What is an Advertising Art Director?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Images By: Feng Yu, David
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2019
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An advertising art director designs the visual aspects of marketing campaigns for different products and services. Most art directors specialize in a particular medium, such as printed publications, online advertising, billboards, or television commercials. They work with copywriters to incorporate written text and verbal scripts into attractive, exciting visual content. An advertising art director may be employed by a consulting firm that contracts with different businesses or by a large corporation to work exclusively on campaigns for a certain product. Some business-savvy art directors are self-employed, offering freelance services to smaller companies and organizations.

In order to be a successful advertising art director, an individual usually must thoroughly understand what attracts people to different products. She needs to understand the psychology behind advertising. For example, a television commercial for a child's toy is usually full of bright colors and other exciting content. A billboard for a restaurant might depict tasty items and hungry consumers, while a magazine ad for an engagement ring may include a joyful couple in an elegant setting. Knowing who will view the ad and ultimately buy the product or service can be essential to designing a quality campaign.


When designing a new campaign, an advertising art director usually works alongside an experienced copywriter to combine written and verbal messages with visual components. Some art directors choose to collaborate with their copywriters from the beginning of a project, while others prefer to receive the finished text before starting work on the visual content. It is common for an art director and copywriter to create several different versions of a campaign so that clients can choose the ones they like best.

Many art directors specialize in creating content for Internet videos and banner ads. In addition to standard drawing and marketing skills, an online art director typically must be familiar with digital editing software and Webpage design. Professionals may work on-site at a corporation or submit proposals from remote locations via e-mail. Freelance online art directors often work for several different clients at a time that may be located all over the world.

There are no set educational or training requirements to become an advertising art director, though some consulting firms and companies prefer to hire professionals who hold degrees in art or marketing. Some naturally skilled artists without extensive education are able to land jobs by submitting quality portfolios and samples of their work to different employers. Once a director has worked with many clients or a single company for several years, she may be able to obtain an executive position at a corporation. Executives review the work of copywriters and art directors and make final decisions regarding the content, placement, and scope of advertisements.



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