How to become an Art Director?

Written by 90 Seconds
Last updated: October 4, 2023
How to become an Art Director?

The Art Director for a film or video project helps to turn artistic vision into cinematic reality.

Art Directors are responsible for working hand in hand with the Production Designer to bring a production its visual identity.

An Art Director may work on feature films, documentaries, television productions and advertising projects.

While many art direction skills are learned by gaining experience on the job, education and natural talent are foundational to success.

The best Art Directors cultivate a diverse skill set that includes the ability to work well with the Director and other staff, conceptualize an artistic vision, and bring it to fruition.

The ability to multitask, prioritize, lead and work with others, and fluidly navigate deadlines and budget considerations is crucial to success as an Art Director.

Play to your strengths

The skills required to be an effective film and video Art Director include:

Strong creative, visual, conceptual and artistic capacity

Knowledge of the principles of architecture, perspective and interior design

An understanding of the other componentss of film making such as camera work, editing, lighting, props and sound

Strong organizational, big-picture and leadership skills


The Art Director role is related to the following other positions in the film world and creative arts:
1. Art Department Assistant
2. Production Designer
3. Director
4. Set Designer
5. Storyboarding Expert
6. Theatre Production Design
7. Architecture, Interior Design and 3D Design

Be open to getting your foot in the door as an assistant or crew member working under an Art Director. Once you have proven yourself, you may be promoted or receive additional responsibilities. Some Art Directors might find themselves gravitating toward the roles of Production Designer or even becoming a Director. Follow your heart, push the limits of comfort zones, and find the perfect creative job for yourself in the world of film and video.