Art Directors

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Creative: 98
  • Supported: 82
  • Analytical: 58
  • Social: 52
  • Purpose: 51

What Art Directors Do

Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design of a project and direct others who develop artwork and layouts.

Work Environment

About 15 percent of art directors worked for advertising and public relations firms in 2014. Others worked for newspaper and magazine publishers, specialized design services firms, and motion picture and video industries. About half of art directors were self-employed in 2014.

How to Become an Art Director

Art directors need at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design subject and previous work experience. Depending on the industry, they may have worked as graphic designers, illustrators, copy editors, or photographers, or in another art or design occupation before becoming art directors.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Artists and related workers

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of art directors is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Art directors will continue to be needed to oversee the work of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and others who design artwork and layouts.

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    Growth & Trends

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    This occupation supported 74,800 jobs in 2012 and 74,600 jobs in 2014, reflecting a decline of 0.3%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 2.9% in 2022 to 77,000 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 75,200, compared with an observed value of 74,600, 0.8% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 2.4% in 2024 to 76,400 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 77,400 jobs for 2024, 1.3% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.