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Working As a Creative Director

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $102,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Creative Director Do

Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. They create the overall design and direct others who develop artwork or layouts.

Duties

Art directors typically do the following: 

  • Determine how best to represent a concept visually
  • Determine which photographs, art, or other design elements to use
  • Develop the overall look or style of a publication, an advertising campaign, or a theater, television, or film set
  • Lead graphic designers, set and exhibit designers, or other design staff
  • Review and approve designs, artwork, photography, and graphics developed by other staff members 
  • Talk to clients to develop an artistic approach and style
  • Coordinate activities with other artistic and creative departments
  • Develop detailed budgets and timelines
  • Present designs to clients for approval

Art directors typically oversee the work of other designers and artists who produce images for television, film, live performances, advertisements, or video games. They determine the overall style in which a message is communicated visually to its audience. For each project, they articulate their vision to artists. The artists then create images, such as illustrations, graphics, photographs, or charts and graphs, or design stage and movie sets, according to the art director’s vision.

Art directors work with art and design staffs in advertising agencies, public relations firms, and book, magazine, or newspaper publishers to create designs and layouts. They also work with producers and directors of theater, television, or movie productions to oversee set designs. Their work requires them to understand the design elements of projects, inspire other creative workers, and keep projects on budget and on time. Sometimes they are responsible for developing budgets and timelines. 

The following are some specifics of what art directors do in different industries:

In publishing, art directors typically oversee the page layout of catalogs, newspapers, or magazines. They also choose the cover art for books and periodicals. Often, this work includes publications for the Internet, so art directors oversee production of the websites used for publication.

In advertising and public relations, art directors ensure that their clients’ desired message and image are conveyed to consumers. Art directors are responsible for the overall visual aspects of an advertising or media campaign and coordinate the work of other artistic or design staff, such as graphic designers.

In movie production, art directors collaborate with directors to determine what sets will be needed for the film and what style or look the sets should have. They hire and supervise a staff of assistant art directors or set designers to complete designs.

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How To Become A Creative Director

Art directors need at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design subject and previous work experience. Depending on the industry, they may have worked as graphic designers, fine artists, editors, or photographers, or in another art or design occupation before becoming art directors. 

Education

Many art directors start out in another art-related occupation, such as fine artists or photographers. Work experience in art or design occupations develops an art director’s ability to visually communicate to a specific audience creatively and effectively. They gain the appropriate education for that occupation, usually by earning a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

To supplement their work experience in those occupations and show their ability to take on a more creative or a more managerial role, some complete a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Most art directors work 5 years or more in another occupation before becoming art directors. Depending upon the industry, they may work as graphic designers, fine artists, editors, photographers, or in another art or design occupation before becoming art directors.

For many artists, including art directors, developing a portfolio—a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities—is essential. Managers, clients, and others look at artists’ portfolios when they are deciding whether to hire an employee or contract for an art project.

Important Qualities 

Communication skills. Art directors must be able to listen to and speak with staff and clients to ensure that they understand employees’ ideas and clients’ desires for advertisements, publications, or movie sets.

Creativity. Art directors must be able to come up with interesting and innovative ideas to develop advertising campaigns, set designs, or layout options.

Leadership skills. Art directors must be able to organize, direct, and motivate other artists. They need to articulate their visions to artists and oversee the work as it progresses.

Resourcefulness. Art directors must be able to adapt their latest designs to the changing technology used in their industry.

Time-management skills. Balancing competing priorities and multiple projects while meeting strict deadlines is critical for art directors.

