Art directors are responsible for integrating design with strategy. A common misconception is that an art director is the same thing as a creative director. Though the two work closely together, an art director is usually focused more on craft and executing art and design components while a creative director’s role is to ensure the artistic vision fits the overall goal of a brand or project. Differentiating the two roles helps to craft a more accurate art director job description based on your company and what you are looking for in a candidate.
Now that we’ve made that distinction, let’s dive a bit deeper into what specifically an art director does in their role. After that we’ll take a look at art director job descriptions and end with a template and salary information for you to craft your own custom art director job description.
Table of Contents
- What Does an Art Director Do?
- Art Director Skills and Responsibilities
- Art Director Salary Information
- Art Director Job Description Template
- Art Director Job Description Examples
Access our entire library of templates for your open roles.
What Does an Art Director Do?
Art directors typically belong to either the creative or marketing team and collaborate with the communications team, software developers, project managers and anyone else involved in the execution of a design project.
What Is an Art Director?
Design projects may include graphic design, logo design, email campaigns, website design, user interfaces, mobile apps, videography, advertisements, social media content, typography, print production, image selection and written content.
Art Director Skills and Responsibilities
Art directors may have a degree in art, such as graphic design, photography, visual communication, digital media or even marketing. However, at this point in their career, a robust portfolio and experience designing in a specific industry is much more important and useful to an employer than a degree.
Top Art Director Skills
- Communication and collaboration across teams.
- Grasp of visual and user experience principles.
- Strong presenter.
- Proficiency with digital design programs.
- Knowledge of basic coding languages.
- A robust portfolio illustrating applicable design experience.
As they progress in their careers, an art director may advance to a senior art director, associate creative director or executive creative director role.
Digital Design Proficiency
In order to be successful as an art director, applicants typically need to have expert proficiency working with digital design programs. Employers are looking for art director candidates who have several years experience with programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Premiere, as well as other popular digital design programs such as Abstract, Cinema 4D, Figma and Sketch.
Here are examples of digital design skills and concepts an art director may need to have mastery of:
- Video editing
- 3D modeling
- Web and mobile layout
- Color and image selection
Basic Coding Knowledge
Art Director Salary Information
Salary information is now an essential part of every job description. Candidates expect to know what they will be making at a company before they apply because if it’s not in their range, there’s no point in them filling out an application and you reviewing it.
To set your expectations straight, we've investigated the average salary range for art directors in seven of the country’s top employment markets. Click on the links below to learn more about salary information in each city.
- Austin, TX: $106,000
- Boston, MA: $87,306
- Chicago, IL: $89,539
- Colorado: $75,875
- Los Angeles, CA: $106,185
- New York, NY: $96,976
- Seattle, WA: $121,600
Cross market average salary for an art director: $93,019
Art Director Job Description Template
To tie everything together, we’ve created an art director job description template that combines crucial information into one cohesive template. Feel free to edit it to better suit your company and reflect its unique culture and personality.
Use this section to provide a high level overview of your company, culture, perks and benefits, career development opportunities and anything else that will get candidates excited about your company.
- Directs creative development and execution of design projects that apply and evolve our company’s visual design identity and brand.
- Design visual and written content via graphic design, photography, literature, visual communication and digital media.
- Collaborate with communications, software developers, project managers and report directly to the VP of creative.
- Manage, delegate and guide tasks among design team to ensure deadlines are met and expectations are exceeded.
- Articulate design decisions that align with brand vision and strategic objectives and are supported by a thesis and backed by evidence and insight.
- Create digital sketches, storyboards, timelines and budgets for individual projects.
- Remain up to date on design and industry trends, and evolve with best practices, relaying information to the Creative team.
- Bachelor’s degree in graphic design, visual communication, digital media or marketing OR the equivalent in experience.
- X years experience as a graphic or visual designer.
- X years experience with [insert design programs].
- Digital portfolio with [include specific requirements for portfolio].
- Exceptional communication skills (oral, written and presentation).
- Keen attention to detail.
- Knowledge of [insert coding language] a plus.
- Experience in [insert industry] a plus.
