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A creative director is a position often found within the graphic design, film, music, fashion, advertising, media, or entertainment industries, but may be useful in other creative organizations such as web development and software development firms as well.
A creative director is a vital role in all of the arts and entertainment industries. In another sense, they can be seen as another element in any product development process. The creative director may also assume the roles of an art director, copywriter, or lead designer. The responsibilities of a creative director include leading the communication design, interactive design, and concept forward in any work assigned. For example, this responsibility is often seen in industries related to advertisement. The creative director is known to guide a team of employees with skills and experience related to graphic design, fine arts, motion graphics, and other creative industry fields. Some example works can include visual layout, brainstorming, and copy writing. Before one assumes the role of a creative director, one must have a preset of experience beforehand. Like anyone else, these types of artists start up from the very beginning in fields that can relate to motion graphics, advertisement in television, and/or book (or magazine) publishing.
In the advertising industry, a creative director is determined to develop various marketing schemes and strategies for a company or client that he or she is hired by. Assuming one is hired by a company that is fairly well known and established, there would be some type of creative department or management that the director would work with. The creative director would also serve as the project manager that works directly with employers and in most circumstances they would be responsible for designing concepts for advertisements and other promotional needs for their client(s). Some examples of their duties involve copywriting and laying out chronological advertisement plans which explain the ongoing process of a project. It is important for an advertisement creative director to meet their goals at specific deadline with maximum efficiency as possible. To do so, they must be able to guide the creative department effectively from start to finish. Educational requirements of this position involve a blending of skills in business and journalism. To even be considered as a creative director, one would need to have a couple of years of experience in advertising (as little as five to as much as ten years).
Advertising creative directors are usually promoted from copy writing or art directing positions. Familiarity with film-making techniques is also common. Creative directors rise to become executive creative directors or chief creative officers, a position with executive responsibility for the entire creative department, and some progress to chairman of a firm.
Creative directors usually possess a communication design or fine arts & animation degree. Copywriters may have degrees in journalism, language arts, or media innovation, or may develop more emphasis on advertising copy writing while pursuing a communication design degree.
With the increased team sizes and more specialised disciplines in the games industry, certain game designers are titled as 'creative director', 'executive designer', or 'game director'. A creative director in a video game company is usually responsible for product development across a number of titles and is generally regarded as the prime design authority across the company's product range. Some examples are Peter Molyneux, Neil Druckmann, or Shigeru Miyamoto whose influence extends across more than one project.
The video game industry is very important when it comes to the roles of creative directors. The creative director has a very important responsibility in this industry because video games are all visual and motion graphic driven. The director must devise ideas to lead a video game project forward and many responsibilities involve working with various individuals or teams spread out within the entire project/video game production. This can include collaborating with motion graphic artists, 2D/3D animation developers, various illustrator artists and much more. Academically speaking, a creative director must have a bachelor’s degree, but there are some circumstances where a high school education strongly focusing on aspects such as art, graphics, computer science, and math can be acceptable and provide some valuable insight to students who hope to aspire in this field of work. Some skills that a creative director working in the video game industry must have include proficiency in computer programming, graphic development (illustrations, fine art), excellent interpersonal and writing skills (since they deal with many other clients and management leaders). Once a concept has been decided and agreed upon, it is up to the creative director to recruit a responsible and skilled team if a team is not already in place when they come on board a project. The magnitude of video game development is incredibly large and expensive and most of the time requires an enormous team of skilled people with experience in graphic, animation, illustration art work, and programming. As usual, the position of a creative director is not usually an entry spot but depending on the scale of the company, it could be. This is more common in start up companies for instance though normally one would have to earn that role by showing their skills and development over a period of years. The entertainment industry is not always a meritocracy, however, and sometimes people just luck into or inherit such positions. Creative directors have done their share of lower level startup positions such as internships or assisting other directors in art related work fields. It is all about advancing through the career chain, and once one has earned the position a creative director, they may be eligible to work for larger and more popular game developing companies depending on how successful they have been with past collaborative projects.
The creative director in the film industry is referred to as the production designer. A production designer carries a large responsibility of designing the look of a movie. The job is similar to a creative director's role in the video game industry in that they manage a team of employees and have to consistently develop new ideas and methods of working. It is vital that designer's in this field are able to produce expressive/creative ideas and translating them into something cinematic. Usually a certain sum of funds is distributed among different departments in the production of a film (in this case, the art department). Creative directors must decide on how to distribute and use the funds in the most efficient and effective way to ensure maximum quality in the films art department. An example can include the structuring of scenes and sets once a film begins to undergo the shooting process. During this process, it is important for creative directors to understand what props and effects should be used and how they should be used among various sets and scenes of the film. Some important qualifications that one should have include being able to manage teams, having expertise on design (specifically in theatre and interior sets and art design), being open minded to new ideas and methods in regards to organizing film sets, and having an understanding of coordinating among different departments in order to move a project towards success. A creative director in the film industry usually starts out in lower ranks of the chain such as an assistant to other art directors and/or as a draughtsman.
Creative directors in the field of music can be broken down into various key roles that make up the whole (it may be said that one can be known as a 'music director'). It is in this artistic field where the individual, the director, must master tasks that are relatable to one another. An orchestral conductor is a prime example (but not exclusive) of this role and how one would direct music and harmonize symphonies as well as guide/direct other musician’s in an ensemble. The three roles in this sense can consist of: the active musician, the musical art director, and the instructor that teaches and informs music for society. The main requirements one would need to have is an extensive background and knowledge of music (being able to master one or more instrument), understanding the principles and theories behind music composition, developing an understanding and connection with musicians that the director would be working with to communicate music in a harmonic and creative sense, and most importantly being able to develop leadership skills among other musicians.
Creative director is the highest creative position in a fashion house. The creative director does not design clothes, but instead formulates and impresses upon the designers an overarching concept or concepts for a certain collection and the label as a whole. A fashion creative director's main role is to establish what designs should be created, what will appeal to the target market, and how the concepts will be applied and distributed in collaboration with fashion designers who are responsible for creating the clothing and fabrics.
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