How to become an Art Editor. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does an Art Editor do?
Art editors make sure that magazines or other printed publications look good and are easy to read.
As an art editor, your tasks would typically include:
- laying out pages and making sure the most suitable graphics and photographs are used
- discussing ideas with colleagues like journalists and editorial staff
- commissioning, and working with, freelance designers, illustrators and photographers
- producing cover designs
- setting an overall style for the publication and making sure that each issue follows this style
- redesigning the publication to keep up with trends.
In some jobs you would also oversee photo shoots.
You would usually work normal office hours, Monday to Friday. However, extra hours may be needed to meet deadlines, particularly when the magazine is about to go to press (which could be weekly or monthly).
You would be based in an office or design studio, and would do most of your work on a computer. There may be some travel, for example, to attend meetings. If your job involves overseeing photo shoots, you could travel further afield, including overseas.
How much does an Arti Editor earn?
- Starting salaries can be around £20,000 a year.
- With experience earnings can be from around £27,00 to over £34,000.
Figures are only intended as a guide.
There are no set entry requirements – you would need a portfolio of work to show to potential employers, and they may consider your ability and experience more important than qualifications.
In practice, however, many art editors have a degree, BTEC HND or foundation degree in a subject such as graphic design, illustration or fine art, and some employers expect this type of qualification. Completing one of these courses would help you develop your skills, make contacts and start to build a portfolio.
To search for courses, visit the UCAS website. You should check with colleges and universities for their entry requirements.
Several universities also run postgraduate courses in graphic design and similar subjects, which could be useful for developing your skills. To search for postgraduate courses see Hobsons Postgrad.
- Hobsons Postgrad
For specialist magazines, you would have an advantage if you have an interest or qualification in the subject of the publication.
D&AD runs workshops for graduates which will help you build a portfolio and make contacts in the design industry – see their website for more details.
Unpaid work experience will also give you the chance to develop your portfolio, make contacts and impress potential employers. See the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA) website for advice on finding work experience.
- Periodical Publishers Association – advice on finding work experience
Training and Development
As a starting point you could join a magazine as a designer and perhaps progress to deputy art editor, then art editor.
You may receive in-house training in areas such as copyright and IT packages like InDesign.
Throughout your career, it will be important to keep up to date with developments in the industry and in relevant computer software.
Professional organisations like the Periodical Publishers Association (PPA), the Chartered Society of Designers and D&AD run courses and workshops for members, which you may find useful for professional development. For example D&AD runs Workout, a range of one-day development courses.
Membership of this type of organisation will also give you the opportunity to make contacts in the industry.
Skills and Knowledge
- commercial awareness
- confidence to present your ideas
- the ability to work to tight deadlines and within budget
- excellent IT skills, including software such as Photoshop, QuarkExpress, Illustrator and InDesign
- the ability to explain your ideas clearly to other staff
- attention to detail
- organisational and time-management skills
- the ability to work well in a team.
Larger publishing companies are mainly based in London and the south east.
With experience, you could progress to a more senior position such as art director, or move to agency work. You could also use your experience and industry contacts to become self-employed or set up your own design agency.