Assistant Art Director Job Description
Assistant art directors work at the entry level, providing support to the art director within their company or agency. This job involves commissioning artwork, problem-solving issues as they arise, and providing administrative support. This position is usually worked full time in an office-based agency environment. Assistant art directors should be able to take criticism and direction well, have demonstrable creative skills, and be able to work well under pressure. This job is well suited to people who have a creative mindset, are comfortable working with computers and image editing programs, and enjoy brainstorming innovative ideas for clients or projects.
Assistant Art Director Duties and Responsibilities
The type of organization an assistant art director works for will determine the exact roles and responsibilities they take on. Based on job listings we analyzed, an assistant art director’s duties typically involve:
Complete Administrative Tasks
A key part of an assistant art director’s role is supporting the art director, so they take on administrative tasks such as responding to emails and liaising with clients or external agencies.
Plan and Execute Projects
Assistant art directors plan design tasks and ensure they’re carried out to a high standard. This involves talking to clients to develop the right approach or style and coordinating with other departments within the company to ensure everyone is working to the same brief.
Review Illustrator Portfolios
Assistant art directors review portfolios of designers and illustrators on behalf of the art director, liaising with them beforehand and providing comments or feedback.
Assistant art directors work with the art director to assist them in choosing which photographs and artwork will feature in different publications or shows.
Supervise Team Members
Assistant art directors oversee illustrators, designers, and videographers to ensure that all elements of a project meet the necessary deadlines.
Assistant Art Director Skills and Qualifications
Assistant art directors should be creative and organized with excellent communication skills in order to act as a liaison between the art director and other departments or clients. Typically, employers require a bachelor’s degree in an art-related subject and several years’ experience, as well as the following abilities:
- Teamwork – projects require group effort to reach completion, so assistant art directors need to work well with colleagues and clients on team tasks
- Attention to detail – assistant art directors need strong attention to detail to spot inaccuracies in work and ensure that work is consistently produced at a high standard
- Decision-making abilities – assistant art directors often coordinate with illustrators or designers to review portfolios, so they need good decision-making skills
- Organization skills – an assistant art director assumes many routine administrative tasks to support the art director, which requires strong organization skills
- Creativity – brainstorming innovative ideas and suggestions is essential for this creative job, so assistant art directors need an inventive and imaginative approach to their work
Tools of the Trade
Assistant art directors regularly use the following tools:
- Image editing software (Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign)
Assistant Art Director Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become an assistant art director is a bachelor’s degree in fine arts or a related subject, as well as several years’ experience in the field. Relevant skills can often be earned in liberal arts college programs, such as internships. Assistant art directors should also have demonstrated proficiency with image editing software like Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
Assistant Art Director Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for assistant art directors is nearly $47,000. Assistant art directors in the 10th percentile earn around $34,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $75,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that can reach up to $4,000 thanks to bonus structures and profit-sharing opportunities.
Prior experience impacts the pay level for this role, and many employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this career field will grow by 5 percent through 2026.
Below we’ve collected some of the best resources to help you develop a successful career as an assistant art director:
From Photos to Art with Photoshop – this book doesn’t require previous knowledge of Photoshop, but still provides a comprehensive look at the various techniques and tools within it. From foundational chapters to the fun tricks that make using this program so much fun, it’s great for assistant art directors looking to hone their skills
Art Directors Handbook of Professional Magazine Design: Classic Techniques and Inspirational Approaches – this guide examines how ideas can be incorporated into contemporary designs to transform them into instant classics and also discusses the design challenges art directors face and the solutions they’ve come up with
Art Director Group – with nearly 20,000 members, this LinkedIn group is a dedicated space for art directors and others in the field to connect with creatives, collaborate on different ideas, and share their work and knowledge
“How to Become an Art Director” – this blog post from Creative Bloq discusses the skills needed to become an art director and the different paths to employment. The site itself also keeps readers up-to-date with the latest technology and industry news, so it’s worth bookmarking as a handy reference
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