Art Director

Advertising and Marketing Communications
Personality type:
Creative | Maker

The Lowdown

  • Creating and designing advertisement ideas
  • Ensuring the message is conveyed through engaging visuals
  • Using an artistic mind and approach to further a brand

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need to:

  • Be imaginative and full of ideas
  • Have an eye for the best in contemporary art and design
  • Be aware of the latest production techniques, tools and materials
  • Be fascinated by people, advertising and brands
  • Be able to apply creative thinking to business problems
  • Have great communication skills that allow you to "sell" in an inspirational way
  • Be a team player who can operate effectively under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Remain tenacious and resilient throughout the frustrations of an iterative process
  • Understand of the context that lies behind a client’s business and communications need, and the key proposition and creative brief that is provided as the basis for their work
  • Understand the target audience and proposed media to be used in the campaign
  • Be capable of devising and developing original advertising and communications ideas that engage the target audience and address the client’s business problem
  • Present ideas to the Creative Director for approval and development, and writing copy through several stages of concepts and executions
  • Generate and maintain enthusiasm for ideas within the agency as they move from concept to execution
  • Produce sketches, visual references and storyboards to convey the concept to the agency team, and then on to clients, designers and producers
  • Respond to client and research feedback and continuing to develop the work until final approval stage
  • Stay up-to-date with available talent for commissioning among photographers, illustrators and film directors through regularly reviewing their books and showreels
  • Select all photographers, illustrators, TV Production companies and Directors, and models and cast involved in the creative production. In larger agencies they will also work closely with Art Buyers and in-house TV Producers to achieve this
  • Oversee the production of creative outputs e.g. print advertisements, TV commercials, mailings, social media content, etc. In some agencies they may work with Art Buyers and in-house TV Producers to accomplish this

What does an Art Director do?

Art Directors are responsible for the creation and development of advertising ideas, with particular focus on their visual appearance. These ideas can exist in many formats from posters and print advertisements, to TV commercials, Direct Marketing leaflets, mobile applications and websites.

The Art Director combines artistic sensibilities and understanding with knowledge of design and production processes to create work that engages those it is aimed at. They ensure messages are strengthened by conveying meaning visually, as well as through the accompanying words.

There has been a recent blurring of lines between the responsibilities of an Art Director and a copywriter, particularly in interactive media, where both involve themselves in the creative idea and are known as the creative team. Because of this, Art Directors can often be referred to as creatives.

Will I need a qualification?

Creativity and ability in art and design will be the most important aspects of being an art director, however most of the new professionals in the field carry degrees in artistic fields such as graphic design, advertising or filmmaking.

Advertising Courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

Art Directors come from a variety of backgrounds, although will typically have a degree in a relevant subject such as creative advertising, or design. Those studying on dedicated advertising courses will often form partnerships with a copywriter while studying. They will then look for a first job as a team. This is done by developing a ‘book’, or portfolio, of work to show creative directors at meetings and interviews.

Where might the role take me?                                    

As Art Directors become more senior, working on bigger and more important briefs within the agency, they are often referred to as ‘middleweight’ or ‘heavyweight’ creatives, with some then becoming creative directors in their own right. Others may choose to ply their skills independently as freelancers, working across a number of agencies and clients.

Interested? Find out more…

For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.  



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  • The Drum Magazine aims to introduce those with great ideas to those who are seeking them in the advertising industry
  • Design Week is a journal of design trends and inspiration 


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