There are many people in the communications industry that
hire illustrators. The various job positions of these people and their level of
authority and responsibility on assignments is important for illustrators to
know for several reasons. Knowing who to approach for work, who recommends
illustrators for assignments, who determines the suitability of an illustrator
for an assignment, who originates an assignment, who guides the assignment
process, who has creative/artistic authority for the work, who presents sketch
concepts to the client, who represents the work on behalf of the illustrator,
who negotiates the pay scale for an assignment, etc., are all very important.
|© 2012 Don Arday.|
These days, illustrators produce work for wide range of industries.
Each of these industries has their own flavor of types of jobs such as creative
director, designer, etc. This article will focus on the more traditional
initiators of illustration assignments. However, there is a great deal of
similarity when it comes to job content and responsibility across many other
industries that utilize creative/artistic teams, such as the film, gaming, public
relations, fashion, and broadcast industries to name a few. And people in
similar job positions in those industries also hire illustrators.
The creative director position usually represents the
top-level creative position in an advertising agency. Many creative directors
are also vice presidents of their respective companies. A creative director is
essentially the person who guides the overall direction of the creative content
for clients as well as the agency. The creative director maintain a consistency
of quality, feeling, personality, and style exhibited in the final work the agency
produces as a whole by setting expectations for the creative team. A creative
director is responsible for the creative output of the agency, management of
the entire creative staff, client relations, determining project timelines, and
aspects of the agency budget. The creative director is the presiding judge over concept development, layout and design, copywriting, and final production for
every item the agency releases for use in media.
Creative directors can, and often do, assume the job roles,
either in total or in part, for other members of the agency creative team. For
instance, the creative director may decide to write the copy for an ad campaign
and create individual ad concepts. And even though they are high up within
their company, they can directly hire an illustrator for an assignment.
The art director coordinates all the visual aspects that go
into producing the components of an advertising campaign. The art director
reports directly to the creative director for assignment guidance and approval
of work. Art directors are responsible for the concept, layout, design, and
visual style of print and graphic media including choice of typography, color
scheme, picture element, and visual content. In addition, an art director
involved with broadcast media assumes the added responsibility of styling and
coordinating the components that are used in a time and motion based production
such as a television ad or radio spot. The art director also oversees all
collateral materials that might accompany an ad campaign such as brochures,
direct mail, point of sale displays, etc.
To do all of this, an art director primarily directs. As
opposed to being a producer, an art director serves as a decision-making coordinator
of people and efforts that go into creating an ad. Art directors commission other
professionals from a range of fields to produce the parts of a project that the
art director then pieces together.
Art directors hire design firms to aid with the design
components of a campaign, photographers to execute photography concepts, film
and animation firms to execute time-based concepts, modeling and talent
agencies to provide people subjects for concepts, stylists to acquire objects
or choose locations for an ad production, and most importantly, illustrators to
create finished art. Additionally, illustrators because they possess superior
drawing skills, are hired at interim stages to aid in drawing concepts for
presentation to clients, e.g., storyboards, ad layouts, character concepts,
scenic drawings, etc.
Many high volume agencies have a job position called art
buyer. The art buyer researches and maintains a database of individuals and
firms that create visual art. An art buyer acts as an internal or external consultant
to an art director and/or creative director by recommending the talents of
illustrators, photographers, animators, and artists. In addition to making art
suggestions to the creative decision makers, the art buyer is the main point of
initial contact with visual talent for the advertising agency.
Art buyers may work on recommending artist talent for
assignment work or they may act to purchase works of art on behalf of an
advertising agency or client. An art buyer is also involved in aspects of art
workflow and financial budget.
executive (AE) serves as both as a salesperson of agency services and as an
ambassador for the agency relationship to a client. The account executive
oversees the administrative aspects of an advertising campaign. The AE
coordinates the work of several divisions within the agency including the
creative team, the marketing team, the media placement team, and the production
staff. The AE works very closely with the creative director and art director to
supply client input and feedback on the creative effort.
less frequently than an art buyer or art director, an account executive may
make recommendations, or forward those made by the client, concerning the
choice of artistic talent, including illustrators.
author of advertising content, the copywriter is responsible for writing all of
the verbal components or “copy” in an advertising campaign. Copywriters also
write scripts, marketing plans, creative strategy proposals, and other collateral
materials related to an advertising campaign. A copywriter generates ideas and
creative concepts. In many cases the copy content will drive the entire visual
concept development of a campaign. In many ad agencies, copywriters are teamed
up with art directors to jointly solve creative problems.
|© 2012 Don Arday.|
Due to the fact
that copywriters are also involved with formulating campaign concepts, they are
often consulted in regard to visual styles and talent choices. So, occasionally
they weigh in on the hiring of an illustrator.
