They commonly work on advertising and branding campaigns through a variety of mediums such as film, digital, animation and apps. They sometimes work on product, packaging and location design. Creative directors head a team comprising art directors, copywriters and designers, who execute the projects they conceive.
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A creative director is likely to:
- Develop concepts for advertising or promotional campaigns
- Pitch ideas to clients if working for an agency or present to directors if working in-house
- Negotiate with clients to amend ideas in line with their wishes and explain what is and is not possible
- Keep clients abreast of progress and answer their questions Storyboard or translate ideas to the creative team of art directors and designers
- Lead multiple projects from conception to completion in accordance with deadlines
- Evaluate and, if necessary alter, the content of projects before completion
- Hire, develop and manage the creative team
- Ensure all the organisation’s or client’s visuals are consistent with the overall brand
- Steer or write scripts
- Oversee photo or TV shoots
- Select external suppliers when necessary
- Sign off projects before they are presented to the client
- Creativity skills: First and foremost creative directors must be good at creating concepts for others to work on. They must have a keen awareness of current trends in advertising and graphic design.
- Communication and presentation skills: They need excellent communication (written and verbal) and confident presentation skills in order to pitch ideas to clients or directors and also explain their ideas to members of their creative team.
- Interpersonal skills: Excellent interpersonal skills are a must. They need a clear creative vision while remaining open to others’ ideas.
- Leadership skills: Creative directors need leadership skills in order to hire, develop and oversee their creative team.
- Digital and graphic design skills: Extensive knowledge of graphic design and relevant software is vital. Familiarity with film-making techniques is very useful. Video editing, copywriting and HTML skills are usually needed.
An undergraduate degree in graphic design, fine arts, visual communication, typography or a related subject is often required. A postgraduate degree in these subjects can be an advantage.
Between four and seven years’ experience working in the advertising, marketing or design sectors. Especially in smaller firms, creative directors are often promoted from art director, designer or copywriter positions. Supervisory experience, including leadership, team-building and delegation, is an advantage because creative directors have to manage a creative team.
The average salary for a creative director can range from £40,000 - £110,000 per annum depending on place of work and years of experience.
Regular office hours of 9am to 6pm but creative directors are expected to attend evening functions and launches as well as work longer hours as project deadlines approach. Creative directors spend a lot of time away from their office at meetings. A willingness to travel is assumed and creative directors will be a frequent presence at networking events, industry trade shows and exhibitions.
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