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Art Director

Career Overview

Art directors are generally employed in the advertising trade, where they are responsible for developing the graphic elements for an ad or an entire advertising campaign.  Their work may be for a newspaper or magazine format; or it may be for television broadcast or an internet use.  Increasingly, art directors must have multimedia skills in order to work in an advertising firm. 

Art directors oversee the preparation of artwork design or do it themselves.  Many have artistic talents themselves, but the job is really oriented to consumer appeal and creativity associated with uses of the various media outlets available.


Art directors usually hold a bachelors degree; today there are many educational options in this field that include multimedia design and computer-generated imaging.  The most important element of a job applicant's submission for an art director job is experience - and the portfolio that goes with it.  Many art directors work their way to the position from an entry level job as an artist or internet specialist in an advertising agency.

Current Employment

There were 78,000 art directors working in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The great majority of these worked for ad agencies.

Job Outlook

Job growth for artists, illustrators and art directors overall is expected to be larger than the projected overall job growth for all categories over the next several years.  Increasingly, creative uses of computer programs and technology will play an important role in the art director's job.

Salary Range

Lowest 10% $19.04 $39,600

Median Salary $34.77 $72,320

Highest 10% $69.41 $144,380

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