Senior Art Director
For a senior art director, here’s the starting line:
- You have over 10 years of experience of some sort. (We might be able to fudge that a bit.)
- You have a deep and intimate relationship with InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat that borders on creepy.
- You have experience with electronic file preparation for advertising/printing.
- You have a very good grip on PowerPoint, Word and Keynote.
- You have some experience with digital media beyond checking your own Facebook page.
Any senior art director should feel the following rings true:
- You pay attention to the details.
- On more than one occasion, people who are not your parents have made complimentary remarks about how smart you are.
- You’re collaborative and generally well-liked.
- You are not afraid to raise your hand to ask a question or throw out a suggestion.
- Ideas. You got ’em.
- Great design sends shivers of joy up your spine.
- You want to learn and grow at a place where creative is celebrated.
- You can explain your work and defend it without seeming like a pompous jerk.
- You can internalize and interpret direction.
- You can do the above without rolling your eyes (mostly).
- You hate sheep.
- You don’t find the notion of a generally fast pace to be disagreeable or concerning.
- You laugh in the face of pressure.
- You have genuine interest in social and cultural trends beyond yourself.
- You really do have an interest in advertising and design and their histories.
- You run screaming from the room when a less-experienced associate art director acknowledges that they used Papyrus ironically — or so they thought.
- You’re a little shocked that people often come to you for advice and ask questions.
What does a senior art director do? Pretty much anything expected of an associate art director or art director, but with an extra helping of experience, wisdom and leadership. Senior art directors are responsible for what any piece of creative work produced by SHS looks like. Could be an ad. A website. A menu. A brochure. An outdoor board. A package. A video on YouTube. An online banner ad. Innumerable things.
The senior art director — often working in tandem with a copywriter — helps imagine and produce the answer to any client’s challenge. Whether the project is a campaign or a single item, the point should be to create something that has an instant positive impact on the consumer that promotes the client’s product or brand. The senior art director is involved with creating and orchestrating the content of any solution and, in particular, is the main guardian of the look and design of the final piece. This may involve working with and directing other art directors.
A senior art director shouldn’t be surprised to be asked to:
- Assemble a client presentation.
- Present ideas (your own and others’) to clients.
- Contact, commission and direct photographers, illustrators or other specialists.
- Set an example for and mentor associate art directors or designers.
- Talk to students or other groups about working at an agency.
- Lead team discussions and initiatives.
- Salary commensurate with experience; 401k plan with employer matching.
- Great health insurance plans, wellness incentives and many other perks.
- SHS is an equal opportunity employer, of course.
— 03.21.18 —