How to become a Creative Director


estimated salary

What do they do?

Looking for a career with more direction? You should become a Creative Director…

Creative Directors are responsible for leading and directing a creative team.

Whether they’re coming up with strategic directions for a creative project, finding ways to turn ideas into concrete products, or simply using their creative expertise to suggest the most effective kinds of layout, imagery, and content – a Creative Director is vital in ensuring the team creates a positive and visually appealing brand message for the product they’re selling, whether it’s their own or a client’s.

They’re most commonly based in advertising, marketing, and publishing companies, and could specialise in anything from art, design, and copywriting, to film, games, websites, and other types of creative media.

General duties for a Creative Director could include:

  • Developing creative strategies and coming up with objectives
  • Managing costs and expenses
  • Reviewing work and materials produced by the creative team
  • Recommending changes and improvements
  • Carrying out research and analysis projects to share with clients
  • Presenting final layouts and storyboards to clients
  • Overseeing the editing and completion of the final product

Is it right for me?

Along with a creative and imaginative mind and a good eye for imagery, you’ll also need to be an excellent communicator who can bring different ideas together – from the creations put forward by Graphic Designers to the content produced by Copywriters.

Most Creative Directors will also be required to have experience in using various types of design software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, In-Design) and a basic knowledge of coding.

A Creative Director should also be:

  • Able to organise and manage projects
  • Proactive
  • Analytical
  • Good at building relationships
  • Able to work under pressure
  • A great motivator
  • An excellent decision maker

Career Progression

Associate Creative Director

Up to £40,000

Creative Director

Up to £70,000

Executive Creative Director

Up to 100,000

What's it really like?

I became a Creative Director at a web design agency, after working upwards from a web development role. It’s taken me about five years to get to this level, and I can honestly say it was worth the hard work. Essentially, my job is all about making the client happy by creating the best possible site, which adheres to their design brief and sells their services effectively. One day could be spent at meetings coming up with strategies, and the next I could be working with the rest of the creative team to oversee the design process. And although it can take a lot of going back and forth with the client, it’s worth it to make sure the end product meets their expectations.

Get qualified

You’ll usually need a degree to become a Creative Director, along with a number of years’ experience in the type of creative media you’re looking to work in. This role will usually be a step up from a senior position (such as a Lead Designer, Project Team Leader, or Senior Game Developer), and your previous experience will have allowed you to become an expert in the field.

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