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Creative Director: Who Are They And What Do They Do?

by Majenica Moles


The main requirement for this type of position is a Bachelor’s degree. This is a 4 year degree, usually.  Some go on to obtain a Graduate degree in a related field as well.  This degree should be in a graphic design, marketing, or some related field that would pertain to the job description. Extensive knowledge of graphic design and publishing software is invaluable, as are interpersonal skills and managerial skills. Generally, you should have upwards of ten years experience when applying for this type of position. This isn’t always the case, though, as each business will have their own guidelines.

What they do

Creative directors are the ones behind the art and graphics of promotional products, and marketing materials. They are usually in charge of a team of employees that include graphic designers, as well as web designers. These are the people who usually deal with websites, brochures, and all sorts of media and/or advertising. Think about advertising for a moment. When you see the awesome graphics on an advertisement, whether it be in print or on a billboard, creative directors are most likely behind it.
This high-level position will generally involve being able to adhere to strict deadlines, and you will likely incur a lot of stress.  Many creative directors put in several years’ worth of experience before they obtain the position. Hard work does pay off, though, as Creative Directors earn a competitive salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They state that the median salary is around $129k per year. Of course, this will vary depending on geographical location.

Job Skills

There are many job skills that a Creative Director should have.

  • Creativity: This is the most obvious skill needed. Creative directors will need to create new ideas for brands, advertising (such as slogans) campaigns and marketing messages.
  • Analytical Skills: With all of the day-to-day changes in the advertising world, Creative Directors need to be able to keep up with current trends, and analyze new data.
  • Decision-Making Skills: If you have difficulty making decisions, this may not be the career for you. Projects have deadlines, and creative directors need to make final decisions on text, art, television commercials, radio spots, etc. The deadlines won’t change just because you can’t make the final decisions.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Communication is key in all things. Creative directors need to have good communication skills to be able to interact with others. They will meet with corporate heads and clients on a regular basis, and if they can’t communicate effectively, it could jeopardize the campaign.
  • Management Skills: Being able to manage your own time is a must, but you will also have to manage others. Creative directors have to keep other employees on schedule, to ensure that the work is completed within the deadline.

Adrian Rubin has some great articles about introducing new tech into the workplace. Tech is a big part of being a Creative Director, as they will be using things such as tablets, laptops, phones, etc., to do their jobs. These articles discuss how to make tech work without stressing your employees. If you are considering going into the Creative Director field, then I definitely suggest checking the articles out!


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