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Career and Education Opportunities for Art Directors in Chicago, Illinois

If you want to be an art director, the Chicago, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 2,480 working art directors in Illinois; this should grow 4% to about 2,580 working art directors in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for art directors are expected to grow by about 11.7%. In general, art directors formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.

The average wage in the general category of Art and Design jobs is $20 per hour or $41,503 per year in Illinois, and an average of $22 per hour or $46,166 per year nationwide. Art directors work in a variety of jobs, including: advertising production manager, arts administrator, and product designer.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including eleven within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as an art director. Art directors usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years training to become an art director if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Art Director

In general, art directors formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.

Art directors formulate basic layout designs and presentation approaches and specify material details, such as style and size of type. They also talk with creative or production department heads to consider client requirements and presentation concepts and to direct creative efforts. Equally important, art directors have to develop custom illustrations or other graphic elements. They are often called upon to inspect and approve art materials and proofs of printed copy developed by staff members. They are expected to inspect illustrative material to establish if it conforms to standards and specifications. Finally, art directors talk with clients to establish objectives and presentation approaches, styles, and techniques.

Every day, art directors are expected to be able to be creative and generate new ideas. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for art directors to mark up and complete layouts and write typography instructions to ready materials for typesetting or printing. They are often called upon to hire and direct staff members who develop layout concepts into art layouts or who ready layouts for printing. They also oversee own accounts and projects, working within budget and scheduling requirements. They are sometimes expected to attend photo shoots and printing sessions to insure that the products needed are obtained. Somewhat less frequently, art directors are also expected to ready detailed storyboards showing sequence and timing of story development for television production.

Art directors sometimes are asked to negotiate with printers and estimators to establish what services will be performed. and coordinate with creative directors to optimize layout solutions. And finally, they sometimes have to attend photo shoots and printing sessions to insure that the products needed are obtained.

Like many other jobs, art directors must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Audio Visual Technician. Set up or set up and operate audio and video equipment including microphones, sound speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, recording equipment, connecting wires and cables, sound and mixing boards, and related electronic equipment for concerts, sports events, meetings and conventions, presentations, and news conferences. May also set up and operate associated spotlights and other custom lighting systems.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Industrial Designer. Develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Public Relations Specialist. Engage in promoting or creating good will for individuals, groups, or organizations by writing or selecting favorable publicity material and releasing it through various communications media. May prepare and arrange displays, and make speeches.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Art Director Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated twenty-seven and ten students respectively in 2008.

Westwood College-Chicago Loop - Chicago, IL

Westwood College-Chicago Loop, 17 N State St-Ste 300, Chicago, IL 60602. Westwood College-Chicago Loop is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 685 students and an admission rate of 62%. Westwood College-Chicago Loop has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated three students in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated nine students in 2008.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has 2 areas of study related to Art Director. They are:

  • Graphic Design, bachelor's degree which graduated 86 students in 2008.
  • Intermedia/Multimedia, one to two year.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has an associate's degree program in Intermedia/Multimedia which graduated one student in 2008.

Westwood College-O'Hare Airport - Chicago, IL

Westwood College-O'Hare Airport, 8501 W. Higgins Road Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60634. Westwood College-O'Hare Airport is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 676 students and an admission rate of 48%. Westwood College-O'Hare Airport has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated two students in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has an associate's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated eight students in 2008.

Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Art Director. They are:

  • Graphic Design, one to two year and bachelor's degree which graduated three and eighty-three students respectively in 2008.
  • Intermedia/Multimedia, bachelor's degree which graduated 22 students in 2008.

International Academy of Design and Technology - Chicago, IL

International Academy of Design and Technology, One North State Street - Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60602-3300. International Academy of Design and Technology is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 2,080 students. International Academy of Design and Technology has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated four and twenty-seven students respectively in 2008.

Calumet College of Saint Joseph - Whiting, IN

Calumet College of Saint Joseph, 2400 New York Ave, Whiting, IN 46394. Calumet College of Saint Joseph is a small college located in Whiting, Indiana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,147 students. Calumet College of Saint Joseph has a bachelor's degree program in Intermedia/Multimedia which graduated six students in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg - Schaumburg, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, 1000 Plaza Drive Ste. 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4913. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg is a small school located in Schaumburg, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,257 students and an admission rate of 47%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg has a less than one year and a bachelor's degree program in Graphic Design which graduated four and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Graphic Communication Manager: The In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association's (IPMA) Certified Graphic Communications Manager (CGCM) designation was created in 1976 to establish a professional standard of proficiency for the in-house graphic arts and printing management profession.

For more information, see the International Publishing Management Association website.

LICENSES

ART DIRECTOR, GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.