How To Become A Creative Director? Crawl Before You Walk

Many creative workers consider the position of creative director as the destination in their career. So how to reach that peak of fame? And what does a creative director do? Keep reading to paint a creative director’s portrait and figure out how to become a creative director.

Creative Director Job Description

In brief, creative directors oversee the creative department. They are the big cheese in companies operating in specific fields such as design, entertainment, fashion, marketing, and advertising.

Here are the more specific creative director job description:

  • Work with the brand team to build a business’s brand image
  • Carry out the company branding, promotional campaigns, and marketing communications
  • Convey its message through communication channels
  • Adjust and implement customized marketing plans depending on each client’s requirements
  • Analyze trends, evaluate updated data, and update the latest marketing tactics
  • Supervise the department’s daily operation, ensure the workflow, and keep track of deadlines and budgets

In each specific field, the creative director will have different duties. Let’s dive in quickly to explore these minor differences in the creative director job description.

Advertising Industry

As part of their duties, creative directors develop plans and strategies to market the company’s products and services. 

In this industry, they play the role of project managers. In more details, they work directly with clients, partners, and investors to meet their requirements and wishes. First, the creative directors will discuss with the client, get their requirements, then develop a detailed plan. Also, they stimulate the creative thinking of the whole team to implement and amend, then come up with the final plan that best suits the client’s wishes.

Fashion Industry

In a fashion house, the role of the creative director is even more crucial and indispensable. Sounds interesting, but what does a creative director do? 

Instead of designing garments, the creative director develops and conveys to the designers an overall concept, especially for a particular collection. The primary responsibility of a fashion creative director is to determine what ideas would appeal to the target market and how to apply and distribute the concept to appropriate designers. Markedly, such creations need to ensure the consistency of the distinctive style that makes the brand’s name.

Creative Director Job Description

Karl Lagerfeld – a fashion legend and the soul of Chanel – Source:

Not only conceptualizing, but the roles of the creative directors also include undertaking other related tasks. For example, they can organize new collection introductions, build product promotion campaigns, and establish relationships with celebrities. For instance, Karl Lagerfeld, former creative director of Chanel, regularly takes on the role of stylist and photographer for Chanel’s campaigns. Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs or the duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have the full right to decide their brands’ faces.

Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs – the former creative director of the French design house Louis Vuitton – Source:

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana – a perfect opposition – Source:

Obviously, the fashion world has been undergoing significant changes. This continuous development causes brands and their “souls” to face a new challenge if they want to survive. In Europe, discerning consumers no longer prefer logos or brand designs. On the contrary, they focus on style and codes that only people in the fashion world understand such as Hermès’s Kelly and Birkins bags, Gucci’s Snaffle bags, and Tom Ford’s cat eye glasses.

Maybe so, style is the ultimate criterion contributing to a fashion creative director’s success.

Game Industry

Regarding the field of games, especially electronic games, the game creative director (or game designer, executive designer, and game director) stands out for product development and design throughout the production process. 

To move a video game project ahead, the director must come up with ideas, deploy, and develop the game product across multiple titles. Indeed, this position serves as the main design authority across the game company’s product line.

Same as in other fields, game creative director job description entails leading the team to turn ideas into viable products. Additionally, they take on ensuring the alignment and cooperation of subordinates with other departments.

Film Industry

In the film industry, the creative directors, or production designers undertake the main task of designing the look and theme of a movie. They create new ideas and foster them, thereby conveying that movie’s meaningful messages and content to the public.

The job is similar to game creative directors in that they oversee a team of employees. They are also constantly developing novel ideas and appropriate working methods.

In addition, when there is a fund distribution to the art department, the creative director has to determine how to distribute and use the resources most economically and effectively to ensure optimal quality in the film’s art department. For example, during the setting up scenes process before the shooting phase, creative directors need to understand what props and effects to apply and how to reuse them in other sets and scenes of the film.

Film Industry

Creative director needs to use props suitably in every scenes to save the budget – Source:

Besides, the creative director’s role in the film industry does not just stop at the movies. Let’s take a closer look at special projects at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, such as Pandora – The World of Avatar, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, and Marvel Avengers Campus, for example. The creative directors lead project teams to collaborate with Walt Disney Imagineers to create unique and engaging merchandise design and experiences. Thereby, the team can enhance the storytelling of new Lands and Attractions.

