What Does An Art Director Do?

And how do you get a job as one?

Have you ever wondered about the work that goes into the overall look and feel of a magazine or lookbook? When it comes to crafting a flawless brand identity, graphics, photographs, illustrations and writing, all from different artists, need to be fused to fit together, and that’s where the art director comes in.

First of all, it should be disclaimed that an art director is not exclusive to the publishing or fashion businesses, but can be hired in television, film, advertisement or live performances; basically anywhere that makes use of visual presentation. For the sake of Couturesque, however, we’ll be sticking to art directors who are hired to work for publishers, since that tends to be their most common role in the fashion industry.

The art director is responsible for the visual style of the publication, and it is their job to shape the overall design of the projects featured. Publications typically make use of work created by many different contributors, and the art director oversees the development of artwork and layouts, then edits and approves the finished work. Essentially, it is up to the art director to visualize the finished product by understanding the written pieces and the designs, and combining them in the best way possible in order to
seamlessly guide the audience through the magazine.

To a certain extent, the job contains elements of management, as the art director is a boss (literally and figuratively), and needs to be able to direct, critique, and adjust other employees and their work. Communication is key to maintaining a healthy professional relationship with your colleagues. More important than being a boss, though, is being a leader. As an art director, leadership skills are important, and rather than simply directing your employees, you have the opportunity to inspire them and set a good example. It goes without saying that an art director needs to be creatively inclined, but staying on top of news and movements within your field of work is important as well, as the constant stream of new media brings along an endless supply of visual tendencies and trends to interpret and incorporate in your work.

Soooo, how do you land the job? Just like the majority of jobs in the media industry nowadays, there isn’t one specific way. Typically, a Bachelor's Degree in Art or Design is a prerequisite, and from there on, you just have to take Riri’s advice and work, work, work, work, work, work. Work experience as any kind of artist or designer is an advantage, and depending on the industry, most art directors tend to work about 5 years in one position before moving on up to a directional job. 

What are your fashion career aspirations?  Send us a tweet @couturesquemag and maybe you'll us spotlight it soon.

If you're artistically inclined and feeling inspired, check out our interview with graphic artist Marleigh Culver.  Then, learn how to handle the stress of competing for a job in fashion over here (and take a deep breath while you're at it).

Main Image by @jessicavwalsh

WHO: Katarina, Sr. Fashion Market Contributor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: Copenhagen  
OBSESSED WITH: Satin PJ shirts
LISTENING TO: Highlights - Kanye
CAN BE FOUND AT: @katarinajulie

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief