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Sales & marketing

Advertising art director

Art directors design the visual side of advertising campaigns for all kinds of media including film, TV, web or print.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 4% more Advertising art director jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

You could:

  • work closely with a copywriter to create original ideas that fit your client's brief
  • produce storyboards or sketches of your ideas
  • present the ideas to the agency’s creative director and account team
  • help present ideas to the client
  • make any changes that the client asks for
  • hire graphic designers, artists, photographers or film companies to produce the artwork or TV ads
  • choose studios or locations and attend photo or film shoots
  • make sure that budgets and deadlines are met
  • oversee the final editing of the finished adverts

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in an office or at a client's business.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • graduate trainee scheme

Employers will often expect you to have a foundation degree, higher national diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • graphic design
  • advertising design
  • illustration
  • fine art

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could do a junior advertising creative, advanced apprenticeship which would give you some of the skills and knowledge for this role. With experience you could work your way up to art director level.

The apprenticeship typically takes 18 months to complete as a mix of learning in the workplace and study.

For more information

You can start as a junior creative to develop your skills on the job and work your way up through training and promotion.

Volunteering and work experience

You could get some experience before applying for your first job. This will give you a better understanding of the industry and is a good way to make useful contacts.

You can contact agencies directly to ask about placements, and make industry contacts through relevant groups on social networking sites like LinkedIn. You can get more advice on how to approach advertising agencies from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Other routes

In larger advertising agencies, you may be trained through a structured graduate scheme, if you have a relevant degree.

More information

Career tips

Your creativity and ability in art and design are the most important things to many employers.

When looking for jobs, you'll need to show a portfolio of examples of your creative work. Some agencies recruit creative teams rather than just individuals. You could work together with a copywriter and together create finished concepts you can pitch.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in advertising from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and Discover Creative Careers.

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With experience, you could progress to senior art director or creative director.

You could also work freelance or set up your own agency.

Some art directors move into directing for TV or film.

Your creativity and ability in art and design are the most important things to many employers.

When looking for jobs, you'll need to show a portfolio or 'book' of your work to potential employers, as you'll be employed on the strength of your artwork and ideas.

You can find out more about becoming careers in advertising from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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