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Do I Need a Creative Director or Art Director?

It’s easy to get confused by the job titles. But a Creative Director and Art Director probably have more similarities than differences when you look at the tasks behind their titles. So which one do you need?

Creative Director or Art Director?

Both handle art and/or creative marketing materials that help promote a brand. They studied some of the same topics in college. Both have a lot of responsibility. Both have teams of creative talent that report to them.

Perhaps the key difference is that a Creative Director is more business focused; however, an Art Director also must ensure that all organizational brand standards are met.

Now that you’re totally confused, let’s see if we can clear things up a little.


Art Director Job Description

An Art Director works with the staff behind a marketing campaign, like photographers, designers, or content writers. Art Directors visualize concepts that a Creative Director gets from a client. Or, in reverse, the Creative Director takes a design created by the Art Director’s team and makes it more sellable.

Who goes first?

After the Creative Director kicks off a project, the Art Director conducts brainstorming sessions with creative teams, providing them with the overall strategic vision. Then the Art Director ensures that the video, graphic design, catalog or other marketing piece is completed on time and under budget.

Get more job details for an Art Director's Job Description here


The Creative Director Role

The Creative Director oversees the creative process behind every marketing campaign. These professionals often work in an advertising agency, but many times you’ll find them as part of an in-house marketing team in a large enterprise organization.

Creative Directors deal with the strategy behind the art, so many times they have client-facing contacts or work directly with the organizational c-suite to develop marketing initiatives. Creative Directors are savvy business people able to glean actionable marketing techniques from data analysis.

Generally, Creative Directors understand human behavior and the psychology/sociology behind the piece the art director’s team comes up with.

Get more job details for A Creative Director's Job Description here


How Do These Roles Work Together?

In an ad agency, the client hires the firm to conduct an advertising campaign. The Creative Director works with the client to ensure their goals and deadlines are defined. Then the Creative Director farms out the various project pieces to his or her team.

For example, if the project includes design but also media placement, the Creative Director will engage the Art Director to create the advertisement, but use the media buying department to purchase space for the ad to run. Or, the Creative Director may use a team of internal analysts to pull market data or run focus groups to more fully inform the work of the art director’s team.

When the project goes to the Art Director, she or he will assemble a team to create the design of the advertisement. The team could consist of Graphic Designers or Photographers that create the overall look of the advertisement, Copywriters to write the language found in the ad, or other professionals, depending upon the ad concept.

As the ad is created, the Art Director may work with the Creative Director to present their ideas to the client for approval.

But Which Do You Need?

Totally confused? Artisan Talent can help you answer this question. Contact us for a discussion of your organization’s needs and how we can find you the best talent to fit the job.

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