Producing and executing campaigns that fuel exposure, brand development, and visual image for an artist.
Creative Directors shape an artist’s image by managing and driving different areas of their visual brand. Their role can range from working on tour merchandise designs and album covers to music video concepts and tour stage designs. They work cross-functionally with directors, photographers, graphic designers, and more to ensure the artist's vision is present throughout all aspects of their visual work. Often, Creative Directors will also be given a budget to manage all creative developments. They discuss branding, marketing, advertising, and other opportunities that reflect the artist’s visual development and overall aesthetic.
A label will often bring in the Creative Director during a new album cycle or tour to conceptualize artistic direction. The responsibilities of this role can vary depending on the label. Major labels usually have a full creative team to handle their artist’s needs. The creative director at a major label would oversee an artist’s creative decisions and collaborate on campaigns and visual direction. Indie labels will bring on one creative director, usually freelance, to handle all responsibilities related to the creative side. Creative Directors at smaller labels are able to gain more hands-on experience and operate on-site, working directly with the artist to execute their vision. Here, the role may call for styling, photography or set design, and social media management.
In today’s digital world, there are many platforms on which fans can digest content from their favorite artists. Clear, inventive creative direction across these platforms adds layers to an artist and compliments their work. Fans invest in an artist's world and vision, especially when it is visually appealing or something they can relate to. Creative Directors have the unique role of brainstorming and executing designs and campaigns that construct that world.
A creative director is often figuring out, from conception, what an artist’s branding and marketing strategy looks like and how they can express themselves, what the overall picture is and how to convey the message of the music to an audience.
Clare, Creative Director
The role of a Creative Director can vary based on the company. In the music industry, Creative Directors are often in charge of conceptualizing what an artist’s branding and marketing strategies will look like while allowing for the artist to express themselves. Common projects Creative Directors work on to establish that brand can range from album packaging, stage design, merch, and press photos.
Creative Directors work closely with the artist and their team to identify their goals and execute them in a campaign that suits the artist’s image and vision. They have to thoroughly understand the artist and their team to be able to accurately reflect them in campaigns and other creative work. Creative Directors are one of the closest people to an artist. Their job requires them to understand the artist’s goals, visions, and likes and dislikes. This requires a fair amount of time and is a difficult task to execute. They are replaceable, but only if there is another person that would immediately take their place and knows the artist extremely well. This role requires a deep understanding of the artist’s vision that is difficult to replace, but not impossible.
- creative vision
- project management
- design software
- quick thinking
60% in the office
40% on set
Is a degree required?
The recommended majors for a creative director are Graphic Design, Communications, Journalism, Photography, Marketing, or Art.
Becoming a creative director for an artist can be a hard thing to do. Some artists will bring on close friends as their creative directors as they already have an understanding of the artist as a person. Outside of that, individuals applying for creative director roles need to have a portfolio of their designs, concepts, and other work ready when applying to jobs.
Like any creative role, this one requires an artistic eye and the ability to think outside of the box. Professionals in this field typically major in a creative field such as art or graphic design. Being able to execute visual representation of your ideas is key, so experience with design software is essential for this role. Internships should revolve around art, design, or fashion as a means of building a professional portfolio and building your creative thinking.
An entry-level position that would eventually lead to a creative director role is a creative assistant or production assistant. It’s important to have multiple skill sets and have an eye for design. Starting small with photography or learning Photoshop or InDesign and posting online is a great way to begin refining your craft and ideas.
Media buying is part of the paid marketing effort. After identifying the channels, both traditional and digital, relevant to the targeted audience, a media buyer can purchase space in those outlets to increase exposure and ROI.
Written by Hina
Created by Jordan
Published October 25th 2021
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