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Art editor

Art editors use images and words to decide what an online or printed magazine looks like.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Art editor jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As an art editor, you might:

  • design the layout of pages using graphics and photos
  • discuss your ideas with colleagues
  • manage freelance designers, illustrators and photographers
  • design the cover of the magazine
  • choose an overall look and style for each issue

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio or in an office.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

It may help to have a higher national diploma (HND), foundation degree or degree in a subject such as:

  • graphic design
  • illustration
  • fine art
  • photography
  • publishing

Work experience at university

Your creative skills will be as important to employers as your degree. It's important to get work experience and build a portfolio to show what you can do.

Your university careers service can help you find relevant work experience, internship and year placement opportunities.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could apply for a job as an assistant editor after completing a creative or media related course at college.

Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Photography
  • Level 3 National Diploma in Art and Design

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course
For more information

You could get into this job by joining a magazine as a graphic designer or picture editor.

You could then move on to become deputy art editor then editor.

Volunteering and work experience

You should get yourself known and build up your contacts in the industry to help find paid work.

To do this you could:

  • create a blog or build your online 'brand' through social media
  • build a website to showcase your work
  • find design opportunities with charities or student organisations
  • follow magazines on social media to find out about events, work experience and jobs

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs if you've got the right skills and experience. For specialist magazines, you may have an advantage if you have a special interest or background in the subject.

For example, an interest in science or architecture will be useful if you want to work on magazines covering those topics.

More information

Career tips

It's useful to get experience of print and digital work. Showing you can use up to date desktop publishing and computer graphics software will make your application stand out.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can also find out more about working in art, publishing and other creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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With experience, you could:become an art director; work at an advertising agency; become self employed as a freelance art editor; set up your own design agency

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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