Salaries trended in opposite directions for different levels of production departments last year, while art directors saw continued gains, according to respondents in FOLIO:’s 2013 Art and Production Salary Survey.

For the former group, those heading production received their biggest raises in 5 years. Average manager salaries fell however.

Within those positions, revenue of the companies and publications worked for, along with experience, were the biggest determining factors of where salaries ultimately fell.

Verbatim responses suggest that the intra-department variance could be related to the changing protocols in production. Digital responsibilities are becoming more central and not everyone is acclimating.

“Adapting to digital workflows” and “keeping up with technology” were common difficulties cited by respondents. “Defending print,” was another.

Art directors faced many of the same challenges—“keeping my skills current,” said one; “resistance to change in a rapidly-changing industry,” said another—but the group received a salary increase for the second year in a row.

The impact digital platforms will have is still uncertain though. Companies are trying to figure out monetization, but no one’s cracked the code. As art and production departments spend more time on these tasks—and less on print-related ones—their salaries will follow the path cut by their new products.

“[There’s a] continued push for web development especially on mobile and tablets,” said one art director, ”[but we’re] unsure of the R.O.I.”



Production Director or Top Production Executive 

Production Manager

Art Director 


The survey mailing list of 1,145 was provided by Access Intelligence, publisher of FOLIO:, representing domestic subscribers. Data was collected via mail survey by Readex Research starting on August 27, 2013. The survey was closed for tabulation on October 23, 2013 with 209 usable responses—an 18-percent response rate. The margin of error for percentages based on 184 key respondents is +/- 6.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.