How Do I Become an Interactive Art Director?

Jennifer Voight

To become an interactive art director, a person should have innate creative ability, management skills, and knowledge of various interactive media software. A successful interactive art director will also have, in most cases, at least a four-year college degree, with a master’s degree being a plus. Additionally, a person frequently needs extensive experience in web advertising or digital media. It’s also important to be an effective manager, work well as a part of a creative team, and be able to communicate creative ideas and concepts well to others.

An art director is typically expected to be familiar with color theory.
An art director is typically expected to be familiar with color theory.

The field of interactive art includes the creation of web pages, animation, and electronic advertising media that engages the viewer directly and sometimes requires a response. More competitive companies are finding that their advertising budgets are best spent by attempting to engage and attract website viewers into purchasing products. Most interactive art directors begin in more traditional advertising fields, like graphic design of print materials, and later move into electronic media as their skills progress and their companies find the need for creative designers with knowledge and skills in this area.

Although educational programs are rarely tailored specifically to the interactive art field, there are degrees that provide a useful background to a career in interactive art. Anyone who wants to become an interactive art director should start with a four-year degree in fine art, graphic design, or advertising. A master’s degree, while not always required, is frequently a requirement for many jobs and will set apart a job candidate from other applicants.

Education will frequently allow a job candidate in the door at a creative company. Yet an interactive art director is a management-level job. To become an interactive art director, often a creative professional must work her way up in the field for several years, gaining skills, knowledge, and experience with time. Occasionally, a job candidate with a master’s degree is able to land a position as an interactive art director right out of college with the right contacts.

Specific skills and knowledge are required to become an interactive art director. Obviously, an interactive art director must be creative, resourceful, and manage people well. Problem-solving abilities are important, as is being able to visualize a project from concept to finished project and being able to identify steps to bring that vision to reality. A successful interactive art director must have knowledge of various types of creative interactive software packages and programming languages and have superior computer skills in general.

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Hyper Island has an excellent Interactive Art Direction course (1-year intensive). I just graduated and can recommend it highly.

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