Art Editor

Job Description:

Art editors are responsible for the overall look of a printed or digital magazine, bringing together images and copy in a way that's visually effective.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • laying out pages using the most suitable graphics and photographs
  • discussing ideas with colleagues, like journalists and editorial staff
  • hiring, and working with, freelance designers, illustrators and photographers
  • producing cover designs
  • setting an overall look and style for each issue
  • redesigning the publication to keep it up-to-date
  • making sure the layout of apps and digital magazines works well
  • managing photo shoots


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to organise your time and workload (organisational skills)
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • creativity
  • the ability to work to tight deadlines and within budget
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming an art editor typically doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, but there are relevant subjects and skills that can be beneficial for pursuing a career in this field. Art editors are responsible for overseeing the visual aspects of publications, such as magazines, newspapers, or online media. Here are some GCSE subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Art and Design: GCSE-level courses in art and design can provide you with a strong foundation in visual concepts, design principles, and artistic techniques. These skills are highly relevant to the work of an art editor.
  2. English: Strong communication skills, including reading and writing, are essential for editing and proofreading written content, as well as for effective communication with writers and other team members.
  3. Media Studies: Courses in media studies can offer insights into various forms of media, including print and digital publications, and help you understand the role of visual elements in storytelling.
  4. Computer Skills: Proficiency in using graphic design software, desktop publishing tools, and other digital platforms is important for creating and editing visual content.

Art editors play a critical role in shaping the visual identity of publications and ensuring that the visual elements effectively complement the written content. While specific GCSE subjects can provide a foundation, higher education and practical experience are typically key to success in this field.

Post School

There are no set requirements but it’s likely you’ll need a degree in an art-related subject.

Relevant degrees include:

  • graphic design
  • illustration
  • fine art

You could still become an art editor without a degree if you have a strong portfolio of examples of your work. Paid or unpaid work experience, or a foundation course in art and design, are good ways to build your portfolio.

You could join a magazine as a graphic designer and progress to art editor.

Having an interest in the subject of a specialist magazine, like sci fi, sport or fashion can help.

In the UK, the Professional Publishers Association offers tips and advice for starting your career in magazine publishing.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. You may work overtime to meet important deadlines, like the magazine going to press.

You’ll usually be based in an office or design studio. There may be some travel to meetings or photo shoots within the UK or abroad.

Career Path & Progression:

You could become an art director, or move to advertising agency work.

You could use your experience and industry contacts to become self-employed or set up your own design agency.