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Creative Director: Job Description, Duties and Salary Information

Working as a creative director requires some formal education or significant experience in the field of advertising. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you. View article »

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  • 00:01 Essential Information
  • 0:28 Career Requirements
  • 1:06 Job Duties
  • 1:51 Job Growth & Salary

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Video Transcript

Essential Information

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field(s) Advertising art or design
Experience Professional experience in advertising, copy editing, graphic design, marketing or promotions, may substitute for formal training
Key Skills Thorough understanding of art, copy, and layout; Communications, presentation, and project management skills; know how to use design software, such as Adobe Illustrator, In-Design, and Photoshop
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 9% growth (for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)
2% growth (for art directors)
Median Annual Salary (2016)** $83,429

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Creative directors guide and oversee the work of artists, copywriters, graphic designers, photographers and other members of a creative team for advertising agencies, publications, websites, or other forms of media. As team leaders, they may function as art directors or head designers, cast or develop television commercials and promote products.

There are a number of paths to becoming a creative director including a bachelor's degree in a directly related field, such as advertising art or design. Professional experience in advertising, copy editing, graphic design, marketing or promotions, may substitute for formal training.

Job Description of a Creative Director

In addition to having a thorough understanding of art, copy and layout, creative directors should also know how to use design software, such as Adobe Illustrator, In-Design, and Photoshop. Creative directors working in web-based advertising should also have a knowledge of Internet specific marketing techniques, programming languages, and search engine optimization techniques.

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Creative Director Job Duties

In addition to supervisory and management functions like hiring and evaluating creative staff, creative directors interact with other agency departments to maintain communication and make sure client's are happy with their advertising campaign or other related work.

Creative directors attend planning meetings and makes presentations to agency staff and clients to decide the strategic and creative direction of a project. They also use their creative expertise to interpret a client's vision and make it a tangible and deliverable product. Along with account executives, creative directors plan and implement budgets to ensure both quality and efficiency, and establish schedules on short-term and long-term projects.

Creative Director Salary Information

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information about job growth specific to creative directors, it does provide information about employment for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers, as well as art directors. According to the BLS, job opportunities for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers were expected to increase 9% between 2014-2024. During the same ten-year period, job opportunities for art directors were expected to increase by just 2%. In May 2016, PayScale.com reported that creative directors earned a median annual salary of $83,429.

Creative directors oversee teams composed of artists, copywriters, graphic designers, photographers and other members of a creative team for advertising agencies, publications, websites, or other forms of media. Career requirements typically include a bachelor's degree in a relevant field of study, such as advertising and design, and a knowledge of design software. As of May 2016, creative directors earned a median annual salary of $83,429 according to Payscale.com.

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