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Creative Director Career Paths

Creative Director
Vice President
Executive Director
10 Yearsyrs
Vice President
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Art Director
6 Yearsyrs
Marketing Director
Marketing Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Creative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Creative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Creative Director & Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
President
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Marketing Vice President
Senior Vice President Of Marketing
13 Yearsyrs
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Communications Director
Director
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Communications And Marketing
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Executive Director
Founder And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Founder And Chief Executive Officer
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Brand Director
10 Yearsyrs
Brand Director
Senior Director Of Marketing
12 Yearsyrs
Chief Marketing Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Digital Director
9 Yearsyrs
Interactive Director
7 Yearsyrs
Managing Director
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Strategy
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Director
Development Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Account Director
Group Account Director
10 Yearsyrs
Account Director
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Director Of Marketing
Sales And Marketing Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Director, Marketing And Creative Services
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Digital Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Director Of Strategy
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Board Of Directors Member
Chairperson, Board Of Directors
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Marketing & Development
Business Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Marketing & Development
9 Yearsyrs
Business Development Director
Vice President & General Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Director Of Music
Founder And Director
6 Yearsyrs
Owner And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Director Of Digital Marketing
Director Of Digital Strategy
10 Yearsyrs
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Director, Corporate Communications
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
12 Yearsyrs
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Development Vice President
Vice President Product Development
13 Yearsyrs
Owner And Chief Executive Officer
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Corporate Director Of Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Corporate Director Of Marketing
Director, Global Marketing
12 Yearsyrs
Director Of Marketing And Advertising
6 Yearsyrs
Director Of Web Development
Technical Director
6 Yearsyrs
Chief Marketing Officer
Chief Strategy Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Executive Creative Director
Vice President Of Production
8 Yearsyrs
Vice President Product Development
Chief Product Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Creative Director & Designer
Creative Services Director
7 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer
Director Of Project Management
12 Yearsyrs
Product Director
11 Yearsyrs
Product Director
Executive Director, Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Creative Director 4.0 years
Creative Manager 3.2 years
Creative Lead 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Creative Director
Art Director 21.9%
Designer 5.0%
Internship 4.5%
Director 2.4%
Consultant 1.7%
Owner 1.6%
Top Careers After Creative Director
Art Director 11.6%
Owner 5.7%
Consultant 4.8%
Director 3.8%
Principal 3.0%

Do you work as a Creative Director?

Average Yearly Salary
$102,000
Show Salaries
$57,000
Min 10%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$102,000
Median 50%
$184,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does a Creative Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Creative Director in the United States is $102,786 per year or $49 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $57,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $184,000.

Real Creative Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Creative Director Grey Global Group, LLC New York, NY Mar 19, 2015 $260,000 -
$290,000
Creative Director Burleigh Point, Ltd. Irvine, CA Jan 15, 2016 $260,000
Creative Director Surya Carpet Inc. Calhoun, GA Feb 16, 2015 $250,000
Creative Director Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation Watertown Town, MA Feb 22, 2016 $250,000 -
$300,000
Creative Director Wieden + Kennedy, Inc. Portland, OR Sep 06, 2015 $250,000
Creative Director Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation Watertown Town, MA Apr 25, 2016 $250,000 -
$300,000
Creative Director BBDO USA, LLC New York, NY Jul 18, 2016 $240,000 -
$280,000
Director, Creative Google, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 08, 2016 $240,000
Cross-Funtional Creative Director Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 09, 2015 $240,000 -
$280,000
Creative Director Aesop USA, Inc. New York, NY Sep 13, 2016 $237,930
Creative Director Google Inc. New York, NY Jul 09, 2016 $235,000
Creative Director RDG Global, LLC New York, NY Jan 01, 2016 $223,300
Creative Director The Howard Hughes Corporation New York, NY Feb 09, 2016 $223,226
Creative Director The Howard Hughes Corporation New York, NY Jun 09, 2016 $223,226
Creative Director Vice Media LLC New York, NY Jul 29, 2015 $150,000
Creative Director Meundies Inc. Culver City, CA Sep 18, 2015 $150,000
Creative Director One Rockwell Corp. New York, NY Mar 14, 2016 $150,000
Creative Director Schawk Inc. New York, NY Jan 15, 2016 $147,700 -
$150,000
Creative Director Steven Meisel, Inc. New York, NY Feb 26, 2016 $145,000
Creative Director Natural Resources Defense Council New York, NY Sep 21, 2015 $145,000
Creative Strategy Director Sundaysky, Inc. New York, NY Dec 23, 2015 $144,123 -
$150,000
Creative Director Frost Lighting Inc. NY Nov 30, 2015 $142,500
Creative Director Liquor.com Holdings Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 10, 2016 $95,000
Creative Director Liquor.com Holdings Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 15, 2016 $95,000
Creative Director Liquor.com Holdings Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 25, 2015 $95,000
Creative Director Friendmedia, Inc. Pleasanton, CA Jan 09, 2016 $95,000
Creative Director DOTW, LLC Santa Monica, CA Sep 21, 2016 $94,765 -
$120,000
Creative Director DOTW, LLC Santa Monica, CA Oct 21, 2016 $94,765 -
$120,000

