Commercial Art Director  What They Do

Just the Facts


Formulates design concepts and presentation approaches for visual communications media, such as print, broadcasting, and advertising. Directs workers engaged in art work or layout design.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Visual Arts pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Formulates basic layout design or presentation approach and specify material details, such as style and size of type, photographs, graphics, animation, video, and sound.
  • Manages own accounts and projects, working within budget and scheduling requirements.
  • Confers with creative, art, copywriting, or production department heads to discuss client requirements and presentation concepts and to coordinate creative activities.
  • Presents final layouts to clients for approval.
  • Reviews and approves art materials, copy materials, and proofs of printed copy developed by staff members.
  • Works with creative directors to develop design solutions.
  • Creates custom illustrations or other graphic elements.
  • Confers with clients to determine objectives, budget, background information, and presentation approaches, styles, and techniques.
  • Reviews illustrative material to determine if it conforms to standards and specifications.
  • Negotiates with printers and estimators to determine what services will be performed.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Advertising Production Manager -- Directs all tasks and staff involved in producing advertising in various media, including print, television, recordings or the internet.
  • Presentation Specialist -- Works with the presenters and marketing to create PowerPoint presentations that will clearly express the information that the company wants to get across, while also appealing to the audience aesthetically and persuasively.