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Creative Director


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Hey Guys,

I've been delving into the world of graphic design jobs again, and am curious about the kind of job hierarchy in the design field.

Through research I've come across Creative Director as the kind of top dog in the field. Are Creative Director positions available in companies that specialize in Brand Identity, or are they generally in more of an advertising kind of setting? It's been kind of unclear to me throughout some searching, and it'd be helpful to hear from someone who has experience with this.

I've kind of gotten the idea that the hierarchy would look something like this:

>>>Creative Director

>>Art Director

>Logo Designer

Now obviously that's really brief, theres probably 10-15 other titles that fit in their somewhere, but that's the general gist I've got.

For a career doing something like this, what would be the best approach? Degree in something with Graphic Arts, find a bottom position then work your way up?

Thanks for any insight you guys can provide me with, a career in something like this has always interested me, and any info I can find is helpful.

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you've got the gist of it. it really varies from company to company as each has a different number of employees and way of doing things.

CDs normally are the most experienced people in the design team. but most that i know in companies (in house or otherwise) are "project managers" more than they are artist. they handle the schedules and phone calls and emails and hirings and finding printers and finding freelancers, etc with a little time to do actual design. "art director" is a title with some flexibility. if you're talking about the main designer on a team its likely his title is something like "lead artist". he'll probably be in charge of the direction of projects and deal directly with clients. but again, these positions arnt something thats hard defined. you may have 1 guy in a group doing all this stuff, and if you're a freelancer you've got this plus designing and invoicing, etc.

CDs definitely work in branding. but again it varies for each company. if you aspire to be a CD in branding/identity theres definitely opportunity there. you might be surprised to know that a lot of what you see in sports at least starts with 1 man design businesses. Mark Verlander and Joe Bosack being 2 of the bigger names.

your hierarchy list is definitely general. underneath the top guys, you have your senior designers (5+ years experience) > web designers/developers, graphic designers > interns. in most cases, these people dont work on 1 type of media. for instance, your graphic designers should know how to do print, web design, web development, logos, flash, maybe video editing or photography. at least have some knowledge of those things, you dont have to be an expert in every field. but i cant stress enough, it varies from company to company.

theres no 1 way to get started. you may be able to build a nice portfolio, get in touch with the right person, then become an intern. most pro sports teams do accept internships for 1 year. the hiring possibility thereafter is very slim though. of course, going to school for graphic design and/or digital arts is what i would recommend. you learn more, you learn faster, you learn from professionals. but i dont want to debate the old "school vs no school" approach.

as a real world example of a companies design team, my company's marketing group consist of 4 people. our "team leader" does most of the work with other clients and dealing directly with the CEO. she has a degree in business and marketing but nothing in design. our SR designer has about 20 years experience and basically knows everything! whatever problem comes along, he can fix it. we have a guy that does web design and development only, and im a "graphic and web designer" of title but more like a brand manager. all the logos and branding projects start with me, but ive also done brochures, stationary, web design, photo editing, and email advertising. and that was just this week, plus i still freelance outside of the full time job.

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