Art directors are creative and highly skilled although some start in other agency positions. With the right education, art-related experience, and a well-rounded portfolio, creatives can get well-paid jobs.
But jobs are in demand, and to stand out from the crowd, you need to create a solid resume that shows your talents are exceptional. We are here to help you. You will find tips and a full resume sample below.
Resume objective for art directors
There’s no hard-and-fast rule that says art directors must write a resume objective, but if you get it right, it will likely be what gets you noticed.
Because art directors need to be both creative and well-organized, a short, compelling resume objective, at the top of your resume, will show that you have this mix and a will to succeed.
According to the recruitment site, Indeed, a resume objective is particularly useful if you are making a career change (for instance from graphic designer to art director), moving to a new geographic area, or if you are new to the job market.
An art director plays a leadership role and so you should think of strong, positive adjectives to use in your objective.
Their advice is to keep the objective short and concise and to tailor it to the position you are applying for. Use it to set the stage for the rest of your resume and be sure to include your strongest attributes.
Make sure your objective indicates how you will add value as an employee.
Enthusiastic, experienced art director with strong collaboration skills. Talented design-thinker able to create solutions across a wide range of media platforms. Thrives acting as a design executor and leader wearing multiple hats in a fast-paced environment.
Resume skills for art directors
Apart from needing a strong educational background in art and design, art directors need good organizational skills.
According to ZipRecruiter, the top skills mentioned in job descriptions for art directors are digital, graphic design, and illustration design. These comprise more than 40% of the top keywords used by employers.
Adobe products, particularly Photoshop, InDesign, and the Adobe Creative Suite, which also includes Illustrator, are also highly valued.
Other required skills include photography, social media, and typography even though they recur less frequently.
There are, of course, other programs that art directors can use which are sometimes called for, including Adobe After Effects and Premiere.
Creativity | Graphic and illustration design | Digital | HTML | Adobe Creative Suite | Social Media | Communication and organizational | Collaboration | Visualization | Visual analysis | Innovation
Art directors’ work experience
Previous work experience is essential for art directors. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is zero on-the-job training for an art director. But, many of them previously worked in related fields including illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, and even copy editors.
This means that even if you have never worked as an art director as such, as long as you have experience in other art or design positions, you will be able to boost your resume by listing this experience.
The Bureau also states that the employment of art directors is predicted to decline 2% from 2019 to 2029.
The reason they give is that print publications are losing ground to other forms of media. Of course, traditionally, art directors, who are responsible for the visual style and images in packaging and print, have worked for public relations and advertising companies, magazine and newspaper publishers, specialized design services, and motion picture and video industries.
We researched art directors’ resumes and found that most boasted work history in other related fields including graphic design and copy directing.
This means that there will be increasing competition for jobs in the industry, and competition in the industry has always been fierce!
Sample Work Experience
The Squad Co.
Art Director, 2015 – 2020
Led simultaneous projects using a variety of creative formats. Drove creative team projects and guided the art department’s creative direction. Oversaw the execution of high-quality productions.
- Our client base increased more than 30% under my directorship
- Led more than 500 successful projects between 2015 and 2020
- Won the company’s Best Storyteller award for my ability to distill complex “stories” into visually appealing creative products
- Rewarded with substantial salary increases annually
The Art Agency
Junior Art Director, 2014 – 2015
Worked with the creative director and senior art directors producing artwork. Used design and production skills to translate established brand and campaign concepts into various different formats.
- Researched creative, digital, and media trends and produced regular reports for the creative director
- Assisted my copy partner analyzing and interpreting data and coming up with graphic opportunities
- Together, we generated and executed hundreds of creative concepts from design to the finished product
- Regularly congratulated for my innovative ideas and marketing strategy suggestions
The UPS Store
Graphic Designer, 2011 – 2014
Developed creative concepts and built graphic solutions for customers. Prepared and completed creative concepts, graphic design, pre-press work, and compiled the technical specs for jobs.
- Worked in all the popular Adobe platforms: InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and After Effects
- Dealt directly with customers
- Helped with personnel management including recruiting, training, scheduling, and coaching new staff members
- Managed Center maintenance in terms of cleanliness, safety, and organization
Art directors’ education
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, art directors must have at least a bachelor’s degree in an art-of-design-related subject, as well as work experience.
Suitable degrees include a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art and Design, or a bachelor’s degree in visual arts or graphic design. Generally, a BFA and graphic design degree will provide more intense training while a straightforward BA will have fewer studio course requirements.
According to the University of Michigan’s Career Center, even though visual art falls into two categories, fine art and design, because all artists are designers and all designers are artists, the development of concepts and skills are common to both.
Art and design students are encouraged to get off-campus employment while they are studying and to apply for a summer internship before they enter the job market. An internship may be viewed as education and work experience, so will look good on your resume.
We surveyed numerous job posts to see what sort of educational requirements employers call for. A bachelor’s degree was commonly called for, especially for junior jobs. Experience and technical skills were more commonly highlighted for more senior positions.
University of Buffalo College of Arts and Science
MA in Visual Studies, 2019 – 2020
- Thesis on How Visual Art Shapes up in the Age of Television
School of Visual Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2015 – 2018
Full Sail University
Bachelor of Science in Digital Arts & Design, 2015 – 2016
- 2D & 3D art theory
Since it is common practice for art directors to have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree, additional short courses aren’t usually necessary. However, as we have discussed, art directors often move to the position from other art-related jobs.