Graphic Design/Media Design Firm
The design director is the design firm equivalent to an
advertising agency creative director, and many studios use the title of
creative director instead of design director. The design director in some
design firms is also the firm’s owner. Design and media firms tend to be smaller
in size and employ less staff than ad agencies. A design director usually has a
strong background in the fundamentals of graphic design, concept visualization,
ideation, visual communication, design production, etc. Design directors can
draw and present ideas and visualize ideas digitally. Like creative directors,
design directors influence the quality, feeling, personality, and style exhibited
in the final work of the firm.
The design director oversees the creative output of the studio
by managing the artistic output of the creative staff, Like an ad agency
account executive, the design director also directly interacts with clients, sets
project workflows and schedules, and determines project budgets including design
Although design directors most often do not create the visual elements
for the projects they work on, they are aware of the available pool of talent
and hire freelance illustrators to produce art and picture elements that are
complex and call for very specialized skills and expertise. Most often, they
will make a recommendation to the designer who will then follow through by
contracting the illustrator.
Designers and senior designers work under the supervision of
the design director and essentially perform the same functions. The main
difference between senior designers and designers is that the senior designers generally deal with higher profile clients.
They also handle more complex and difficult assignments. Designers are on par
with ad agency art directors when it comes to responsibilities, and some design
firms use the term art director in place of designer. One difference from an ad
agency art director is that designers do create and produce visual designs that
are incorporated into their assignments. Designers utilize graphic design
practices, ideation, concept visualization, typography, and design production
to produce work. The designer is also responsible for seeing the work though to
completion, be it brochures, signage, packaging, identity design, etc., the
list of assignment types is quite extensive.
Designers will often create stylized visual elements for the
projects they work on. For more complex forms of art they hire freelance
illustrators who are chosen for their particular abilities and style.
Design firms employ or contract writers to create the text
for the work they produce. The working relationship between a designer and a
writer can be a close one, but more often than not, the text and design are
developed independently, one following the other. From time to time, writers are
consulted about the visual direction of the work and who will be hired to produce
the illustrations needed.
The editor is the person chiefly in charge of controlling
the content of a publication. This includes all visual content as well as
editorial content. Although less of a creative person in a visual sense, the
editor, never the less, has the right of approval for the visualization of the
publication. This includes the layout and design, the use of typography, and
the choice and conceptual content of visual elements, i.e., illustrations, photographs
and graphical details. An editor establishes the editorial policy of
the publication by determining its size, content and style. The editor sets
publication workflows and schedules, and oversees the publication budget.
Editors work directly with a writer or staff of writers,
even if it is a freelance writer. With regard to illustrators, the editor works
indirectly through an art director or designer. However, the editor must
approve the hiring of an illustrator or photographer, and the work they produce
for the publication. Many editors are familiar with art talent, and will
suggest the art director hire a particular illustrator.
The art director at a publishing company is usually in
charge of steering the visual aspects of a publication, determining the visual
style, i.e., the look and feel of the publication, and content of visuals. The
art director plans the use of space in a magazine or book such as the number of
pages to be devoted to a story, article, or feature; and the general scale of,
and number of, visuals to be used to accompany the text.
With regard to visuals, the art director acts as a liaison
to the editor for all proposed visual ideas and sketches produced by
freelancers or staff artists. Possessing the most familiarity with the styles
and abilities of freelance talent, the art director chooses who will create the
visuals needed for the publication. In book publishing, it is most commonly
only one illustrator or photographer, but in the case of a magazine
publication, a single monthly issue can provide freelance employment for dozens
The publication designer works very closely with the art
director to produce the publication, and in some smaller publishing houses and
magazines, the designer and art director are one in the same person. The
designer takes over where the art director leaves off by determining the
relationship of the visuals to the text, the style of typography, and graphical
elements to be used to execute the layout of the publication. In most cases the
layout decisions such as size of visuals, their pictorial orientation, and the number
of images needed are predetermined before freelance talent is contracted. In
this respect, designers also play an important role in selecting and