Creative director  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A creative director is a position usually found within the film, fashion, advertising, media or entertainment industries, but may be useful in other creative organizations such as web development and software development firms as well. The job entails overseeing all aspects of product design.

In advertising, this means branding and advertising for a client and ensuring that the new branding and advertising fits in with the client's requirements and the image they wish to promote for their company or product. The main aspects of this role are to interpret a client's communications strategy and then develop proposed creative approaches and treatments that align with that strategy. Another is to initiate and stimulate creative ideas for and from everyone involved in the creative process.

In other industries, such as videogames, a creative director is responsible for the design, vision and direction of the product, which is a different role to that of a producer or project manager. Creative directors are sometimes also called lead designer or chief creative officers depending on the specific company in question.

A creative director is ultimately responsible for the quality of the final creative work. For this reason, they get the lion's share of acclaim when their team's efforts win awards, but conversely, the creative director shoulders the negativity (and the blame) when a project goes wrong, response falls short of expectations, or an important individual on the client's side dislikes or vetos an idea.

Advertising

While the many advertising and graphic design schools do graduate people with their own degrees and diplomas, there is no degree or diploma in "creative directing". Creative directors often have a strong command of the technical aspects of their business. Styles of creative direction are quite varied, however, with some creative directors being quite hands on while others will maintain a separation. Creative directors who are extremely familiar with graphics software, for example, can personally sit at the computer and achieve a 'look' for an advertisement that is the center of a new strategy for a brand, but is eluding everyone. On the other hand, those lacking this technical ability can sometimes find themselves in a situation where they are unable to manage a team effectively.

Advertising creative directors are usually promoted from copywriting or art directing positions. Familiarity with film-making techniques is also common. Creative directors rise to become executive creative directors, a position with executive responsibility for the entire creative department, and some progress to chairman of a firm.

Creative directors usually possess a VFX Movie, communication design or fine arts degree. Copywriters may have degrees in journalism, language arts or may develop more emphasis on advertising copywriting while pursuing a communication design degree. The discipline of being or becoming a Creative Director is a later-in-the-career phenomenon, a matter of proven experience.

Videogames

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 videogame 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 or Shigeru Miyamoto whose influence extends across more than one project.

Videogame creative directors usually come from either a programming or design background. They are typically people who have worked in the games industry for at least ten years and established a reputation as a designer or lead designer before assuming the role. Some creative directors enjoy a measure of celebrity in the gaming press or beyond. Creative directors in games are generally regarded as executive-level management, but are not to be confused with producers in that they are not generally involved in the particulars of contract negotiation, project management or staffing.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Creative director" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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