A Closer Look at a Career as an Art Director
Being an art director means you take the lead to establish the overall visual aesthetics for a film, publication, and media production. For those familiar with the Academy Awards, art direction is a category by itself because it is just as important as the direction for the actors or even the screenplay. Just think of your favourite films and you’ll see that if they had a flawed art direction, those movies might not have work as well like they were intended to.
Art directors are not just employed in the film industry. They also work in various industries and media production such as magazines, newspapers, or commercials. Oftentimes they have the final say on the design concept, and they call upon their team made up of graphic designers and others to implement said concept. While this is the case, art directors still need the same skills as graphic designers, and the difference is that they have to have exceptional management and leadership skills.
Art Directors – What You Need to Know
Art directors’ main responsibility is to delegate tasks and instructions for the design team to come up with a design concept that are in line with their clients’ needs and ensuring that the project is completed according to the allowed timelines and budgets. They are the ones responsible for providing guidance and direction to ensure that the targets are met.
Depending on the industry they are employed at, such as at an advertising agency, they are often asked to join the meetings or brainstorming sessions with the clients so they can note what the latter needs or has in mind. After the initial meetings, they are required to communicate and assign accountabilities to their team, which usually consists of copywriters, graphic designers, artists, photographers, stylists, and others. Once tasks are completed, they are responsible for presenting the designs to the clients and wait for the approval or sign-off.
According to PayScale.com, an art director can earn an average of $40,796 – $85,720 a year.
Like with graphic designers, having an incredible sense of design aesthetics is a requirement for art directors, as well as creativity and resourcefulness. However, as an art director is more of a leadership role, it is an advantage to have completed a degree that lets you acquire competencies not just in graphic design but in other areas as well like marketing management, business management, and visual communications.
Additional courses or training in leadership are an asset as well, especially if you want to move up the ladder. Business or marketing savviness can also be extremely beneficial, so you would need to continuously brush up on latest business and marketing trends.
Pros and Cons
A career in art direction can prove to be a truly exciting one as you work with different types of projects according to different requirements all the time. As they oversee the overall artistic style of projects, they have the authority or the final say, and this is a welcome advantage for most.
Being an art director though can be extremely demanding in terms of work schedule when you are trying to beat deadlines as per client requirements. There will be the need to utilize skills in conflict resolution and negotiation as well should there be instances where the client is not satisfied with the delivered product.