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Art Director: One of the highest paid jobs in the Arts


Art Director: One of the highest paid jobs in the Arts

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What is an Art Director?

What does an Art Director do?

What skills should an Art Director have?

How to become an Art Director

How much does an Art Director in the UAE earn?


What is an Art Director?

So, you're thinking about becoming an Art Director? Do you have an eye for visual design? Do you love getting involved with projects and working with people? If so, then becoming an art director might be the right career path for you! Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in  magazines, newspapers, on product packaging, and on film and television productions. They create the overall design for a project, and direct others who develop the artwork or layouts.

What does an Art Director do?

An art director typically oversees the work of other designers and artists who produce images for television, film, live performances, advertisements, or video games. They determine the overall style or tone for each project, and articulate their vision to artists who submit images, such as illustrations, graphics, photographs, charts and graphs, or stage and film sets. The art director will work with the art and design staff in advertising agencies, public relations firms, and book, magazine, or newspaper publishers to create designs and layouts. They also work with producers and directors of theatre, television, or film productions to oversee set designs.

Their work requires Art Directors to understand the design elements of projects, inspire other creative workers, and keep projects on budget and on time. Sometimes, they are responsible for developing budgets and timelines.

What skills should an Art Director have?

Although art directors are expected to have some knowledge of graphical design and production, it is not necessary for them to hand-render layouts or be able to draw because most of the preliminary work is done on computer.

Strong conceptual skills are needed as an art director, and to create something meaningful, the best thing to do is start with a strong idea, which is the backbone of commercial art. Good communication skills are also vital because your team has to have a thorough understanding of your vision; therefore you need to be able to explain it. Art directors are constantly thinking of new ideas, which means it is important to love what you do. It is also important to have developed a thick skin because in creative jobs, you need to be able to accept criticism, even if you do not agree with it.

Art directors work in a variety of industries, and the type of work they do varies somewhat with the industry. However, almost all art directors set the overall artistic style and visual image to be created for each project, and oversee a staff of designers, artists, photographers, writers or editors who create the individual works that make up the completed project.

How to become an Art Director

The typical working environment of an art director has plenty of social interaction. You will likely be working with customers, creative staff and have to select and work with teams. You will also be called upon to resolve issues over the direction of a project. The pace of work is usually pretty fast, and the hours can be long, while deadlines mean that you will need to be able to work under pressure. Securing yourself a good education will stand you in good stead for your future role. Effective instruction can set you on a path which will help you use your creative talents in a business context, which means that finding the right institute and the right course, taught by experienced professionals can truly offer you a competitive edge.

Istituto Marangoni, Dubai

In September 2022, International Design School Istituto Marangoni inaugurated its new campus in Dubai. A creative melting pot of Italian heritage, UAE tradition, and international influences, its campus is located inside the Dubai International Financial Centre, and offers a variety of undergraduate and professional courses in Fashion, and the various branches of design. All the courses are taught by the Institute’s team of professionals from Italy.

The school of design at Istituto Marangoni offers an exciting opportunity to fuse Italian expertise with local talent, with a view to shaping the future of the UAE fashion, design, and creative industries. Its strategic partnerships and international outlook make Istituto Marangoni the ideal place to develop your skills and learn from industry experts. With its unique network of international schools, Istituto Marangoni also offers enriching study abroad opportunities for students looking to broaden their horizons in every sense. We offer a wide range of courses, specifically, for Art Directors, we recommend a short course in Art in Fashion. 

For information and advice about this and any other course on offer, please feel free to   and one of our experts will be happy to guide you. 

How much does an Art Director in the UAE earn?

According to the latest data from, these are average salaries for an Art Director in United Arab Emirates, and include benefits such as housing and transport. Art Director salaries will vary depending on your experience, location, skills, and gender.


Average Annual Salary                                               232,400 AED

Average Monthly Salary                                                 19,366 AED

Lowest Annual Salary                                                119,900 AED

Lowest Monthly Salary                                                   9,991 AED

Highest Annual Salary                                                354,000 AED

Highest Monthly Salary                                                  29,500 AED


The  most influential factor is experience, as it stands to reason that more years of experience will result in a higher wage.

Average Salary by Experience Chart

0-2 Years


137,400 AED

2-5 Years


183,700 AED

5-10 Years


238,900 AED

10-15 Years


290,800 AED

15-20 Years


315,900 AED

20+ Years


332,100 AED



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