Art Director How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

Art directors oversee the visual style and images in print, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They must have excellent leadership skills as they create the overall design of a project and manage graphic designers, set designers, and other design staff in bringing a design to fruition. The ability to visualize and design an original concept are key skills of an art director. Communication skills are also essential, as are time management and creativity skills. 

Art directors may design for television, film, live performances, advertisements, or video games. They relate their vision to the artists. Art directors might work for advertising agencies, public relations firms, or book, magazine, or newspaper publishing. They also can work with producers and directors of theater, television, or movie productions. They need a keen sense of the design elements needed for each unique project. Some art directors also manage the budget for a project. Art directors use their creativity to determine the best way to represent concepts visually.

Sample job description #1

About the role

The position requires someone who has exceptional conceptual ideation skills for integrated campaign development (largely in film and social), with their focus on art direction. Partnering with a Copywriter, you’ll drive creative from concept to delivery. Specifically, you will:

  • Answer creative briefs by concepting engaging full-funnel, integrated creative campaigns that drive awareness across all categories
  • Partner with copywriter, producers, and project managers throughout all phases of the work from concept through delivery
  • When appropriate, develop new creative by reusing and reediting existing assets to bring in a fresh approach to existing assets
  • Turn film assets into multiple formats for multiple channels, for example, turn a film asset into carousels or stills for Pinterest, Facebook, IG, programmatic digital, etc.
  • Concept and art direct still imagery for flat lay shoots, store photography, and product stills
  • Work to ensure all creative is consistent with our brand voice, style, and tone
  • Ability to evolve creative assets to respond to data and in-market learnings
  • Other activities as may be identified from time to time

About you

  • BA/BS or equivalent work experience
  • 3-6 years of recent work experience as an art director with focus on film (digital and social, a plus) & photography
  • A creative mindset that seeks to understand what audiences consume and how to create relevant content
  • Hungry to constantly learn and adapt based on the ever-changing world of social, both in terms of how content changes, and new platforms come into the market
  • Experience supporting product marketing and sales activities
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skill
  • Being highly adaptable and having flexibility for working in an ever changing, fast-paced environment is a must
  • Expert level ability at producing quality videos, social media posts, and blogs

Sample job description #2

Responsibilities

  • Create and maintain the visual look for all of our client’s traditional and digital work, from inception to completion. 
  • Ensure a high standard of visual execution across all channels and campaigns, ie, the materials are aesthetically engaging, the messaging is clear, the client’s branding and style is adhered to, and the product is of high quality and error-free
  • Collaborate with the team to brainstorm concepts and/or work through challenges
  • Ability to work well with copywriters
  • Ability to firmly grasp the strategic intent and translate this into beautifully conceived, persuasive work that delivers the client’s objectives
  • Technically proficient and able to be independently hands-on to personally produce all elements required for projects and campaigns
  • Able to pitch concepts internally to the Creative Director and/or Strategy Team

Qualifications and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in design, fine arts, graphic arts or communications. In lieu of a degree in these fields, experience is acceptable
  • Minimum of two to five years of experience
  • Strong knowledge of typography, image manipulation, illustration, and animation
  • Broad understanding of marketing design and layout
  • Experience in generating a reliable supply of original ideas and visual concepts
  • Confidence to explain and support your thinking
  • Flexible approach and willingness to adapt your ideas to the needs of clients
  • Keen eye for visual details and accuracy
  • Resilience to perform under pressure and deliver high-quality work to tight deadlines
  • Solid hands-on knowledge of branding and brand systems, brand repositioning, marketing campaigns, and creative development for traditional and digital tactics is required
  • Proficiently skilled in the latest art and design packages. Technical proficiency with Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, XD, PowerPoint, Keynote, web-based CMS, and other programs is required
  • Able and willing to travel to assist with on-location projects, such as photo or video shoots

Sample job description #3

Responsibilities

Guide and manage all aspects of the artistic and conceptual development of marketing and promotional materials, including, but not limited to brand identity, print and digital collateral, print and digital ad campaigns, packaging, photography, websites, environmental design, and interactive design.

  • Conduct in-depth creative and market research and exploration on each project to understand brand needs and challenges fully
  • Work closely with the creative team on conceptualizing, developing, and refining dynamic creative solutions and content
  • Articulate and enforce the visual tone, style guide, and core values to ensure seamless creative development and implementation to marketing strategies and brand experiences
  • Energetic team player that is able to not only lead the creative process but also help build the graphic design department infrastructure with a hands-on and collaborative approach
  • Contribute to developing department process and performance standard
  • Examine and approve the quality of the final artwork and materials by engaging closely with the production team to ensure flawless execution of design deliverables
  • Brief, motivate and collaborate with our in-house Photographers, Interactive Designers, Web Developers, Visualizers, Editors, and the Production Artists on each project
  • Committed to a thoughtful and strategic design approach, while not afraid to think outside the box

Requirements

  • Extensive design background with a portfolio reflecting 4+ years of experience in a professional design studio
  • Outstanding leadership and management skills to effectively direct and guide the creative team and client from the beginning phase to delivery
  • Digital design experience and grasp of current best practices
  • Proven ability to drive results through strategic, creative solutions
  • Sophisticated sense and in-depth knowledge of design (video, digital, photography, UX/UI, environmental design – a plus)
  • Ability to naturally inspire and foster a collaborative and energetic studio culture
  • Exceptional communication and presentation skills
  • Detail driven and excellent time management skills
  • Able to work effectively under pressure, juggling multiple projects at once

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an art director is $89,250 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$88,750$120,100
Los Angeles, California$100,150$135,500
Denver, Colorado$83,450$112,900
Washington, DC$101,650$137,550
Miami, Florida$83,050$112,400
Orlando, Florida$76,600$103,650
Tampa, Florida$77,400$104,700
Atlanta, Georgia$81,150$109,800
Chicago, Illinois$93,300$126,250
Boston, Massachusetts$100,900$136,500
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$80,400$108,800
New York City, New York$106,200$143,700
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$86,500$117,000
Dallas, Texas$84,200$113,950
Houston, Texas$83,450$112,900
Seattle, Washington$97,100$131,400
National Average$75,850$102,650

Sample interview questions

  • Who are your favorite designers?
  • What do you do in the first week of a project to learn about a new brand you’ve started working with?
  • In your opinion, what makes an ideal team member?
  • How do you keep up-to-date with the latest creative trends and tech? 
  • How influenced are you by current trends?
  • What’s the most challenging design project you’ve ever worked on?
  • How do you update your colleagues and clients about a late deadline?
  • How have you mentored or led colleagues on projects in the past?
  • What product would you like to design or redesign?
  • What tools do you rely on in your day-to-day work?
  • Has your design direction ever helped solve a business problem?
  • How do you keep your team motivated in the face of tight deadlines?
  • Describe a time you’ve reduced the scope of a project based on what your team could realistically accomplish.
  • How do you measure the success of your role within a project?
  • Which of our clients are you most interested in working with? Why?

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