How do I Become an Art Editor?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2018
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Art editors are responsible for the overall look and style of a print or digital publication. They design books, magazines, newspapers, brochures, flyers, advertorials, websites and much else. To become an art editor, it is necessary to be proficient in graphic design software, to have an excellent eye for design, and to be knowledgeable about design aspects, theory, history and trends.

Understanding the market is important for anyone who wants to become an art editor, as designs that work for a certain niche will not do for another. A financial magazine, for instance, needs to have a different magazine art layout than a children's magazine. This is both a matter of fitting in the content as well as meeting the expectations of the targeted audience.

It is essential for an artwork editor to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills as the art editing work requires regular interactions with different types of people. A magazine art editor will usually work in collaboration with other art professionals like graphic designers, illustrators and photographers, and in consultation with art directors, editors, writers, proofreaders and printers. The art director plans the project and the artwork editor must make certain that it looks good, and is completed on time and within the set budget.


A person who wants to become an art editor must be willing to put in long hours and be prepared to travel when necessary. To meet deadlines, especially when a publication is due to go to press, art editors often work longer than normal office hours. Depending on the publication they work for, they may have to travel to regionally or internationally to oversee photoshoots, to meet with clients or to attend staff meetings.

While having a creative and highly developed visual sense is necessary to become an art editor, it is equally essential to have a good educational background. Competition for jobs is fierce in this field and having a graduate degree in graphic design, illustration, fine art or printing will certainly be beneficial. Compiling a portfolio showing samples of the best work and creating an easily navigable website to showcase the work will be helpful in garnering work opportunities.

Having some work experience, by way of freelance assignments or an internship, can improve employment chances too. Art editing jobs may be advertised in trade journals, newspapers, online job boards and company websites. It is also common for jobs to be filled by word of mouth recommendations.



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