This is where short courses can be mega-useful, especially those that are available online.
According to Indeed, the most common additional courses art directors take are website design and HTML classes, particularly if they are required to work with digital media or online.
Other likely options include the many computer programs that go with the job, including Adobe After Effects and Premiere, and of course, the popular Adobe Creative Suite.
There are also online courses available that include beginners’ courses for art direction, creative direction, creative direction for digital media, retail display and design, art direction, and art direction for advertising.
If you have any weak points don’t hesitate to do courses that will strengthen your skills and ability to get the best possible job in the industry.
Of course, courses will also look good on your resume, and show how dedicated you are to the industry.
- HTML and website design
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Adobe Premiere
- Art Direction for Advertising (short online course through University Arts London – UAL)
Art directors don’t need certification or any form of licensing to get hired. But adding a certification to your resume is a good tactic.
If the idea appeals to you, why not get certified by Adobe for Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign?
You’ll need to do the exams via an Adobe Certified Authorized Testing Center, but for someone who knows, understands, and works with the programs, it’s a cinch.
The entry-level certification is for an Adobe Certificate Associate (ACA). A more advanced exam will certify you as an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE).
Complete art director resume sample
We sampled a number of art director resumes and job posts and chose this one to help you write a tailored resume for the position. We hope you will use it for inspiration.
As you can see, the job description is for a multifaceted art director with great ideas. While there is no prerequisite for the successful candidate to have previously worked as an art director, the company does want someone with an appropriate four-year degree and at least five years of experience.
The only specified qualification is the need for “command” of the Adobe Creative Suite.
Experience for this job is pivotal. They want someone with agency experience and experience working face-to-face with clients, who will be able to pitch ideas and favorably influence results.
Experienced art director with a BFA in graphic design. Good communicator with a penchant for collaboration. Extensive experience using all elements of Adobe Creative Suite. Keeps to deadlines and communicates well. Loves to dig into problem-solving issues.
Creative and persuasive | Strategic worker | Communicative team player | Video and still photography | Graphic and illustration design | Adobe Creative Suite | Multitasks | Deliverables: digital, TV, print, OOH advertising, social media, web, social media | HTML
Associate Art Director, 2018 – Current
Responsible for creating ideas and concepts that evolve into successful visual solutions. Ongoing contribution to collaborative brainstorming and concept development. Collaborates with internal teams including the creative and art directors.
- My design concepts are always met with enthusiasm by team members and clients.
- I have mentored six designers and helped them to grow their roles within the company
- The company’s client base has increased by 25% since I joined the company
- I won an in-house competition in 2019 that involved creating the best new brand for an existing customer
More bullets here
Art Director, 2016 – 2017
Responsible for creating visual concepts for clients and relaying them to the creative director for action. Work involved all media platforms including digital communications, marketing material, print advertising, animation, and branding.
- Led the development and execution of creative concepts and style guides
- Developed ideas and concepts in collaboration with copywriters
- Dubbed the best in-house salesman in the company due to assertive ideas and an ability to sell ideas to peers and clients
- Adhered to schedules, deadlines, and budgets 100%
Junior Art Director, 2014 – 2016
Worked with copywriters, agency art directors, and creative directors collaboratively conceiving and designing advertising and marketing campaigns across various media including print, digital, video, and direct mail.
- Studied HTML5 to improve my motion graphics skills
- Worked on multiple campaigns across the full media range
- Mentored by the lead art director
- Participated in more than 150 campaign concept development projects from brief to client presentation
- Adobe Certified Expert
Central Washington University
BFA Graphic Design, 2010 – 2013
- Majored in digital and print media
- Adobe Premiere and After Effects, 2014
When it comes to your resume, you are the one who is going to market your skills, abilities, expertise, and experience – nobody else. But the way you do it needs to dovetail with the needs of the job you are chasing. Make sure you identify these and address them.
- Art directors’ jobs are primarily creative but they also require strengths in terms of organization and leadership.
- The profession demands specific educational achievements, usually at least a four-year degree. Technical and computer skills are also essential. Unlike many other professions, certifications are not required.
- Companies employing art directors want people with strong verbal and written communication skills. They also want candidates who show initiative, have experience and demonstrate a strong work ethic. When you craft your resume keep these requirements at the top of your mind.
Tips from Experts
“A strong art director needs to have impressive design skills and experience, but also leadership abilities in order to guide and mentor an entire department of junior designers. That’s what will catch the eye of hiring managers.” – Monster recruitment company
“Never ever stop learning as there are unlimited facets to this job. Be a sponge and learn from every opportunity. Be hungry for education!” – Danielle Becker, former graphic designer, turned art director, now creative director of Leftys Right Mind
“Beyond understanding the principles of design, I believe the most important skills are an ability to effectively communicate a message or story. At the end of the day, we are storytellers – crafting campaigns and experiences that connect to the consumer.” – Sarah VonderHaar, junior art director at Motion, the Chicago marketing services agency
Whether this is the first art director job you hope to get, or you are upping your game to get a more senior position, if you start with a strong, convincing resume you are in with a fighting chance.
Art directors’ jobs are in high demand, and there is lots of competition from other creative candidates.
Use the information supplied in this article as best as you can. Good luck, we hope you’re on your way to creating a winning resume.