Art Director Job Description Examples
Now we’re going to check out five real examples of art director job descriptions. This should provide you with a range of common requirements and responsibilities found in art director job descriptions. You’ll notice that we’ve redacted some information to protect the privacy of the companies that originally posted them.
1. Art Director With Emphasis on Interactive Design
The Art Director is a creative, conceptual thinker who collaborates with the rest of the creative team to ensure that the design, writing and technology we develop are greater than the sum of their parts and achieve the client’s communication objectives. This person is an active participant and strong presenter in project critiques. The role often acts as a facilitator for group reviews. With a strong attention to detail and passion for design, an Art Director is a systems-level thinker and problem solver excited by the opportunity to push the boundaries of constraints.
- Leads the creative development and execution of individual projects — both interactive and print design — in close collaboration with Writers and Production Designers under the guidance of the Creative Director
- Works collaboratively with interactive developers and motion media team in the creation of interactive projects like email campaigns, websites, user interfaces, mobile apps, and videos
- Works closely with the project team to ensure that the creative work will achieve the client’s strategic and communication objectives
- Establishes brand-appropriate creative approaches
- Communicates proactively with the project team to keep deliverables on track
- Participates in client meetings, creative discussions, strategy discussions, and development of presentations
- Clearly articulates design decisions that are backed up with strategic supporting evidence, insight, and rationale
- Communicates with various vendors to coordinate the execution of print and digital deliverables
- Supports new business pursuits — supporting and participating in creative concepting, asset development, and presentation decks
- Plays a critical role in advancing [redacted] success as a creative and strategic partner to the clients we serve
The Skill Set
- College or university degree in visual communication/graphic design
- Minimum of 5–6 years of experience as a graphic designer and/or art director (agency experience preferred; marketing background a plus)
- Online portfolio with a heavy emphasis on interactive work—responsive web design samples, interface design and campaign-focused projects
- Experience making user experience decisions is a plus
- [redacted] examples in portfolio a plus, but not required
- Strong presentation skills to both internal and external clients
- Strong oral and written communication skills required
- Expert-level proficiency with Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office Suite
- Proficiency with UI tools like Sketch and Invision for both low- and high-fidelity design comps and prototypes
- Proficiency with Mac and PC platforms
2. Art Director Focused on User Experience
As our Art Director at [redacted], you’ll form the cornerstone of content. You’ll join a dynamic team of innovative UI and UX designers and developers working to bring our user experience to the next level. The Art Director will liaise directly with our Marketing & Communications teams to create the most compelling and creative video, ad, and social content. Most importantly, you’ll be responsible for defining how the world views [redacted], evangelizing and educating users about the innovative industry [redacted].
- Evolve, explore and apply our visual identity; become fully immersed in the [redacted] brand and mission
- Partner closely with Marketing to build a compelling, strategic, and effective content roadmap
- Work on multiple digital projects simultaneously in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment.
- Generate clear ideas, concepts and designs of creative assets from beginning to end
- Execute and produce a mix of graphic, motion, and photographic content
- Collaborate with a cross-functional team that includes marketing, engineers, and product managers in order to create compelling content for the user
- Support multiple business lines with creation of digital assets
- Work with the Creative and Marketing Director to formulate, communicate and transform a complex system into a simplistic message
- 7-12 years experience in visual design
- Portfolio that shows an eye for detail, understanding of typography, and aesthetic filled with integrated, cross platform campaigns
- Strong organizational, communication and conceptual thinking skills, as well as attention to detail
- Team player and self-starter with a passion for design and finding smart solutions to complex problems
- Is an experienced multitasker and is not intimidated by the thought of juggling multiple projects and tasks at once
- Craft stories and build brands through campaign level thinking and execution
- Can translate strategy into design across print, web, mobile and video
- 1-2 years acting as Art Director or senior visual designer at a digital agency or in-house
- Ability to synthesize complex, interdependent, and sometimes competing needs
- Expert level skills in Adobe creative suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects), the Google suite of apps, and a working knowledge of Sketch/Figma as well as emerging interactive design trends
- Experience in design targeting users within the [redacted] industries specifically
- Is a creative thinker who embraces challenges and new methods of thinking beyond the tasks at hand with a holistic and methodical approach
3. Art Director With Hands-on Experience and Graphic Design Skills
We are looking for a creative Art director who will partner with a world-class design team to devise sketches, storyboards and art layouts based on creative visions and ideas.
