Advertising art director

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Steven Harper works as an art director in an agency, producing adverts and other promotional material which links words with visuals for maximum impact. He works closely with copywriters.

What is involved in your job as an art director?

Although I take responsibility for designing the visual image of an advert, I work with the copywriter to come up with ideas. If we are doing posters, for example, we'll both think of visuals. If we need to do headlines, we both think of headlines. We feel this method is a lot more time-efficient and gets a better result.

How do you create a new ad?

Our job is to come up with ideas that will best sell the product. Almost every product has a USP (unique selling proposition) and the key is to work out what that is. Once you've found something about that product which no other competitors can say, you have to design the ads in a way that will appeal to your target audience.

Why did you choose this type of work?

I have always liked films, creating scripts and having ideas. It seemed natural to go into this line of work.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

Cracking or developing a brief and making the ads. I also get satisfaction from knowing that I have helped a client sell a product.

What is the most difficult part of the job?

When you have worked hard on a project for six months and suddenly the client pulls the campaign for whatever reason. Trying to gain momentum and get motivated after a setback like that is difficult.

Steven's route

  • Degree in media arts.
  • Postgraduate diploma in copywriting and art direction.
  • Work placement at McCann Erickson.

Steven's tips

  • The key is to be simple. Have one thing to say and say it in a memorable way.
  • You need to be able to take criticism and have bags of energy and enthusiasm.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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