Can Art Direction fog or flourish Designer` skills?

My question comes from a previous talk with a friend and their frustration understanding what they were capable of doing and what kind of projects they were asked to deliver at some point.

In my opinion, the aesthetics that had to be delivered were way poorer than flattering, and in the end, the designers (my friend included) took the blame for certain projects not being as professional as they could be. What are your thoughts on that?


  • Art direction is the natural progression for many designers but usually comes once they've become a pro at UI / type etc skills, a strong graff of the technical day to day skills. Art direction helps win pitches and builds a senior designer to a head of design. Most Head's of Design or Design Director's are brilliant art director's too.
  • A lot of the art directors I’ve worked with want to see what I come up with, even if that wasn’t the case I’d still like to bring my own thoughts to the table. I used to get scamps from an ad or cd but they would always insist that it was just a seed of an idea and I was to run with it see where it goes.

    I think I’ve been lucky with my creative “superiors” who see me more than just a tool to piece things together and nurtured me and allowed me to flourish! I like to see creative relationships as a collaboration... we’re thinkers not just doers after all!
  • From the little experience I had, I find that the group dynamics heavily influence the outcome. If the art directors can’t communicate constructively, they’ll just end up destroying each other’s ideas. Somebody will then have to take the blame for poorly thought concepts, which will necessarily translate into poor designs. Art directing by yourself instead often gets you to a creative barren land if you don’t open yourself properly to divergent thinking.

    Hope I got what you meant
  • Hi Priscilla, in my experience it all depends on building a good working relationship with the other/external designer/studio who are working on your project. Until recently I was responsible for comissioning illustrators and designers for ELT course books and if you and the external designer have a good understanding of one another then you’re able to get the best results, knowing their stengths and weeknesses.

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