How to Get a Job as an Art Director
"When I talk to people looking to get into the field, I stress three things: 1. Grow your online presence, 2. Networking is essential, and 3. Learning doesn’t end with school," says Gogel. "Once you establish a brand or identity for yourself and you start to develop your own voice/style, you start to feel more confident about selling your skill to a potential employer. Show that off online with a strong portfolio, resume, and a developed LinkedIn profile clearly highlighting your experiences and strengths." Gogel also recommends researching potential companies and knowing the competition by following those brands on Twitter, taking on projects through connections, and being surrounded with other like-minded professionals either through events or by joining an organization. "Staying fresh and inspired is key," says Gogel. "There are continuing education classes, seminars, and online tutorials that can keep you up-to-date on new programs and media."
What is the Job Like?
"At most monthly magazines, you work on an issue two months before the actual month," says Gogel. "That means that you’re always going to press, proofing pages, looking at color proofs, fact-checking, and working with a copywriter on getting the right brand message across. I'm constantly emailing, going into meetings and brainstorming sessions, answering phone calls, directing entry- to senior-level designers, maintaining the morale of the department, creating a fun environment for the team, encouraging team work and creativity, interacting with management, meeting deadlines, following up on pending projects or assets, managing budgets, putting together timelines, keeping the project list up-to-date, creating cool identities for all of our programs, running the status meetings, thinking of new ways to push the envelope, trying to stay inspired (magazines, museums, blogs, etc.), reading competitive magazines, putting together some photo shoots, and gaining awareness of the market."
Gogel, whose hours are typically 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.—with the occasional all-nighter—also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. "I teach a class on typography at the School of Visual Arts once a week, and started my own creative jobs e-newsletter," she says. "I also play basketball, am on a few committee boards, joined a book club, and enjoy going to museums/cultural events. The things you do outside work will help you stand out and differentiate you from others, such as language skills, traveling, pro-bono projects. All of these things will hopefully help me open up my own 360-degree design agency one day."