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Become A Creative Director

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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

  • Stressful

  • $128,996

    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 Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Art Director 4.0 years
Creative Director 4.0 years
Creative Manager 2.9 years
Creative Lead 2.7 years
Top Employers Before
Art Director 22.0%
Designer 5.0%
Internship 4.1%
Director 2.4%
Top Employers After
Art Director 10.9%
Consultant 5.2%
Owner 5.1%
Director 4.0%

Do you work as a Creative Director?

Creative Director Demographics

Gender

Male

62.3%

Female

35.5%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

8.2%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

45.5%

French

12.8%

Italian

7.0%

Chinese

5.8%

German

5.1%

Mandarin

3.2%

Korean

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Portuguese

2.5%

Arabic

2.0%

Russian

1.8%

Hindi

1.1%

Turkish

1.1%

Greek

1.1%

Thai

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Swedish

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%

Dutch

0.5%
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Creative Director Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

10.7%

Fashion Institute of Technology

8.3%

School of Visual Arts

7.2%

Syracuse University

6.8%

New York University

6.5%

Full Sail University

5.5%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.8%

Art Center College of Design

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.2%

Florida State University

4.2%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.0%

Columbia College Chicago

3.8%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.7%

Parsons the New School for Design

3.5%

University of North Texas

3.5%

University of Phoenix

3.4%

Academy of Art University

3.3%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.3%
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Majors

Graphic Design

30.7%

Fine Arts

9.9%

Communication

9.3%

Design And Visual Communication

5.9%

Business

5.7%

Marketing

5.7%

Photography

5.6%

Advertising

4.2%

Journalism

3.6%

English

3.5%

Computer Applications

2.4%

Public Relations

2.2%

Management

1.8%

Psychology

1.5%

Writing

1.5%

Education

1.4%

Computer Science

1.4%

Music

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Digital Media

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.4%

Other

19.0%

Masters

13.2%

Associate

7.0%

Certificate

3.2%

Doctorate

0.6%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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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 Apr 25, 2016 $250,000 -
$300,000
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
Director, Creative Google, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 08, 2016 $240,000
Creative Director BBDO USA, LLC New York, NY Jul 18, 2016 $240,000 -
$280,000
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 Jun 09, 2016 $223,226
Creative Director The Howard Hughes Corporation New York, NY Feb 09, 2016 $223,226
Creative Director Meundies Inc. Culver City, CA Sep 18, 2015 $150,000
Creative Director Vice Media LLC New York, NY Jul 29, 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 Natural Resources Defense Council New York, NY Sep 21, 2015 $145,000
Creative Director Steven Meisel, Inc. New York, NY Feb 26, 2016 $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 Aug 15, 2016 $95,000
Creative Director Liquor.Com Holdings Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 25, 2015 $95,000
Creative Director Liquor.Com Holdings Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 10, 2016 $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

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  1. Company Website
  2. Web Design
  3. Creative Department
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed and managed company website.
  • Web Design including implementation of Responsive Design principles.
  • Directed creative initiatives and managed creative department of art directors and copywriters.
  • Supervised and trained art department designers, and computer graphic designers utilizing Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator design programs.
  • Create and develop television advertisement campaign, direct video and audio script, coordinate ad placement and budget requirements associated.

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Top 10 Best States for Creative Directors

  1. Illinois
  2. California
  3. Washington
  4. New York
  5. Georgia
  6. Oregon
  7. New Mexico
  8. Maine
  9. Utah
  10. Massachusetts
  • (100 jobs)
  • (438 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (277 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (86 jobs)

Top Creative Director Employers

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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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