We’ve all heard the expression – the University of Life. Being in advertising, especially as an art director, certainly uses all the course work picked up at that university. The most important skill to have as an art director (and copywriter) is to have a wide curiosity about the world around us and people in it. Get that bit right, and then the rest is just a bit of skilling up.

Art directors normally work in a team with copywriters. If you watch Mad Men, you might be led to believe the copywriters come up with the ideas and the art director makes them look nice. These days, both have equal role in concept creation. (And they don’t have a drinks cabinet in their office). After that, art directors DO have to work on visuals and copywriters DO have to work on words. Although art directors can write headlines, and copywriters draw! Confused? Great, now you’re getting it.

Damian Hanley, Creative Director, In The Company of Huskies

To really mess with your head, I should also mention at this point, most art directors can’t ACTUALLY draw ( I know this seems mad) but the important thing to remember is, it’s the IDEA that counts. If you can draw a stick man, you’re good enough – as long as the idea is there.

You can get a photographer or someone who can draw, to do it up later. Pay them to make you look good in other words.

So, basically it’s all about the idea.

That’s the real art, in art direction.