A bachelor's degree in art or fine arts can provide the educational foundation for a career as an assistant art director. Those interested in becoming an assistant art director should opt for degree programs that focus more on art history and studio art, as opposed to a program that emphasizes studio work.
An assistant art director is a junior-level creative professional who helps plan and execute art, design and other visual elements in magazines, newspapers, books, advertisements, websites and other printed and digital visual communications. Working with other artists and designers, they report to the main art director and take orders on the visual direction of projects. A few years' experience and a relevant bachelor's degree are typically required to become an assistant art director, and job competition is strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), art director positions are most frequently found in the publishing and advertising industries. Prospective assistant art directors can also find work in design firms and in the motion picture and video industry.
|Required Education||Relevant bachelor's degree|
|Additional Requirements||Some experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||1% (for art directors)|
|Median Salary (2019)**||$48,613 for assistant art directors|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Payscale.com.
Job Duties for Assistant Art Directors
As a junior-level position, the assistant art director may have more routine duties, such as basic design or clerical work. They may also be tasked with supervising and coordinating illustrators, photographers, designers or videographers, and reviewing the portfolios of potential freelancers. In addition, they may help the art director in deciding what photographs and artwork to use in publications or shows.
Education and Career Requirements
According to the BLS, at least a bachelor's degree is required to become an art director. Relevant bachelor's degrees, in arts or fine arts, may be earned in liberal arts college programs, requiring courses like English and natural science in addition to art history and studio art. Many art and design schools also offer relevant Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, however, that focus more on studio work.
According to Payscale.com, assistant art directors had a median salary of $48,613 per year as of September 2019. This is compared in the same time frame to senior art directors, who earned a median salary of $81,517 per year.
Assistant art directors may perform clerical tasks and may also be involved in reviewing the work of freelancers. Assistant art directors may also be involved in decisions about which art pieces to use in a show or forthcoming publication that they're working on.