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Become A Creative Director/Owner

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Working As A Creative Director/Owner

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

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $113,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Creative Director/Owner 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/Owner

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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Average Length of Employment
Art Director 4.2 years
Creative Director 3.9 years
Creative Manager 3.2 years
Creative Lead 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Creative Director/Owner
Art Director 18.8%
Designer 3.7%
Internship 3.1%
Director 1.8%
Top Careers After Creative Director/Owner
Art Director 10.7%
Owner 4.7%
Director 2.8%
Consultant 2.3%

Do you work as a Creative Director/Owner?

Creative Director/Owner Demographics

Gender

Male

51.6%

Female

37.2%

Unknown

11.2%
Ethnicity

White

63.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.2%

French

9.8%

Portuguese

7.3%

Russian

4.9%

Japanese

4.9%

Italian

4.9%

German

3.7%

Greek

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Irish

1.2%

Chinese

1.2%

Mandarin

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Slovak

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%
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Creative Director/Owner Education

Schools

School of Visual Arts

7.1%

Syracuse University

6.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

6.3%

Fashion Institute of Technology

6.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.6%

University of Phoenix

5.6%

Academy of Art University

5.2%

Arizona State University

5.2%

Full Sail University

5.2%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

5.2%

University of Texas at Austin

5.2%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.8%

Art Institute of Colorado

4.5%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.5%

Art Center College of Design

4.1%

University of Florida

4.1%

New York University

3.7%

University of North Texas

3.7%

Parsons the New School for Design

3.7%

Georgia State University

3.7%
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Majors

Graphic Design

35.8%

Fine Arts

9.4%

Communication

8.0%

Business

7.5%

Marketing

6.2%

Design And Visual Communication

4.7%

Photography

4.5%

English

3.0%

Advertising

3.0%

Journalism

2.5%

Management

2.4%

Computer Applications

2.2%

Psychology

1.7%

Graphic Communications

1.7%

Education

1.5%

Theatre

1.3%

Public Relations

1.3%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.2%

Entertainment Business

1.2%

Interior Design

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.8%

Other

18.4%

Masters

13.1%

Associate

9.6%

Certificate

3.9%

Doctorate

0.7%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Top Skills for A Creative Director/Owner

  1. Company Website
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Art Direction
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created and currently maintain web design/development business and company website.
  • Manhattan-based graphic designer developing creative designs for creative people.
  • Led art direction and production of Nevada District Council Fellowship of Churches inauguration publication (32 pages).
  • Provided graphical example or compositions pertaining to company initiatives geared toward targeted audiences, feedback and business development improvements.
  • Research and provide sub-contracted services necessary to complete projects: printing or fabrication estimates, photography resources.

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