How to Become a Creative Director

A creative director oversees a team of designers and is the point person for all projects and client communications. It’s a juggling act of fostering magical possibilities while working within deadlines and budgets. Creative directors must be able to communicate their ideas clearly to the rest of the company and have the ability to synthesize abstract ideas into practical design implications.

Many people work their way up to the position, often starting in an entry-level role like a graphic designer or assistant creative director. It’s important to start early and focus on building a portfolio. As soon as you’re in a job that requires a portfolio, begin creating a website that showcases your work and update it as you complete new projects.

Whether it’s a website, showreel or PowerPoint presentation, you need a good-looking portfolio to get a job as a creative director. Hiring managers will look for several years of experience in the creative field, preferably with some management experience.

The role is a hotly contested one. In some agencies, a creative director is a coveted title and the best creatives can command six-figure salaries. In other agencies, the position is a stepping stone to other senior positions that will allow them to make even more money.

But there are changes afoot in the world of creative direction, and it’s not just the big luxury houses that are appointing celebrity creative directors. Technology is going to change the entire landscape of advertising, and if creative directors want to survive, they’re going to have to adapt.

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