Art editor

Art editors use words and images to make magazines look good and easy to read.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


What's it all about?

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

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.

The Professional Publishers Association offers tips and advice for starting your career in magazine publishing.

£18,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £18,000

Experienced salary: £25,000 to over £32,000

These figures are a guide.


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.
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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • creativity
  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • the ability to work to tight deadlines and within budget
  • excellent IT skills
  • attention to detail
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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