Here Is What You’ll Do
- Generate clear ideas and concepts in tandem with the copywriter
- Generate clear ideas and concepts in tandem with the copywriter
- Produce sketches, storyboards, roughs to visualize ideas
- Understand marketing initiatives, strategic positioning and target audience
- Cooperate with the rest of the creative team across different types of media
- Take work from concept to final execution within deadlines
- Manage and delegate responsibilities to other designers and provide directions
- Present completed ideas to clients/team members
- Stay on top of all trends and maintain best practices
Here Is What We Are Looking for
- Proven working experience as Art Director
- Hands on experience with logo design, typography, color, web layout design, print production, image selection and package design
- Proficient use of InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator or other visual design and wire-framing tools
- Demonstrable graphic design skills with a strong portfolio
- Incorporate feedback and take/give direction well
- Team player with strong communication and presentation skills
- Relevant education or training
4. Senior Art Director to Join Marketing Team
We are looking for an experienced Senior Art Director to join [redacted]'s marketing team reporting to the VP of Creative. The ideal candidate will have creative agency or equivalent in-house experience. We’re looking for a Senior Art Director who takes just as much pride in writing headlines and scripts as comping and designing layouts. They will be a strategic thinker with a passion for turning consumer insights into unexpected product and brand campaigns. In return, they will have the rare opportunity to help shape and grow a global brand and make it a part of culture.
What You’ll Do
As a Senior Art Director at [redacted], you will:
- Bring your visual expertise to concept and develop strong creative campaigns for TV, YouTube, OOH, social and digital, as well as thinking up big ideas that transcend traditional marketing and get people inspired and excited to be part of [redacted]
- Drive and own development of ideas based in consumer insights, and deliver meaningful business results
- Collaborate with cross-functional teams to define the communications strategy (insights + key messaging)
- Be a hands-on design expert and crafter, shaping the work for quality and effectiveness, and owning the look and feel of every piece of creative
- Actively seek opportunities to build the brand and business beyond the current brief
- Must have an online portfolio of work that showcases big ideas and smart creative ads that drive results
- 6+ years experience working in an agency or in-house agency as an art director
- Proficient in Adobe (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) but has a love of copy and storytelling
- A keen understanding of the needs, motivations and aspirations of your audiences, so that you can speak to them in the most effective, compelling, engaging way possible
- Thrives in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment
- Energy, a sense of humor, and an open & curious mind (yes, these things really do matter)
5. senior digital Art Director
We’re looking for a Senior Digital Art Director obsessed with ideas, technology and design. Someone who can work seamlessly as part of a team, has a meticulous eye, plus strong communication skills. You’ll be working on a variety of projects ranging from digital menu design, POP, and innovation initiatives. Responsibilities include developing original concepts and executing designs based on established style guides/principles.
- Interpret briefs in-order to create designs that are strategically driven and compelling — not just “pretty”
- Think conceptually and strategically to discover the best way to problem-solve for design and technical challenges
- Collaborate with and inspire co-workers to produce innovative, strategically relevant, and high-quality work for clients
- Help drive the creative process from original concepts to final implementation
- Self-starter/self-motivated able to handle the day-to-day interactions with existing projects with minimal supervision needed
- Ability to create design solutions for multiple deadline–driven assignments and manage time efficiently
- Present creative concepts to clients both in-person and over the phone
- Be a constant learner, with a passion for making things better by actively keeping ahead of the curve and exploring of digital tools, trends/best practices, and styles as well as advertising and design styles
- Experiment with new tools and techniques to improve our work
Desired Skills & Experience
- Strong grasp of design around typography, color, photography, layout design, hierarchy, and user experience (motion graphics is a plus)
- Strong attention to detail in design and project management
- Superb information design abilities, fastidious and efficient production and optimization habits, and impeccable problem solving skills
- Excellent communication skills (written, verbal, and presentation) with a positive, helpful, and team-focused attitude
- An expert proficiency in Sketch, Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects is a bonus), and Abstract
- Strong portfolio with examples of recent digital projects demonstrating creative thinking and flawless execution
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