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Become An Executive Creative Director

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Working As An Executive 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

  • $115,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Executive 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 An Executive 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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Average Length of Employment
Creative Director 3.9 years
Creative Manager 3.2 years
Creative Lead 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Executive Creative Director
Art Director 10.0%
Director 2.2%
Assistant 2.1%
Internship 2.0%
Top Careers After Executive Creative Director
Consultant 4.6%
Founder 3.3%
Producer 3.2%
Director 2.6%
Principal 2.6%

Do you work as an Executive Creative Director?

Executive Creative Director Demographics

Gender

Male

61.7%

Female

26.9%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.3%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

10.0%

Asian

9.4%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.6%

Italian

9.4%

Portuguese

6.3%

German

6.3%

French

6.3%

Irish

3.1%

Chinese

3.1%

Vietnamese

3.1%

Marathi

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Gujarati

3.1%

Hindi

3.1%

Tagalog

3.1%

Russian

3.1%

Croatian

3.1%
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Executive Creative Director Education

Schools

School of Visual Arts

11.3%

Syracuse University

8.5%

Art Center College of Design

8.5%

New York University

7.9%

University of California - Los Angeles

6.8%

University of Southern California

6.2%

Boston University

5.6%

Brown University

4.0%

University of Texas at Austin

4.0%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.0%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.0%

Loyola Marymount University

4.0%

Northwestern University

3.4%

College for Creative Studies

3.4%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.4%

Full Sail University

3.4%

Columbia University

3.4%

Michigan State University

2.8%

University of Maryland - College Park

2.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

2.8%
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Majors

Graphic Design

18.0%

Photography

9.6%

Fine Arts

9.2%

Communication

9.2%

Marketing

7.6%

Advertising

7.4%

English

6.0%

Business

5.9%

Design And Visual Communication

5.2%

Journalism

4.0%

Theatre

3.2%

Public Relations

2.5%

Writing

1.7%

Graphic Communications

1.7%

Education

1.5%

Management

1.5%

Economics

1.5%

Psychology

1.5%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.5%

Entertainment Business

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

58.6%

Masters

17.2%

Other

16.1%

Associate

4.0%

Certificate

2.5%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$115,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$65,000
Min 10%
$115,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Median 50%
$115,000
Median 50%
$201,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
NFL
Highest Paying City
Bellevue, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does an Executive Creative Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Executive Creative Director in the United States is $115,367 per year or $55 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $65,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $201,000.

Real Executive Creative Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Executive Creative Director Fallon Group, Inc. Minneapolis, MN Jun 01, 2011 $700,000
Executive Creative Director Cramer-Krasselt Chicago, IL Apr 15, 2012 $550,000
Executive Creative Director J. Walter Thompson USA, Inc. New York, NY Apr 01, 2010 $430,000
Executive Creative Director J. Walter Thompson USA, Inc. New York, NY Mar 15, 2010 $430,000
Executive Creative Director J. Walter Thompson USA, Inc. New York, NY Mar 21, 2010 $430,000
Executive Creative Director Sapient Corporation Miami Beach, FL Oct 01, 2012 $380,000
Executive Creative Director BBDO USA LLC New York, NY Mar 25, 2013 $340,000
Global Executive Creative Director Vice Media LLC New York, NY Jun 11, 2015 $325,000
Group Executive Creative Director R/Ga Media Group, Inc. New York, NY Aug 08, 2016 $325,000 -
$335,000
Executive Creative Director Vice Media Inc. New York, NY Jun 10, 2015 $325,000
Executive Creative Director Saatchi & Saatchi North America, Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2014 $320,000
Executive Creative Director Saatchi & Saatchi North America, Inc. New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $320,000
Executive Creative Director Saatchi & Saatchi North America, Inc. New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $320,000
Digital Executive Creative Director Publicis Inc. San Francisco, CA Jun 03, 2013 $275,000
Executive Creative Director R/Ga Media Group Inc. New York, NY Aug 18, 2014 $265,000 -
$285,000
Executive Creative Director Badger & Winters Group, Inc. New York, NY Jan 15, 2014 $250,000
Executive Creative Director Spinifex Group, Inc. Torrance, CA Jan 01, 2015 $230,000
Executive Creative Director Johannes Leonardo LLC New York, NY Jan 20, 2014 $230,000
Executive Creative Director Saatchi & Saatchi X, Inc. New York, NY Jun 04, 2012 $180,000
Executive Creative Director Saatchi & Saatchi X, Inc. New York, NY May 28, 2012 $180,000
Executive Creative Director Mistress Creative LLC CA Dec 13, 2013 $180,000
Executive Creative Director Mistress Creative LLC Santa Monica, CA Sep 15, 2015 $180,000
Executive Creative Director Rapt Studio San Francisco, CA Sep 10, 2015 $175,000 -
$270,000
Executive Director, Creative Design The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. New York, NY Sep 27, 2012 $160,700
Executive Creative Director AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 16, 2016 $160,000 -
$400,000
Executive Creative Director AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 11, 2016 $160,000 -
$400,000

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Top Skills for An Executive Creative Director

  1. Creative Strategy
  2. Web Application
  3. Business Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Presented creative strategy and concepts to clientele and managed a creative department staff of 42 in NJ and 12 in CA.
  • Core business development & major-lead generation.
  • Managed a team of 17+ direct reports (Writers, Editors, Graphic Designers, New Media and Production.)
  • Ground up development and management of creative department process and strategy, including continued career development planning.
  • Curated runway shows to work in conjunction with artist lectures, visual exhibition and video production.

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Top 10 Best States for Executive Creative Directors

  1. New York
  2. Oregon
  3. Georgia
  4. New Mexico
  5. Washington
  6. Utah
  7. Alaska
  8. New Jersey
  9. Maine
  10. Minnesota
  • (274 jobs)
  • (51 jobs)
  • (92 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)

Top Executive Creative Director Employers

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Jobs From Top Executive Creative Director Employers

Executive Creative Director Videos

Creativity Pays – Be an Executive Creative Director

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