UX Designer Vs Art Director

Those interested in working in the field of design may want to consider a career as a UX designer or an art director. This article compares these two careers and provides helpful information, such as salary and education requirements, for both.

Comparing UX Designers to Art Directors

A UX designer, or user experience designer, creates media that is functional and easy for users to navigate or pull information from. Art directors have similar job responsibilities, but they concern themselves more with conveying a concept artistically rather than making sure a project is easy to use. Below is some vital information on these two careers, as well as a comparison of them.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)
UX Designer Bachelor's degree $72,053* (for all UX designers - 2017) 1%** (for all graphic designers)
Art Director Bachelor's degree $89,820** (for all art directors - 2016) 2%**

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of UX Designers vs. Art Directors

Both of these positions may be vital to a variety of design project, including websites, magazines and newspapers. UX designers want users' experience to be easy and intuitive. They may work with art directors on the overall concept, but the art director works more as a supervisor rather than a designer. The art director's main task is to demonstrate a concept through a visual display using teams and the latest in design software.

UX Designer

User experience designers work to make the user experience of a specific demographic as attractive and friendly as possible. They are responsible for making interactive designs accessible, functional and aesthetically pleasing. From mock-ups to the final product, form and concept must be consistent and united. In many cases UX designers have some in-depth knowledge of psychology and sociology in order to figure out what their users want. They also need to be skilled with various design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. With job experience, UX designers can advance to manager or director positions.

Job responsibilities of a UX designer include:

  • Utilizing computer software and other digital materials
  • Working with art teams, clients, engineers and product managers
  • Finding solutions to make user experience better
  • Performing user testing to enhance or edit products
  • Documenting each stage of the design process

Art Director

Art directors are the visual eye on magazine layouts, film and video productions, or video games. After consulting clients about the desired theme or concept for a particular project, art directors are responsible for designing the overall layout and working with artists to curate images that will convey the concept to viewers. Many art directors work for magazines or newspapers, but some focus their skills on set design for theater productions, movies or television shows. Most employers require candidates to have at least five years of experience in an art or design field, such as editing, photography or graphic design.

Job responsibilities of an art director include:

  • Researching ideas to determine the best visuals
  • Working with photographers, visual directors and artists
  • Coordinating activities between departments
  • Creating budgets and timelines for activities

Related Careers

Like UX designers, web developers use special software to create appealing layouts, but they focus solely on websites. If you're interested in an art director career, you might also be interested in a career as an illustrator, working on the storyboards of a film or illustrating characters for an interactive game.

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