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Job Seeker’s Toolkit for Art Directors

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Are you interested in what it takes to become an Art Director? This job requires an extensive skill set that goes beyond graphic design chops. Find out all the details below!

What is an Art Director?

Art Directors are responsible for unifying the visual expression of a brand or product. The role of an Art Director goes beyond physical appearance as they think critically about the optimal way to present information about a brand or product. They are responsible for creating the concepts and ideation for digital and traditional marketing collateral. A large part of an Art Director's responsibility is to support marketing teams by bringing ideas to life through creation and execution.

What skills do Art Directors need?

As far as actual art and graphic design skills go, Art Directors should be advanced with Mac products, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Creative Suite with emphasis on Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Bridge. Typography is also a key component to an Art Director's skill set and having web design skills is definitely an added bonus.Art Directors are really storytellers. They should possess the creative ability to tell brand stories that resonate with customers across a variety of industries and mediums. Creative strategy is hugely important and the ability to analyze and optimize campaigns for past, present, and future projects. Art Directors will have to work with multiple stakeholders to understand the scope of a project and be able to deliver quality work that's on brand and on message.

What experience do Art Directors need?

One way to get experience as an Art Director is by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design or Fine Arts from a credible institution. In addition, having 3-7 years of hands-on design experience is necessary. During this time you will be mentoring Junior Designers, sitting in with Art Directors and Creative Directors on strategy meetings, and working on concepting. Previous experience directing photo shoots, videos, and omnichannel marketing are great additions.

What are hiring managers looking for in Art Direction Talent?

Today most hiring managers look for an Art Director with an online portfolio that shows your distinct visual design skills and experience with rich media. Hiring managers want to know your style can reflect the brand's DNA through layout, design, and typography. Leadership skills are extremely important, so hiring managers will most likely look for candidates with experience managing more junior designers.

How to succeed as an Art Director:

Collaboration is a major key to success for Art Directors because they often support other departments within the organization. Delivering what clients want on time and within budget is also key. At the same time, a stand out Art Director pushes the limits of creativity while staying within brand guidelines.

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