the main. Depending on team structure, you may work in partnership with a copywriter when crafting ideas but this varies from studio to studio. The Art Director will work closely with the Creative Director to deliver concepts across a variety of channels; these could be digital, DM (direct marketing) or digital. Once an overarching concept is defined, they will work collaboratively with the rest of the creative team (Designers, Artworkers, Copywriters etc.) to finalise the concepts into finished designs ready for launch.

Typical role titles include

Junior Art Director
Midweight Art Director
Senior Art Director
Senior Creative

Career progression example

Art Director
Senior Art Director
Head of Art Direction

Salary Benchmarks

At an entry level, Art Directors on average will be earning between £32k-£40k. At the mid-level you’d be looking to earn £40k-48k and Seniors would be looking to earn £48k+.

Is it right for me? The skills it takes…

An overarching knowledge of design concepts is key, as while you don’t necessarily have to come from a design background, you should have sound knowledge of design to be able to effectively lead creative teams and direct design processes and projects.

What qualifications does it take?

You will usually need a foundation degree or diploma within a relevant subject. For example, these could include graphic design, graphic communication, illustration, art, creative writing, marketing or branding.

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