meeting with the director
Graphic Design

Difference Between an Art Director and a Creative Director

Art Director

This is a person who works closely with a graphic design team and he or she is responsible for the aesthetics of an end product.

Art director comes up with ideas of which colors, fonts and other graphic elements will be use in the final product. All ideas are put together in a mood board which is presented to a client.

When the client decides for the desirable concept, the art director helps to direct the design from the start to finish.

An example of an art director’s job is the evident visual styles and images in magazines or newspapers. It is also evident in movies, product packaging and also television items.

Roles And Duties Of An Art Director

  • Meeting the clients and discus their issues.
  • Determine the best way to visually represent a certain concept.
  • They decide the kind of photographs or other design items to be used.
  • Approve or review design, photography or any artwork developed by the team.
  • Coordination of activities with other departments. For example the creative department.
  • They meet clients to present designs to clients to seek for their approval.

Art directors work tightly together with design and art staff from different departments such as: advertising and print media publishing to create desirable end results.

team of designers on a meeting

An art director’s work demands knowledge about design elements and also keeping a campaign on time and on a budget.

Art director works in various kinds of industries. The type of work in each industry also varies depending on the project or client or any other relevant factor.

Role of an art director is almost the same in all mentioned industries where art directors set overall artistic plan and strategy, which results in the end product. Besides that he or she oversee the whole project.

These Are Some Specific Sectors In Which Art Directors Are Involved In:

In Advertising

They ensure that the desired image and message intended by a particular client reaches the consumers or the final customer in a way that the customer will want to buy the product.

They are responsible for the entire aesthetic aspect of advertising and coordinate the activity.

In Publishing

The art directors have the responsibility of overlooking a page layout of a magazine or a newspaper and also selecting book covers.

Movie production

In this sector, art directors work hand in hand to assist in determining the sets to be used and the look they should have in the movie project. They also supervise staff working on the art project.

man holding a camera

A lot of art directors start off while they were involved in graphic, industrial or other art-related sectors such as photographers.

Depending on the industry, an art director needs at least a bachelor’s degree in an art or design course and also has some past working experience.

Creative Director

This is an individual who oversees a creative process of a particular campaign from a design issued to him or her by a certain client.

He or she oversees a project with specific objectives of the client. They manage multiple projects and also keeping things on point.

Creative director follows closely a creative plan to come up with a certain strategy to achieve a client’s goal.

Roles And Responsibilities Of A Creative Director:

  • They build an environment for a creative team to work in.
  • They develop advertisement or promotional ideas in projects.
  • They have a role to pitch ideas to clients or presenting the ideas for approval.
  • They have a responsibility of overseeing projects from start to the end result, not only meeting deadlines but also signing and approving these projects before they are presented.
  • They lay out future plans engaging hand in hand with clients to completely understand their needs and be in a position to provide the best results as to the expectations of the client.
creative team looking at computer screen and laughing

There is a need to be formally educated to be a good creative director because these individuals have a huge responsibility. It is also desired that they have previous working experience.

To earn this experience, a creative director should start working in related fields to earn the required skills and start climbing the ladder.

A Creative Director Should Also Need To Show The Following Skills:

  • Excellent interpersonal and leadership values. This is essential to inspire the creative team to work to their optimum and achieve the set goal.
  • A creative director should have awareness of the rising trends in designing and advertising.
  • He or she should be in a position to be relied upon under pressure and also meet deadlines.
  • Should have knowledge of all relevant applications used in the creative process. This includes computer software used in the creative process. The creative director should be in a position to use this software to relevantly produce good results in time and provide good results.
  • Should have managerial skills since he or she shall be required to manage staff to meet certain set targets.
  • Should be in a position to make a professional decision in distributing and using funds allocated to them efficiently and in a manner that will assist in meeting the project goal.
director listening to a presentation

Employers are looking for not only highly well-rounded people with relevant skills and experience but also competent and interested individuals.

These Are Some Of The Specific Sectors In Which Creative Directors Are Involved In:


In this sector, a creative director is involved in developing various marketing schemes and strategies for either a certain client.

He or she works with a certain creative department serving as a project manager working directly with the staff.

He or she makes sure the whole creative team works hand in hand with each other to provide good results and also beat the deadline.

Video games

In video game production, a game designer may also be termed as a creative director or game director.

He or she is involved in product development and is generally regarded to the high authority.

team developing a video game

The creative director must come up with brilliant ideas to lead the video game project to meet the goal. There are some skills that a creative director in the video game sector should have.

For example, should have awareness in computer programming, interpersonal skills and also writing skills.


In this sector, a creative director may also be referred to, as a production designer. He or she manages the staff in the creative department and also has to come up with new and fresh ideas to keep the project running smoothly and forward.


The role of the creative director is the highest creative position in this sector.

This person establishes the designs to be created, what designs shall appeal the target market and the concepts to be used to sell those ideas to the customer.

Final Words: Difference Between an Art Director and a Creative Director

You can see that there are some parallels between an art director and creative director, such as: team, budget and deadline management.

But there is also a distinct difference between the two. Art director is in charge for the final look of a product and creative director is in charge of the overall creative output behind the product.

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