Maybe you’ve seen the term art director in the credits of a movie, or on a call sheet, but you’re not quite sure what it means to be one. Whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker looking to learn more, or a graphic designer who wants to know how to become an art director, this post is for you. We’ll outline the art director job description by defining the role. Let’s jump into the basics.

Art Director Job Description

What does an art director do?

For those in branded content or those interested in making movies, knowing what the art director is responsible for is critical to the product’s success. 


What is an art director?

An art director is someone who creates and manages the overall design and visual style for websites, ad campaigns, magazines, newspapers, photoshoots, and movie and TV productions. While their duties vary depending on the industry they’re in, they set the general artistic tone, using images and visuals to bring concepts to life. They direct other designers to develop artwork and various layouts per project. 


  • Determine how to present concept visually 
  • Selecting which photos, art, or other elements to use
  • Develop overall style and communicate to team
  • Manage and supervise designers
  • Review and approve designs
  • Communicate with clients to develop artistic approach/style
  • Coordinate with all artistic departments
  • Develop budgets and timelines for project completion

As mentioned above, an art director job description varies depending on the industry. Let’s briefly see how. 

Movie/TV Production

Art directors collaborate with crew to determine what sets are needed for each scene. They are usually the production designer’s second-hand. On smaller sets and photoshoots, they can be one-in-the-same.

They also participate in hiring and supervising assistant art directors and other designers. 

Advertising Art Director

It’s the art director’s responsibility to ensure that the client’s intended message is delivered clearly and creatively to consumers. To do this, the art director directs and coordinates with designers until the images or visual style is reflective of client’s vision.

Publishing and Print

They determine the page layout, cover artwork, and overall visual style of magazines, books, and even online publications.

Art Director Job Description

Becoming an art director

If you want to become an art director for branded content, having a knowledge in graphic design is required. (Learn more about creating branded content here). Creating a strong portfolio can lead to incredible opportunities. But the role demands novel and innovative imagery everyday. Luckily, you can get more prolific with practice. 

But becoming an art director isn’t limited to the ability of creating magic behind a computer; it also demands people skills. 

Leadership and the ability to take criticism is vital. Whether this criticism is coming from the client or even your own design team. While executing and communicating your vision is part of the job, humility is too. Collaborating and determining the best imagery to match a client’s (or film’s) vision, is required to lead a team and do an effective job. The goal is to produce the best product possible. If you want some practical tips, check out our next article on text graphics.

Up Next

Best Text Graphic Trends

If you’re creating branded content for yourself, or a client, even films, you’ll need to know how to use text. Knowing the current trends  in text graphics and seeing why they work, might inspire your own designs. Check it out below. 

Up Next: Best Text Graphic Trends →
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