(With thanks to Wikipedia)
A Creative Director is a position often found within the advertising, graphic design, film, music, fashion, media or entertainment industries, and in web and software development.
The Creative Director plays a vital role in all of the arts and entertainment industries and may also be known as Art Director. The responsibilities of a creative/art director include leading the visual design and concept forward in any work assigned, guiding a team of employers with skills and experience related to graphic design, fine arts, motion graphics, and other visual design fields. This can often include visual layout, brainstorming, and copywriting.
Before one assumes the role of a Creative Director, one must have gained a lot of experience. Wikipedia says that the minimum requirement involves graduating with a bachelor’s degree in visual design (Danny just left school at 17 and started in a design studio as a runner, cleaning out water pots, making coffees and getting the bacon rolls!).
Most Creative Directors start working their way up from the very beginning, in fields that relate to advertising, such as television, book and magazine publishing, sales promotion, and digital communications. It takes years of experience and professionalism for an artist to grow and eventually take the job as a creative director. If one shows exceptional skills in conceptual, visual and team leading projects, one may be considered for promotion to the role.
A Creative Director needs to possess a wide range of general skills when working with projects that involve collaborating with a large and varied team of specialists. The CD is the lead person so he or she is in charge of what ideas and concepts go forward. In order to perform effectively, one must have a wide attention and listening span, especially with large projects and teams. It is the responsibility of the CD to fully understand the ideas and opinions of his or her team in a respectful/critical manner (providing constructive criticism, turning small ideas into larger concepts, etc.). The CD must be able to make decisions in a deadline-driven environment in the most efficient way as possible. Coordinating and leading his or her team in an accurate conceptual direction, to where the project needs to go and involving the team in constant creative/brainstorming sessions is crucial. Another key part is being able to learn new skills and strategies from fellow workers and how to apply those to future projects.
A Creative Director is ultimately responsible for the quality of the final creative work. For this reason, they get the lion’s share of acclaim when their team’s efforts win awards, but conversely, the CD shoulders the negativity (and the blame) when a project goes wrong, response falls short of expectations, or an important individual on the client side dislikes or vetos an idea.
While many advertising and graphic design schools do graduate students with their own degrees and diplomas, there is no degree or diploma in “Creative Directing”.
Creative Directors usually have a strong command of the technical aspects of their business. Styles of creative direction are quite varied, however, with some CDs being quite hands-on while others will maintain a separation. Creative Directors who are extremely familiar with graphics software, for example, can personally sit at the computer and achieve a ‘look’ for an advertisement that is the centre of a new strategy for a brand. But most CDs have their very own ways of setting a course or direction for the creative development of a campaign. Danny mostly uses a black pen and a layout pad to scribble ideas down, and often works in PowerPoint to get strategic direction, creative platforms and concepts across quickly.