Art director

Art director

The art director is a person who supervise the creative process of a design. The term 'art director' is a blanket title for a variety of similar job functions in advertising, publishing, film and television, the Internet, and video games.[1]


Art director general role

Various artists may create or develop specific parts of an art piece or scene; but it is the charge of a sole art director to unify the vision. In particular, the art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience. The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion.

One of the most difficult problems that art directors face is to translate desired moods, messages, concepts, and underdeveloped ideas into imagery. During the brainstorming process, art directors, coworkers, and clients are engaged in imagining what the finished piece or scene might look like. At times, an art director is ultimately responsible for solidifying the vision of the collective imagination while resolving conflicting agendas and inconsistencies between the various individual inputs.

In advertising

Despite the title, an advertising art director is not necessarily the head of an art department. In modern advertising practice, an art director typically works in tandem with a copywriter. The team usually works together to devise an overall concept (also known as the "creative" or "big idea") for the commercial, mailer, brochure, or other advertisement. The copywriter is responsible for the textual content, the art director for the visual aspects. But the art director may come up with the headline or other copy, and the copywriter may suggest a visual or the aesthetic approach. Each person usually welcomes suggestions and constructive criticism from the other. Ideally, the words and visual should not parrot each other; each should enhance or enlarge the other's meaning and effect.

This is not to say that marketing sense is not important. The ability to understand, develop and elegantly communicate the marketing message (and to accept its prime importance) is one of the qualities that separates an art director from a pure graphic designer. The two professions overlap in what is known as communication design, with individuals fulfilling both roles at the same time or alternating between roles. Although a good art director is expected to have graphic design judgment and technical knowledge of production, it may not be necessary for an art director to hand-render comprehensive layouts (or even be able to draw), now that virtually all but the most preliminary work is done on computer.

Except in the smallest organizations, the art director/copywriter team is overseen by a creative director, senior media creative, chief creative director. In a large organization, an art director may oversee other art directors and a team of junior designers, image developers and/or production artists, and coordinates with a separate production department. In a smaller organization, the art director may fill all these roles, including oversight of printing and other production.

In film

An art director, in the hierarchical structure of a film art department, works directly below the production designer, in collaboration with the set decorator, and above the set designers. A large part of their duties include the administrative aspects of the art department. They are responsible for assigning tasks to personnel such as The Art Department Coordinator, and the Leadman, keeping track of the art department budget and scheduling (i.e. Prep/Wrap Schedule) as well as overall quality control. They are often also a liaison to other departments; especially the construction, Special FX, Property, Transportation (graphics) department, and Locations Dept. The Art Director also attends all Production Meetings and Tech Scouts in order to provide information to the Set Designers in preparation for all Departments to have a visual floorplan of each location visited. In the past, the art director title was used to denote the head of the art department (hence the Academy Award for Best Art Direction). On the movie Gone with the Wind, David O. Selznick felt that William Cameron Menzies had such a significant role in the look of the film, that the title Art Director was not sufficient, and so he gave Menzies the title of Production Designer.[2] The title has become more common, and now Production Designer is commonly used as the title for the head of the Art Department, although the title actually implies control over every visual aspect of a film, including costumes.

In publishing

Art directors in publishing typically work with the publications editors. Together, they work on a concept for sections and pages of a publication. Individually, the art director is mostly responsible for the visual look and feel of the publication, and the editor has ultimate responsibility for the publication's verbal and textual content.

In Japanese animation

In Japanese animation productions, the role of art director (美術監督, bijutsu kantoku) refers specifically to the background artist in charge of producing background art for the animation, either personally or by directing a team of artists.

Tactics used in art direction

The use of the Sublime to make effective adverts -

See also

  • VFX Creative Director


  1. ^
  2. ^ Preston, Ward (1994). What an Art Director Does. Silman-James Press. pp. 150. ISBN 1-879505-18-5. 

External links

  • ADG Art Direction Wiki Online community and knowledgebase relating to new and classic technologies relevant to the art of film design

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • art director — /ardiˈrɛktor, ingl. ˌɑːtdɪˈrɛktə(r)/ [vc. ingl., da art «arte» e director «direttore»] loc. sost. m. inv. (di pubblicità) pubblicitario, creativo, direttore creativo …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • art director — art di·rec·tor loc.s.m. e f.inv. ES ingl. {{wmetafile0}} 1. TS pubbl. responsabile del settore artistico di un agenzia di pubblicità e sim. (accorc. art) 2. TS giorn. chi ha il compito di curare la forma grafica di una rivista (accorc. art)… …   Dizionario italiano

  • art director — /ɑ:t di rektə/, it. /ardi rɛktor/ locuz. ingl. (propr. direttore artistico ), usata in ital. come s.m. e f. (prof.) [responsabile del settore grafico di un agenzia, di una società pubblicitaria e sim.] ▶◀ grafico (pubblicitario) …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Art-Director — Ein Art Director (Abkürzung AD, dt. „künstlerischer Leiter“) ist die gängige Berufsbezeichnung für einen erfahrenen und leitenden Grafiker oder für den künstlerischen Leiter im Bereich von Filmproduktionen und Medien. Auch wenn die Bezeichnung… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Art Director — Ein Art Director (Abkürzung AD, dt. „künstlerischer Leiter“) ist die gängige Berufsbezeichnung für einen erfahrenen und leitenden Grafiker oder für den künstlerischen Leiter im Bereich von Filmproduktionen und Medien. Auch wenn die Bezeichnung… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • art director — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms art director : singular art director plural art directors theatre, cinema someone whose job is to decide about the clothes, lights, and scenery for a play or film …   English dictionary

  • art director — / ɑ:t daɪˌrektə/ noun a coordinator of creative work in advertising ● The art director briefed the copywriter and illustrator on the main points of the campaign. ● After three years as an agency photographer, he was made art director …   Marketing dictionary in english

  • art director —   refers to the individual responsible for the design, look, and feel of a film s set, including the number and type of props, furniture, windows, floors, ceilings dressings, and all other set materials; a member of the film s art department… …   Glossary of cinematic terms

  • art director — meno vadovas statusas T sritis profesijos apibrėžtis Asmuo, atsakingas už operos, koncerto, miuziklo, spektaklio arba kitokio muzikinio ar teatrinio renginio meninį turinį ir formą. atitikmenys: angl. art director pranc. directeur artistique, m… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • art director — {{hw}}{{art director}}{{/hw}}Responsabile del settore grafico di un agenzia pubblicitaria …   Enciclopedia di italiano

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