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Top Skills for A Creative Director

  1. Creative Direction
  2. Company Website
  3. Video Production
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide strategic creative direction for delivery of integrated solutions across multiple media channels to maintain brand consistency and improved customer experience.
  • Execute administrative tasks such as operation of company website and management of on-hand inventory.
  • Maintained client satisfaction by consistently meeting video production deadlines and providing innovative content and social media strategies.
  • Designed an audiovisual presentation using PowerPoint and Adobe PhotoShop shown at six golf shows throughout Michigan.
  • Define direction/standards and guide performance of 7-person creative team to deliver on expectations and elevate traffic through diversified online activities.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Creative Directors

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Utah
  4. Oregon
  5. New York
  6. North Dakota
  7. Missouri
  8. Idaho
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Nebraska
  • (438 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (277 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)

Creative Director Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 20,707 Creative Director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Creative Director Resume

View Resume Examples

Creative Director Demographics

Gender

Male

55.9%

Female

31.7%

Unknown

12.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

8.1%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.6%

French

13.9%

Italian

6.9%

Chinese

5.4%

German

4.6%

Korean

3.3%

Mandarin

3.0%

Portuguese

3.0%

Japanese

3.0%

Arabic

2.0%

Russian

1.9%

Greek

1.1%

Hindi

1.0%

Turkish

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%

Thai

0.6%

Cantonese

0.6%

Polish

0.6%

Swedish

0.5%

Dutch

0.5%
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Creative Director Education

Schools

School of Visual Arts

9.5%

Savannah College of Art and Design

7.7%

Fashion Institute of Technology

7.5%

New York University

6.9%

Full Sail University

6.1%

Syracuse University

5.7%

Pratt Institute-Main

5.5%

Art Center College of Design

5.1%

University of Texas at Austin

4.7%

Parsons the New School for Design

4.6%

Columbia College Chicago

4.3%

Academy of Art University

4.2%

Florida State University

4.0%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

4.0%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.6%

University of Florida

3.3%

Arizona State University

3.3%

Michigan State University

3.3%

Rhode Island School of Design

3.3%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

3.1%
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Majors

Graphic Design

31.6%

Fine Arts

9.8%

Communication

8.9%

Business

5.9%

Photography

5.9%

Design And Visual Communication

5.7%

Marketing

5.4%

Advertising

4.2%

Journalism

3.2%

English

3.2%

Computer Applications

2.3%

Public Relations

2.1%

Psychology

1.8%

Management

1.6%

Writing

1.5%

Computer Science

1.4%

Education

1.4%

Theatre

1.4%

Digital Media

1.3%

Music

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

57.6%

Other

17.7%

Masters

12.7%

Associate

7.4%

Certificate

3.1%

Diploma

0.7%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.2%
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Top Creative Director Employers

Jobs From Top Creative Director Employers

Creative Director Videos

What I Do - Dave Hall - Creative Director

Career Advice on becoming a Creative Director by Johnny O (Highlights)

So you want to be a Creative Director

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Updated May 19, 2020