Associate Creative Director Vs Creative Director

Associate creative directors and creative directors sounds like two jobs that work for the other, but the truth is both are very different. This article provides a comparison of these two careers and other key job information.

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Comparing Associate Creative Directors to Creative Directors

Associate creative directors work with teams to conceive and produce modern visual layouts for clients such as ad agencies or architects, while creative directors assist in a variety of activities for different companies doing such work as writing, overseeing the art direction of a project, or casting roles in films. Below is a comparison of these two professions with some important career information included about both.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary* (2017) Job Growth** (2014-2024)
Associate Creative Director Bachelor's degree $97,298 2% (for all art directors)
Creative Director Bachelor's degree $85,900 2% (for all art directors)

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

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  • Cinematography and Film Production
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Responsibilities of Associate Creative Directors vs. Creative Directors

Associate creative directors and creative directors have very different responsibilities from leadership demands and what their job is on a project. Associate creative directors pitch their ideas to clients, while creative directors work to maximize the staff and talent they've hired. Associate creative directors work with and lead their specific specialized team. Creative directors collaborate with all teams mentoring and coaching.

Associate Creative Director

Associate creative directors oversee teams in the execution of user-oriented byproducts. They may be part of the team brainstorming the client's needs and often act as the liaison between related departments. These experts need to display talent in their craft and keep abreast of trends in various fields like digital art, advertising, and marketing. They may also need to display their skills in copywriting, storyboarding, or film editing.

Job responsibilities of an associate creative director include:

  • Providing hands-on feedback to employees
  • Setting creative and strategic goals for team
  • Driving creative decisions using team-building feedback
  • Making sure best practices are followed on all client projects

Creative Director

Depending on the type of creative director, (agency or in-house) these professionals could be responsible for running various projects simultaneously that will meet the needs of a client in a variety of styles such as film, video, animation, or even fashion. These directors lead teams that work on design concepts using fine arts, graphics, illustrations, motion capture, or other digital mediums. They might work on marketing campaigns, review script rewrites for a new cable television show, or possibly write copy for an organization's website. Creative directors are often hands-on guidance counselors when they become an instructor, mentor or coach to new employees.

Job responsibilities of a creative director include:

  • Discussing conceptional ideas with various directors and team members
  • Collaborating work between art teams and managers
  • Presenting new and revised work to clients, the creative board or the public
  • Finalizing the placement of images, text and photographs, in layouts

Related Careers

Industrial designers, like associate creative directors, are innovative creators who work with scientists and engineers to create products like bike parts, streaming televisions, and lamps. Creative directors often monitor the production of internet sites, so an interest in web development may be a creative outlet to consider.

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