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Creative Director

What They Do

Advertising and Promotions Managers Career Video

Insider Info

Creative directors usually develop an advertising campaign for a product or design a handout for that product. They could also put together a video to show to the company's stockholders.

They're in charge of the product's overall concept, themes and ideas. They often work with a team to develop the concept.

"A creative director hires artists and writers to do whatever project at hand needs doing," says creative director Susan Herr.

"For example, if a package needs to be designed, the creative director decides the initial art direction of the package, taking into consideration the way the product will be marketed, then either uses the staff or outside people to accomplish the finished look."

Creative directors generally work for large companies or advertising agencies. Many creative directors now work for online advertising companies. Working for a web advertising company is a great way to build credentials and experience.

"The creative directors are pretty much the top of the hierarchical chain and are generally vice-presidents. Creative directors are the ones who come up with the concepts for the Nike 'just do it' ads, or whatever the tagline might be," says Wayne Bennett. He is a creative director.

Creative directors often work long hours. That includes evenings and weekends. They also have to travel a lot. Working under pressure is common because schedules often change. Changing schedules often create new problems. And that means new deadlines and goals to meet.

"One of the things that I personally dislike about being a creative director is that you become more operational as opposed to creative -- many times," says Bennett.

"That means you get stuck in the trap of making sure that your art directors are doing what they need to be doing, as opposed to being the guy who's being creative. If I had my choice, I'd spend 98 percent of my time being creative. Those that are executing the concepts are the ones who're being creative."

What do companies look for when they hire creative directors? They should be motivated and have lots of ideas and solutions.

They should be able to tell stories, deliver messages and think in different media. Their aim is to use a single, memorable idea to communicate instantly.

Creative directors should also be flexible and firm at the same time. They should be able to produce interesting good quality programs on time and within their budget. Being computer-savvy's a great quality.

Excellent people skills are also important, because creative directors have to work with other team members. Plus, they have to present and communicate their ideas convincingly.

At a Glance

Develop advertising campaigns for a product and tell artists and writers what to do with it

  • A creative director usually works for a large company or advertising agency
  • Creative directors are generally vice-presidents
  • Education: advertising, communications, graphic design, journalism or public relations


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