Creative Director’s Salary And Compensation In The United States 

In the United States, a creative director’s annual salary, including housing, transport, and other benefits, is around 92,300 USD on average. This figure may range from 44,300 USD to 145,000 USD. Below is a thorough earning analysis based on various criteria:

Creative Director’s Salary And Compensation In The United States

Salary distribution of creative directors in the US – Source:

Salary comparison by experience

Creative director salary comparison by years of experience in the US – Source:

Salary Comparison by education

The creative director’s salary comparison by education in the US – Source:

Bonus and incentives - how to become a creative director

The detailed bonus and incentive rates in the US – Source:

Do You Fit A Creative Director Position?


By and large, a bachelor’s degree in art, graphic design, marketing, or other majors related to design is usually a requirement for a creative director position. Furthermore, some creative directors seek a master’s degree in fine arts or business administration to further their abilities and expertise or get an edge over other candidates applying for the same position.

In this cyber era, the content is more about winning the digital world. The need for a digital transformation forces creative people to equip themselves with essential digital communication skills to keep them up-to-date with the latest trend and maximize their media effectiveness. Thus, creative directors may consider joining courses or seminars such as graphic design software or digital design.



Properly called “creative”, a creative director needs to come up with novel thoughts and unique ideas, bringing a breath of fresh air to the current market. Especially in the context of economic development, when the market is constantly changing over time, it is essential to update and launch new products to catch up with trends. 

Unquestionably, a highly regarded creative director will not just fulfill his/ her duty by creating decent products and ideas, which are somewhat too familiar, dull, and lacking attraction. Now that advertising and PR agencies are getting abundant, creativity needs to be put on top to help your company stand out. Therefore, this characteristic seems to be the most important criterion to help promote your brand and render positive outcomes.

Read more: Extra Tips To Gracefully Show Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Do You Fit A Creative Director Position?- how to become a creative director

Wedding dress design business – Source:

Uniqueness and Digital Communication Savvy

A key element for a creative director is to have a unique perspective to present his/ her style differently from other competitors. Simultaneously, it is essential to have a decent view of digital media and convert their savvy into valuable campaigns. Obviously, a leader in the creative department needs to be at the forefront and lead the development trend, approach issues quickly, and build the most effective communication strategies. 

Having a grasp of digital communication is both an advantage and a requirement for creative directors. This is the root of developing their ideas most accurately and impressively to convey these messages to customers, thereby creating sound communication effects and bringing satisfactory results.

Leadership and Management Skills

Generally, being a creative director requires leadership and management skills. From giving specific plans and strategies to directing and dividing the task list, not to mention creating a good bonding among members, it is necessary to have these 2 skills to boost their business’s growth. 

In addition, the creative directors need to manage the work system to ensure that not only the schedule is progressing as planned, but also the budget for the implementation is minimized and most profitable for the business.

Leadership and Management Skills - how to become a creative director

A creative director is leading a creative department – Souce:

Suitability Checked. Next, How To Become A Creative Director?

Besides educational institutions, creative directors typically get their training through hands-on work experience. They might start their careers with specific entry-level jobs, for example, graphic designers, artists, photographers, marketing assistants, or other artistic jobs, before advancing to a creative director position. We suggest building a portfolio to present to the recruiters during this learning-by-doing period when applying for these jobs. 

Find out how to make better preparation for your job application here:

Job application

The Brief Guide On Job Application Email Subject


Hope that you enjoy the above creative director job description and have already had your own answers to the questions “What does a creative director do?” and “How to become a creative director?”. In case you decide to reach this position, remember to crawl before you walk.

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Emma Anderson

Emma Anderson is a career consultant and freelance writer for JobandEdu by night. Layla assists students, and new hires in determining a suitable career path and walk them through the application process. She decides to pursue writing since she thinks everyone should have access to information about potential careers, such as the application process and the company's culture. She's into writing, driving her with stuff that interests her in all her good reads.