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Creative Director Vs Senior Designer

Creative directors and senior designers often collaborate on artistic projects. This article gives you information on the responsibilities and differences between these two design positions as well as their outlook for the future.

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Comparing Creative Directors to Senior Designers

Creative directors oversee all of the teams (such as writers, designers and producers) involved in producing a product. Senior designers lead specific design teams that are responsible for one aspect of a creative endeavor. Below is a table that compares information about these two professions.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Creative Director Bachelor's degree $86,380 2% (art directors)
Senior Designer Bachelor's degree $59,612 (senior graphic designer) 1% (graphic designers)

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

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Responsibilities of Creative Directors vs. Senior Designers

Both of these jobs are creative roles whose main task is to conceive an idea and implement the creation of it. Normally, creative directors take orders from chief executives to produce advertisements, graphic promotions, or commercial campaigns. They could work on the creation of a new product for a car company, the layout for a cereal box or a promotional campaign for a new movie. Senior designers head teams of designers, in a field like graphic design, to create specific components of a project. They take the concepts provided by creative directors and fulfill the design goals, which might include working with junior designers to conceive, plan, build and test a design idea.

Creative Director

Creative directors are responsible for the final product of any design endeavor by a team of artists under his or her direction. A creative director might cast actors for a commercial, supervise writers, oversee graphic designers or test a new radio advertisement. They conceive the work based on direction from a board or executive officer and lead their teams to meet the needs of a client or company. Creative directors might work for a company in-house or head up an agency that hires out to other businesses to create for them, but most are self-employed, according to the BLS.

Job responsibilities of a creative director include:

  • Keeping current on the latest design and media styles
  • Mediating design work with clients and board directors
  • Presenting design prototypes, concepts and layouts to various groups
  • Promoting new creative techniques for cross media marketing

Senior Designer

Senior designers normally are lead creators of target design goals. Usually these designers work in small teams with one or two other people who assist the senior designer with specific designs, edits or corrections. Senior graphic designers, under the direction of an art director or creative director, design a variety of products using sketches, photographs, lettering, color and more. They use the latest in computer software to finish the creation of new product brands, marketing concepts or appliance products, among others.

Job responsibilities of a senior designer include:

  • Mentoring and teaching new junior designers
  • Brainstorming concepts with art and/or creative directors
  • Working under deadline schedules and strict budgets
  • Collaborating with outside contractors on large projects

Related Careers

Those interested in the design and graphics aspects of a creative director career might look into becoming fashion designers, creating new clothes, shoes and accessories. Those with experience directing small teams and projects might think about becoming an industrial designer, creating and building tools or appliances for homes.

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