How to become an Art Director

Overview, Courses, Exam, Colleges, Pathways, Salary

Entertainment & media


Who is Art Director ?

Media art directors are responsible for the visual style and pictures that appear in publications such as magazines and newspapers. They also work with product packaging designers as well as film and television production art directors to create the visual style and pictures that appear in these publications. A designer is in charge of the overall design and supervises the work of others who are responsible for generating artwork or layouts. Art directors are often in charge of overseeing the work of other designers and artists who produce images for a variety of purposes, including television, movies, live performances, advertisements, and video games, among others.

Understanding the design characteristics of projects, the capacity to encourage other creative individuals, and the ability to keep projects on budget and on time are all requirements for this position. In certain cases, they may also be tasked with the creation of budgets and timelines for the project. It is not only the aesthetic aspect of a project that art directors are responsible for, but they must also be able to guide an audience through the material that has been provided to them, utilising both words and pictures, as well as establishing structure and emphasis through the use of layout and typography.

Media art directors are responsible for the visual style and pictures that appear in publications such as magazines and newspapers. They also work with product packaging designers as well as film and television production art directors to create the visual style and pictures that appear in these publications. A project`s overall appearance and feel is designed by them, and they also supervise and oversee the work of people who create the artwork or layouts for it. There are a variety of employment available for art directors in a variety of sectors. These include advertising and public relations firms, newspaper and magazine publishers, specialty design services organisations, the theatre, motion picture and video industries, and the entertainment industry.

Typical day at work

What does Art Director do?

  • Develop layout design, template, or presentation approach to specify material details, like style, size, photographs, graphics, animation, video, and sound
  • Determine the overall look or style of a publication, advertising campaign, theatre, television, or film set
  • Manage projects within budget and schedules
  • Collaborate with other department heads to discuss client needs, presentation ideas, and to coordinate creative tasks
  • Present confirm layouts for clients’ approval
  • Review and approve artwork, photographs, graphics, and other elements
  • Supervise graphic designers, set and exhibit designers, model maker, craft designers, and others
  • Collaborate with creative directors to create design solutions
  • Develop illustrations or other graphic elements based on client’s customizations
  • Communicate with clients to establish aims, budget, background details, and presentation approaches, styles, and methods
  • Review illustrative material for standards and specification compliance
  • Attend photo shoots and printing sessions to confirm that the required products needed are acquired
  • Study current design trends and new technology like printing production techniques, computer software, etc.
  • Recruit, train, and supervise personnel developing design ideas into art layouts to printing process
  • Finish layouts and note typography instructions to create typesetting or printing materials
  • Intellectualize and assist in designing multimedia games, products, and devices interfaces
  • Develop a style guide or portfolio for a project
  • Create in-depth storyboards depicting sequence and timing of story development for television production.

Abilities and Aptitude needed

What are the skills, abilities & aptitude needed to become Art Director?

Along with creativity, an art director must possess the ability to juggle many work tasks together, in a team, under pressure, efficiently and in a timely manner. One must have strong conceptual and creative thinking with problem-solving abilities to execute a well-crafted idea. They must also have impeccable communication skills, both in verbal and in written form. One must also be skilled in presentation and the use of specialized graphic design, computer software necessary for preparation of designs.

Research skills are also expected from an art director as they may have to study historic or futuristic timelines for content. An art director must have the ability to visualize a concept, judge, and choose appropriate colors and designs that translate the ideas into illustrations. Aspiring individuals must also have an incredible eye for detail. It will require you to make ultimate use of your creative potential, imagination, and artistic expression as they would have to adapt their style if needed. Thus, they need to be flexible and be acceptable to criticism. They must also possess the abilities of self-promotion and self-motivation, and the ability to work to deadlines. Lastly, one needs to know basic business know-how and be good at communicating and negotiating with colleagues. Thus, they require leadership and project management skills.

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How to become an Art Director?

Entrance Exam

Entrance Exam for Art Director ?


Which course I can pursue?


Which Industries are open for Art Director?

  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Film and Television
  • Graphic Design
  • Publishing and Print Media
  • Fashion and Apparel
  • Digital Media and Web Design
  • Gaming and Animation
  • Event Management and Experiential Marketing
  • Music and Entertainment
  • Fine Arts and Galleries


Are there internships available for Art Director?

Internship opportunities for aspiring art directors can be found in diverse settings, offering valuable hands-on experience in creative direction, design conceptualization, team collaboration, and more. Advertising agencies, design studios, media companies, and innovative organizations provide practical training and exposure to nurture the growth of aspiring art directors.

Career outlook

What does the future look like for Art Director?

To gain the position of art director; based on the industry, one may has to work as a graphic designer, fine artist, editor, photographer, etc. Art Directors works on self-employed or on independent contract basis, however, they must collaborate with other designers. With sufficient exposure and contacts, one could work for larger productions. Art Directors work in a studio, outdoor sites, and office or even from home. Thereby travelling is essential to attend meetings or for site inspection. They work for long and odd hours, regardless of weekdays or weekends. The jobs are attained after the employer has viewed, approved, and liked your portfolio.

Strong competition for jobs is expected in the future, as many talented designers and artists are looking to move into art director positions. Individuals with a good portfolio, which can demonstrate strong visual design and conceptual work across all multimedia platforms, will have the best prospects. Art Directors work with art and design staffs for theatre, movie, and television production companies to determine the style or look of the sets; or for advertising agencies and public relations firms to guarantee client’s message is delivered to the consumers visually in advertising or media campaign; and book, magazine, or newspaper publishers to supervise page layout, cover art, etc.