This week in Kelli Matthews’ J452: Strategic Communications class we are taking over PROpenMic! My assignment for this project is to create video content that portrays the role of an art director in an organization.
I interviewed art directors Todd Cooper of the Eugene Weekly and Dan Pimental of Celeste-Daniels Advertising and Design. The video content, which will be posted here and to PROpenMic on Wednesday, focuses on Todd’s role at the Weekly. The following post will be featured along side the video, focusing on Dan’s work with Celeste-Daniels. Here’s an early look!
Being the Art Director
Celeste-Daniels Advertising and Design, Art Director
“A true art director is just a manager who decides what art goes where, and then instructs a team to get it produced. You also need a massive amount of creative skills because you are often the main person coming up with layouts and ideas for the look of a piece.”
Being an art director, much like being anything else, requires the right skill set, tools, and knowledge, all of which are derived from having had the right background.
Though Dan received professional training at San Francisco’s Graphic Arts Institute, he described his background saying, “I am self-taught. I learned the trade through a combination of working in various positions, trade schools, and study on my own.”
Since 1979 he has been diversifying his background with work in newspaper, magazine, and as a free lance writer/photographer, but let’s remember tip #1 from today’s video: Be Creative! Dan’s creative skills are in both film and digital photography and he has a master level knowledge of Photoshop.
He says these skills are the most vital, but also emphasizes the importance of knowing “Dreamweaver for Web work, Illustrator for vector art designs (logos), Final Cut Pro to edit videos, Peak to edit audio, and, of course, NeoOffice for writing.”
Dan’s varied background matches his diverse role at Celeste-Daniels, where, he explains, “The position of ‘Art Director’ is only one of maybe ten jobs I do.” No skill is more important than another, Dan says, as “It would be impossible to lead Celeste Daniels without all of these skills.”
When wearing the Art Director mask his role is to manage account representatives who are responsible for knowing what the client wants. Then Dan and the account rep meet and select the appropriate art for the piece.
Draft one is created when Dan meets with a graphic designer (sometimes himself), to gather the written content and images. Dan says the benefit of being the designer is, “I eliminate lots of time with meetings, so the process moves quickly.”
His work also entails collaboration with consultants, web developers, and social media experts in order to produce the necessary materials for ad campaigns, including printed collateral material, Websites, multimedia, video, trade show displays, radio or TV ads, and billboards.
Working with many different people to produce a coherent product can often be difficult, so we must remember tip #2: Have the right team! Dan explained, “The team knows their trade well, and once I tell them what we need, they go to work and almost always hit their mark. Getting the material from the client and learning their wishes and intentions is the hardest part of the process.”
It’s also important to have a great team because it is ultimately the art director’s job to manage it. Dan said if “you select a good team, managing is easy.” He treats his team with respect, leaves out the “phony BS”, and they know he is sincere.
But wait a second! Time out! hold the phone! This is PR Open Mic, not Ad Open Mic! What does all of this great advice mean to aspiring PR art/creative directors?Let’s find out.
Dan says that, “Advertising is a multi-faceted trade…As an agency, we find out what the client wants to say, and who they want to say it to. From that basic info, we craft a campaign that delivers that specific message to a specific buying group.”
That doesn’t sound much different than target audiences, key messages, and PR campaigns. So, is there that big of a difference between Advertising and PR? That’s a discussion for another post.
A special thanks to Dan Pimental for his time and participation. Thank you!