Art directors are one of the happiest careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, art directors rate their career happiness 3.8 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 17% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy art directors are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Games artist
3.9
$90k
Illustrator
3.9
$61k
Sewer
3.9
$30k
Calligrapher
3.8
$62k
Tattoo artist
3.8
$39k
Art director
3.8
$101k
Set designer
3.8
$28k
Videographer
3.8
$35k
Exhibit designer
3.7
$55k
Fashion designer
3.6
$77k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are art directors happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do art directors find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as art directors?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are art director’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are art directors making the best use of their abilities?

Are art directors happy with their salary?

Art directors rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.2/5. Few are explicitly unhappy with their salaries, with most art directors having generally positive views of their salary.

We asked art directors how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

715 art directors

5 Star
18%

18% of art directors rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
23%

23% of art directors rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
30%

30% of art directors rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
18%

18% of art directors rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
11%

11% of art directors rated their compensation 1 stars

Do art directors find their jobs meaningful?

On average, art directors rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.5/5. Unlike many careers, art directors have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become art directors.

We asked art directors how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

3.5 out of 5 stars

726 art directors

5 Star
28%

28% of art directors rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
26%

26% of art directors rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
22%

22% of art directors rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
12%

12% of art directors rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
11%

11% of art directors rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as art directors?

Art directors rated their personality fit with their work an average of 4.2/5. The majority of art directors find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked art directors how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

4.2 out of 5 stars

820 art directors

5 Star
44%

44% of art directors rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
38%

38% of art directors rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
13%

13% of art directors rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
3%

3% of art directors rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
2%

2% of art directors rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is an art director’s work environment?

As a whole, art directors rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.9/5. A solid majority of art directors enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as an art director.

We asked art directors how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.9 out of 5 stars

816 art directors

5 Star
34%

34% of art directors rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
37%

37% of art directors rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
19%

19% of art directors rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
8%

8% of art directors rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of art directors rated their work environment 1 stars

Are art directors making the best use of their abilities?

Former art directors on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.8/5. Most art directors surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as an art director, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked art directors how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.8 out of 5 stars

816 art directors

5 Star
33%

33% of art directors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of art directors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
22%

22% of art directors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of art directors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of art directors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars