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Creative Lead Vs Creative Director

Creative leads and creative directors often interact during a creative endeavor, but their job duties differ. This article compares the different responsibilities of each career, as well as their yearly salaries.

Comparing Creative Lead to Creative Director

Creative leads and creative directors may be found working in similar fields, like print publication, film and television, or advertising and marketing. Creative leads normally perform one job at a time, working closely with a creative director who could be the main creative mind behind several projects at once. Below is a comparison of these two creative careers.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Creative Lead Bachelor' degree $79,992 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

Responsibilities of Creative Lead vs Creative Director

Both creative leads and creative directors can be found in a variety of fields, such as branding, television, or gaming. Creative leads typically work on a single aspect of an artistic project, and they might lead a small group of artists on that job. Creative directors may manage several teams on a project and, unlike creative leads, are involved in numerous aspects. Creative directors work very closely with management and clients to create artistic concepts to achieve sales goals.

Creative Lead

The creative lead title is a relatively new one to fill a void as technology continues to advance and expand. With the advent of areas like internet advertising and virtual reality, there has been a growing need for a design leader to assimilate many of these fields into one. Creative leads need to have a working knowledge of engineering, 3-D art, and UX design, which could be applied to the creation of a virtual reality game or a website display. These professionals might be hired to work as the lead producer of a video team or as the head of a team of web designers. Some positions require creative leads to work during weekends and evenings.

Job responsibilities of a creative lead include:

  • Working closely with art or creative directors
  • Innovating the latest in visual solutions
  • Presenting ideas to their own team members
  • Working with editorial directors to assure compliance

Creative Director

Creative directors work with clients and management while leading teams of creators on a variety of projects. A creative director could be involved with the musical director of a film to make sure the theme, sound and editing all match. A creative director might be the visual concept driver for the next hit video game on the market, or he or she could be responsible for writing copy for a company's website. Creative directors typically work full-time, and more than half are self-employed.

Job responsibilities of a creative director include:

  • Communicating concept ideas between team members and executives
  • Watching over the quality control of all projects
  • Collaborating with designers and engineers to create graphic, 3-D, and virtual concepts
  • Keeping pace with the competition with expanding creative ideas

Related Careers

Multimedia artists, like creative leads, work with computers to create animations and other visual effects for a variety of media. Graphic design could be a desirable field for those interested in creative directing, as both careers require creativity and artistic knowledge.

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