Can A Graphic Designer Become an Art Director?

If we talk about being a graphic designer, many designers have this question in mind Can A Graphic Designer Become an Art Director? The answer to this question largely depends on the industry or the company you work in

This question really points to two skill-sets that sometimes reside in different departments – one being more urgent – which can lead to confusion about how else these people might work together.

A good graphic designer will have a sense of color theory and typography, just as an art director will have an innate knowledge of illustrating composition frames and layouts.

Related Topic:  Do you have to be an artist to be a graphic designer?

Art directors and graphic designers work in a variety of different fields, but what these two jobs have in common is that they both deal with the art and layout of a project.

One possible misconception about art directors is that they need to be able to draw, sketch, paint, or do anything artistic. On the contrary; an art director’s job is to successfully design the flow of a project to make it aesthetically pleasing and communicative.

As far as the question is concerned, Can A Graphic Designer Become an Art Director? The fact is that art directors are responsible for the concept, theme, look, and feel of a visual piece, whereas graphic designers are more focused on their own projects rather than overseeing any co-workers’.

So if both jobs are pretty much working with art, why does one get promoted to the next level?

            It is important to note that each company has its own set of responsibilities for an art director, so the opportunities are different depending on where you work.

Many art directors have started off as graphic designers at their job and began moving up through the ranks until they were offered the opportunity to become an art director, and whether or not they accept this offer depends on how much time and effort they put into the position.

One way to increase the chances of becoming an art director is by gaining as much experience as possible as a graphic designer.

Working hard will pay off if you show dedication to your company by being enthusiastic and professional at all times, always meeting deadlines, and doing exceptional work, regardless of responsibility.

        Another way to get your foot in the door is by studying art or design (preferably both).

The more artistic experience you have, the better.

It’s also very advantageous to start learning design software such as Adobe creative suite, attending art and design panels and networking with professionals in the field.

        There is also a possibility that you won’t become an art director at all, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams entirely.

You can still be very successful at graphic design by becoming a freelancer to increase your chances of work, and also by attending networking events such as meet-ups or working with online graphic design communities like dribble.

            So, if you’re looking to become an art director at your company, remember that hard work will take you far; better work will take you even further.

And if it doesn’t turn out the way you’ve planned, it’s not the end of the world; just keep trying until you find something that truly makes you happy. By now you might have got an answer to your question: Can A Graphic Designer Become an Art Director? RIght?

So let’s move on to the next one.

Is an art director the same as a graphic designer?

Many people confuse a graphic designer and an art director. While they both work within the visual world, their roles are vastly different.

To clarify: Graphic design is a subset of design that deals with the creation and finalization of images that have been prepped for reproduction while art direction deals with the physical arrangement or visual organization of various components within a piece of work.

In short, art directors are responsible for the overall vision and design direction of a project while graphic designers are responsible for creating specific visual elements that will be used in the final product.

Since we have already discussed the answer to the question Can A Graphic Designer Become an Art Director? It’s time to discuss the responsibilities of each of the titles.

Artists have been interacting with various forms of media since time immemorial—from cave drawings to digital photo manipulation—graphic design and art direction are the continuations of that dialogue.

Responsibilities of an Art Director are:

  1. They will be part of the creative ideation process during meetings with team members and clients to decide what the project will be about.
  2. They will work with a client (and team members) to decide on the look and feel of the final product, deciding things like typeface and color scheme, etc.
  3. After acquiring relevant visual materials from relevant people (designers who have finished their jobs), they organize them into a pleasing and cohesive layout and occasionally modify the direction of the project (to be more aesthetically pleasing and hopefully thereby make a better product).
  4. They also might work with photographers, illustrators, and other people who contribute to the overall scope of the project.
  5. They will usually present their layouts/designs to clients by printing out physical copies or displaying work digitally.
  6. They will oversee the output of a product.
  7. The overall goal of an art director is to make a product as aesthetically pleasing as possible, whether it be using layout design to structure information, using color schemes to elicit certain moods, or designing forms that are both functional and engaging for consumers.

Responsibilities of Graphic Designers

Responsibilities of Graphic Designers

(You can find out more about their job descriptions here: is that they might do the following things on a project:

  1. They will sketch ideas and concepts to present to clients as part of the creative process for a project.
  2. They will be responsible for creating overall visual elements to a project by designing logos, headers, posters, etc.
  3. An example is that they might have been asked to design a poster for a new product and in this case, they would have to both create the layout for the poster as well as make sure all pertinent information is included.
  4. They will usually present their work either through a physical medium or digital means.
  5. The overall goal of a graphic designer is to create effective and engaging visual forms for consumers, whether it be through layout design, color schemes, information hierarchy, etc.

How do you become an art director?

To become an art director, you need to start as an art assistant or a graphic designer. They either work for independent art directors or they can assist art directors at advertising agencies.

One way to find a job as an art assistant is by submitting your resume directly to art directors whose work you like and that’s relevant to the kind of art you want to do.

You can also get a job as an art assistant by working your way up from art intern, art buyer, or art runner.

As an art director, sometimes called creative director (depending upon the company they work for), you work with copywriters and art buyers to create the look of ads for magazines and other print media.

As an art director, your work is overseen by art directors who are in charge of several art directors.

Art directors working together are called creative teams, but usually, there is one art director in charge.

Art direction has changed since the early days when art was hand-drawn and painted. Now art is created on computers using Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop software.

Requirements for art directors are typically a bachelor’s degree in art or another art-related field, like advertising or graphic design.

Many art directors also have master’s degrees in art direction or art design. Art directors must be creative and innovative because they create the look of advertisements.

Remember they often work late hours and weekends.

Art directors need to work well in groups and should be able to take criticism well. They must be organized and able to manage art assistants and other artistic staff.

Art directors also need good communication skills, excellent business-related knowledge, and a broad range of art and design knowledge.

To get into the art direction, you’ll need to gain art experience as we discussed above, you will have to start from the basic level, which you can do by completing art internships or art assistantships.

If art direction interests you, start networking with art directors on Linkedin and other platforms too such as Behance and Dribble. Keep your resume current and portfolio updated so that it fits the requirements of art directors’ needs. With dedication and hard work, you may become an art director.

Are creative and art directors the same?

There is no simple answer as it varies from company to company, agency to agency. In general, the creative director serves as a senior-level manager and decision-maker.

The art director reports directly to the creative director and works on projects assigned by him/her with direction coming from a creative brief or strategy for a specific campaign or project.

Art directors must work closely with the creative director to ensure projects stay on track and meet the clients’ expectations. Each position is distinct in responsibilities, skills, and education required.

The art director’s job is to supervise a designer/illustrator’s technical execution of a campaign or project—working within set parameters such as color palette, typeface, layout, logo usage, etc. T

The creative director manages all aspects of the client relationship, including supervising other creatives and project managers within his/her department.

The art director’s responsibilities are generally more client-oriented while the creative directors take a broader view of the agency as a whole.

I hope you got the answers to one of the most sought-after questions in the design community i.e Can A Graphic Designer Become an Art Director?

Israr Ahmed
Israr Ahmed

Israr Ahmed is the founder of the Happily Marketing blog. He is a professional graphic designer and a blogger with 6 years of experience in Advertising and Marketing. You can connect and talk to him on his Linkedin profile below!

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