Production Designers and Art Directors


Education and Training Requirements

High School

There are a variety of high school courses that will provide both a taste of college-level offerings and an idea of the skills necessary for success on the job. These courses include art, drawing, art history, graphic design, illustration, theater, photography, shop, animation, and desktop publishing.

Other useful courses that you should take in high school include business, drama, English, technical drawing, cultural studies, psychology, and social science. Finally, take as many computer science courses as possible. Because of the rapidly increasing use of computers in design work, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of how computer-aided design programs work. For small-budget, the production designer or art director may be responsible for using these software programs; for bigger-budget movies, a staff person, under the direction of the designer or director, may use these programs.

Postsecondary Education

Many production designers and art directors attend film school and earn degrees in film studies, film production, or related fields. Others earn traditional degrees in theater, history, literature, or design. In addition to course work at the college level, many universities and professional art schools offer graduates or students in their final year a variety of workshop projects and internships. These programs provide students with opportunities to develop their personal design styles as well as their portfolios.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification and Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for production designers and art directors.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

The work of production designers and art directors requires creativity, imagination, curiosity, and a sense of adventure. Art directors must be able to work with all sorts of specialized equipment and computer software, such as computer-aided design programs, as well as make presentations on the ideas behind their work.

The ability to work well with different people is a must for production designers and art directors. They must always be up to date on new techniques, trends, and attitudes. And because deadlines are a constant part of the work, an ability to handle stress and pressure well is key. Time-management skills are also important.