How To Become A Creative Director
Career Video: Creative Director
Do you have creative talent to communicate messages through art, symbols, graphics, and overall design? Do you wish to use your creativity to improve product messaging? Are you client-oriented, capable of using diplomacy to coordinate the construction of a finished product? Are you a natural leader, exhibiting interpersonal skills, time management, and prudent decision making? If you have an interest in graphic and multimedia design, but you wish to advance into a leadership role, you may find a career as a creative director rewarding.
Why Become A Creative Director
Creative directors, sometimes referred to as art directors, supervise and manage employees, materials, and decision-making processes regarding artwork/graphics for marketing purposes. They determine the artwork, style, placement, and overall design for a variety of media, including magazines, television networking, product packaging, movie productions, websites, brochures, billboards, and more.
Creative directors typically start their careers as graphic designers; however, through years of experience, their objective as creative directors is to oversee other artists and designers. Their responsibilities and duties include choosing graphics and artwork; designing layouts, themes, and styles; coordinating the work of various designers/artists and other employees; communicating with clients and other supervisors; planning budgets and timelines; and presenting final products to clients. They are responsible for the overall quality and marketing message, as well as adhering to the wishes of their clients.
In addition to having several years’ experience as a designer/artist, creative directors must have certain qualities and skills to advance to this position:
- Artistic and design talent
- Creativity and imagination
- Punctuality and time management
- Marketing aptitude
- Leadership skills
Creative Director Work Environment
The work environment of a creative director is fast-paced and stressful; however, their natural ambitions help them to be productive in such an environment. Creative directors typically work in an office environment, although they are known to travel among various locations to coordinate plans and gather ideas. They work fulltime, and nearly half of all creative directors are self-employed, hiring out their services.
Creative directors work in many different industries, which include advertising and public relations; periodicals, newspapers, directories, and other publications; television and movie productions; retail trade; and specialized design services.
Creative Director Salary
In May of 2014, the median annual salary for a creative director was $85,610. Their salaries can range from $45,060 to $168,040, depending on industry, employer, experience, and geographic location. The motion picture and video industries offer the highest salaries for creative directors, while those working in retail design will most likely earn the least.
Creative Director Career Outlook
Job growth for creative directors is expected to increase 2 percent in the next decade. The slow increase may be due to the declining print industry. However, as online and other electronic industries improve, the search for talented and capable directors of digital media will increase.
This competitive occupation will require experience and a good understanding of user-friendly designs, especially in digital media. Those with knowledge regarding interactive designs and products, as well as those capable of working in multimedia production will have the most success finding employment.
Creative Director Degree
To work as a creative director, individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field as well as substantial work experience.
Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree. No specific degree is required to become a creative director; however, it is essential that individuals in this field have an excellent understanding of art, design, and marketing. A bachelor’s degree in fine art, graphic design, or marketing will prepare individuals for the necessary work experience they’ll need to advance. A degree in integrated marketing communication will help candidates learn about marketing strategies, as well as public relations and other digital advertising education.
Step 2: Work in the field. Creative directors usually have between 5 and 10 years’ experience as artists, graphic designers, editors, photographers, and employees at advertising agencies. It is important to have experience and training in multiple forms of media and industries in order to become a creative director with a diverse portfolio.
Note: The portfolio of a creative director is a necessary means to demonstrate one’s work. A portfolio can display an individual’s understanding and application of styles, themes, typography, color, and other design techniques. It may take years to build a substantial portfolio to use for career advancement.
Step 3: Obtain a graduate degree (optional). Although it is not a requirement, artists and designers may go on to earn a master’s degree to continue in their education and improve their chances at obtaining employment as a director. It is important to match a degree to the specific field for which one wishes to work. Master’s degrees in multimedia or graphic design will provide students with courses to help hone their skills. For individuals with a design background, it may be prudent to choose a master’s program in marketing or communications to learn this aspect of being a creative director.