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Art Directors

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 and direct others who develop artwork or layouts. Show Details

Duties

Art directors typically do the following: 

  • Determine how best to represent a concept visually
  • Determine which photographs, art, or other design elements to use
  • Develop the overall look or style of a publication, an advertising campaign, or a theater, television, or film set
  • Supervise design staff
  • Review and approve designs, artwork, photography, and graphics developed by staff members 
  • Talk to clients to develop an artistic approach and style
  • Coordinate activities with other artistic or creative departments
  • Develop detailed budgets and timelines
  • Present designs to clients for approval

Art directors typically oversee the work of other designers and artists who produce images for television, film, live performances, advertisements, or video games. They determine the overall style or tone desired for each project and articulate their vision to artists who submit images, such as illustrations, graphics, photographs, charts and graphs, or stage and movie sets.

Art directors work with art and design staffs in advertising agencies, public relations firms, and book, magazine, or newspaper publishers to create designs and layouts. They also work with producers and directors of theater, television, or movie productions to oversee set designs. Their work requires them to understand the design elements of projects, inspire other creative workers, and keep projects on budget and on time. Sometimes, they are responsible for developing the budgets and timelines. 

Art directors work in a variety of industries, and the type of work they do varies somewhat with the industry. However, almost all art directors set the overall artistic style and visual image to be created for each project, and oversee a staff of designers, artists, photographers, writers, or editors who are responsible for creating the individual works that collectively make up a completed product.

The following are some specifics of what art directors do in different industries:

In publishing, art directors typically oversee the page layout of newspapers and magazines. They also choose the cover art for books and periodicals. Often, this work includes Web publications.

In advertising and public relations, art directors ensure that their clients’ desired message and image is conveyed to consumers. Art directors are responsible for the overall visual aspects of an advertising or media campaign and may coordinate the work of other artistic or design staff, such as graphic designers.

In movie production, art directors collaborate with directors to determine what sets will be needed for the film and what style or look the sets should have. They hire and supervise a staff of assistant art directors or set designers to complete designs.

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers create visual concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They help to make an organization recognizable by selecting color, images, or logo designs that represent a particular idea or identity to be used in advertising and promotions. Show Details

Duties

Graphic designers typically do the following:

  • Meet with clients or the art director to determine the scope of a project
  • Advise clients on strategies to reach a particular audience
  • Determine the message the design should portray
  • Create images that identify a product or convey a message
  • Develop graphics and visual or audio images for product illustrations, logos, and websites
  • Create designs either by hand or using computer software packages
  • Select colors, images, text style, and layout
  • Present the design to clients or the art director
  • Incorporate changes recommended by the clients into the final design
  • Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them

Graphic designers combine art and technology to communicate ideas through images and the layout of web screens and printed pages. They may use a variety of design elements to achieve artistic or decorative effects. They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Graphic designers work with both text and images. They often select the type, font, size, color, and line length of headlines, headings, and text. Graphic designers also decide how images and text will go together on a page or screen, including how much space each will have. When using text in layouts, graphic designers collaborate closely with writers who choose the words and decide whether the words will be put into paragraphs, lists, or tables.

Graphic design is becoming increasingly important in the sales and marketing of products. Therefore, graphic designers, also referred to as graphic artists or communication designers, often work closely with people in advertising and promotions, public relations, and marketing.

Frequently, designers specialize in a particular category or type of client. For example, some create credits for motion pictures, while others work with print media and create signs or posters.

Graphic designers also need to keep up to date with the latest software and computer technologies to remain competitive.

Some individuals with a background in graphic designers teach in design schools, colleges, and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

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