What Does An Art Director Do?
"I have always been very interested in art and I can proudly say that I make pretty good sketches and drawings. I am also adept at using computer programs to create my art work. I see myself growing old and still doing drawings. I looked at possible careers to pursue which will allow me to do what I love and found that a possible choice is that of becoming an art director. The designation sure sounds cool but can you please tell me what an art director really does?"
asked by Thomas D. from Juneau, Alaska
The overall design and style of the images in a print publication, product packaging and even in television shows and movies are decided to a great extent by the art director. This is a supervisory position and as such, you will have a team of people working under you.
In this position, you will be responsible for deciding how a concept can be represented on a publication or production so that the target audience will gravitate towards it. Thus, the art director will decide if images, painting or other elements will best represent the idea that the client wants to say.
As mentioned, the position of an art director is supervisory by nature. Part of your work will be to supervise the design staff that work under you. Depending on your instructions and the inspiration you give to your team, they will be coming up with designs, graphics, artwork and photography that will best illustrate the client’s concept. It will be your task to review these and then approve those which you find appropriate for a particular project.
You will need to coordinate the activities of your design team with that of the company’s other creative departments to ensure that there are no redundancies or overlap in the work.
A very integral part of the work of art director is talking with clients in order to understand what they want. Meeting with clients before the work commences is important inasmuch as you and your team will have to communicate the approach you intend to take about the project. When the concept is finished, the art director will then show the final designs to the clients to get their approval.
Although budgeting may seem already out of the scope of work an art director, this is still a part of your job. You will be developing a detailed spending plan as well as a schedule for finishing the project on time and within the set budget.
Art directors work in publishing, advertising and public relations and film industries and the nitty-gritty on the work done will depend on the industry. For example, if you happen to work in the publishing industry, your main task will be to manage the layout of the publication before it gets printed and circulated. For art directors who are in the advertising and public relations industry, the main task is to see to it that the client is getting his desired message to the company’s clients and consumers.
When an art director works in the film industry, the focus is on how the set should look before a scene is shot.