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Become A Senior Creative Director

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Working As A Senior 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

  • $113,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior 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 Senior 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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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Creative Director 3.9 years
Creative Manager 3.2 years
Creative Designer 2.9 years
Creative Lead 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Senior Creative Director
Art Director 11.6%
Designer 2.1%
Director 1.9%
Top Careers After Senior Creative Director
Consultant 4.1%
Owner 2.5%

Do you work as a Senior Creative Director?

Average Yearly Salary
$113,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$65,000
Min 10%
$113,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Median 50%
$113,000
Median 50%
$197,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Amazon
Highest Paying City
Seattle, WA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
5.0 years
How much does a Senior Creative Director make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Creative Director in the United States is $114,014 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 $198,000.

Real Senior Creative Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Creative Director, SVP BBDO Worldwide Inc. New York, NY May 31, 2010 $275,000
Senior Creative Director, SVP BBDO Worldwide Inc. New York, NY Jul 22, 2010 $275,000
Senior Creative Director for Women's Collection EV Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation New York, NY Jul 15, 2010 $250,000
Senior Director, Creative Presentation Beats Electronics LLC Santa Monica, CA Dec 17, 2012 $240,000
Senior Creative Director Fossil Partners, L.P. Richardson, TX Aug 28, 2016 $212,000
Senior Flame Artist/Creative Director Mass Market Media Services, LLC New York, NY Apr 03, 2012 $205,000
Senior Creative B-Reel Inc. CA Oct 09, 2016 $195,000
Senior Creative Director Fossil Partners, L.P. Richardson, TX Aug 28, 2016 $180,000 -
$220,000
Senior Director, Creative & Integration Fanplayr Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 01, 2015 $175,000
Senior Director, Creative & Integration Fanplayr Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 01, 2013 $155,000
SR. Director, Creative Development Research MTV Networks, A Division of Viacom International New York, NY Sep 24, 2010 $140,000
SR. Creative Director & SR. Manager of Industrial Respironics, Inc. (A Philips Owned Company) Monroeville, PA Nov 20, 2009 $131,269 -
$139,101
Senior Creative Director Del Rivero Messianu Advertising LLC San Francisco, CA Jan 09, 2011 $130,000
Senior Creative Director Fareportal Inc. New York, NY Sep 27, 2013 $125,000
Senior Creative Creative Artists Agency Los Angeles, CA Dec 01, 2010 $125,000
Senior Creative Director Ariadna LLC Miami, FL Apr 28, 2016 $110,000
Senior Creative Director, Industries Autodesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2009 $109,262 -
$174,500
Senior UI Creative Director This Place Inc. Seattle, WA Aug 15, 2016 $105,000
Creative Director (Senior Art Director) Digitaria Interactive, Inc. San Diego, CA May 21, 2012 $95,000
Creative Director (Senior Art Director) Digitaria Interactive, Inc. San Diego, CA May 21, 2012 $93,100 -
$100,100
Senior Creative Vice Media Inc. New York, NY Aug 05, 2013 $90,000
Senior Creative Vice Media Inc. New York, NY Sep 29, 2014 $80,000
Senior Creative Latinworks Marketing LLC Austin, TX Jan 01, 2012 $80,000
SR. Creative Latinworks Marketing, LLC Austin, TX Jan 01, 2012 $80,000
Senior Branding Creative Director Salt Branding, LLC San Francisco, CA Dec 17, 2015 $79,500
Senior Branding Creative Director Salt Branding, LLC San Francisco, CA Dec 22, 2015 $79,500

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Top Skills for A Senior Creative Director

  1. Creative Direction
  2. Web Content
  3. Video Production
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Set technical and creative direction for company.
  • Used Flexweb Content Management System to update website content and photos.
  • Directed web design/development, printed materials and video production.
  • Generated content focused Animated banners and motion design projects.
  • Created direct mail, magazine and TV promotional concept development for all specialty book clubs.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Creative Directors

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Georgia
  4. New Mexico
  5. Oregon
  6. Maine
  7. Utah
  8. Illinois
  9. New York
  10. New Jersey
  • (427 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (65 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (104 jobs)
  • (276 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)

Senior Creative Director Demographics

Gender

Male

64.1%

Female

26.6%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

21.1%

Italian

10.5%

German

7.9%

Japanese

5.3%

Portuguese

2.6%

Cantonese

2.6%
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Senior Creative Director Education

Schools

New York University

12.3%

School of Visual Arts

9.4%

Savannah College of Art and Design

6.5%

Fashion Institute of Technology

5.8%

University of California - Los Angeles

5.8%

University of Florida

5.1%

University of Texas at Austin

5.1%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.3%

Parsons the New School for Design

4.3%

Georgia State University

4.3%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.3%

Northern Illinois University

4.3%

Syracuse University

3.6%

San Francisco State University

3.6%

Ohio State University

3.6%

Columbus College of Art and Design

3.6%

California Institute of the Arts

3.6%

University of Central Florida

2.9%

Art Institute of Colorado

2.9%
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Majors

Graphic Design

28.5%

Fine Arts

9.2%

Communication

8.8%

Photography

6.9%

English

5.8%

Marketing

5.1%

Journalism

5.1%

Design And Visual Communication

4.9%

Advertising

4.9%

Business

4.7%

Public Relations

2.6%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

2.1%

Computer Applications

2.1%

Management

1.9%

Psychology

1.5%

Digital Media

1.5%

Animation

1.3%

Writing

1.1%

Theatre

1.1%

Music

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

61.2%

Other

17.0%

Masters

11.5%

Associate

5.8%

Certificate

2.8%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.8%
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