What’s the difference between an art director and a creative director?


I have seen both Art Director and Creative Director as titles, but I'm not sure what the difference is. Is one to do with visuals and the other with content? Are they more or less interchangeable? Do they have different responsibilities? Can you have both in the same shop?

4/4/2013 1:30:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Is one to do with visuals and the other with content?

An article published "Creative Director vs. Art Director":

Creative Director's Key Role

The creative director typically thinks through the early phase of the project to develop the concept. This director oversees the entire team, which includes the copy chief, photographer and art director. Many creative directors ultimately work their way up through the ranks to become partner or CEO. The creative director generally has the final say on what gets delivered to the client. This vital position nurtures the studio or agency's talent and also steers its design philosophy.

Art Director Key Role

An art director executes a strategy, concept or idea provided by the creative director. After the concept has been created, the art director is generally responsible for the stylistic look of the ad or design. He brainstorms with workers and provides direction and inspiration to the staff, which includes the graphic designer, sketch artists or typesetters. The art director helps maintain brand consistency. He oversees the project through the production department and other phases, including prepress and printing. The art director may have the final approval for delivery of the project if there is no creative director.

Joint Forces

The creative director relies on intuition and creativity to get the job done. He understands the psychology of advertising and works to create an effective vehicle for reaching consumers. Although a creative director's forte is not necessarily his technical skills, he can write copy, design logos or choose typefaces, if necessary. The art director relies on his technical skills to execute the project. Both roles complement each other.

Education and Pay

Both creative directors and art directors need at least a bachelor's degree in advertising, fine art or design. Creative directors may continue their education to prepare for the best job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for art directors in 2010 was $80,600 per year. In comparison, a creative director's median salary was $125,000, according to a 2011 AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries.

Source of the article from chron and there has been a discussion on the topic at Graphic Design Forum here ages ago.

Are they more or less interchangeable?

Art Directors at bigger studios or corporations often oversee just a particular segment of design or at least different teams. So you might have an art director for interactive design and another for package design. The Creative Director would oversee all these.

Do they have different responsibilities?

Can you have both in the same shop?


4/18/2014 6:38:00 PM