A Guest Post by Jeff Williams

As a senior designer, I’m occasionally asked to take the role of art director on small projects. This new role has gotten me thinking about what makes a good art director. I’ve worked with art directors who inspire their designers to produce great work and I’ve worked with art directors who can really stifle the creative process. So what makes an art director great?

I believe that a great art director makes you a better designer. They don’t impose or force their own ideas. They create an environment where everyone is comfortable contributing feedback, criticism and praise. They know when to be hands-on and more importantly, when to be hands-off.

Personally, when I am in the role of art director, I make sure that my team has a clear understanding of the project. When ideas are presented, I use questions to try and understand the thought process behind the design. To figure out how the designer arrived at the solution that they are presenting. When I do offer my opinion, I make sure that my team has the chance to explain why their solution works and convince me. Of course I still struggle with unexpected problems and I am always trying to improve myself.

Everyone handles things differently and I would love to start a discussion on this topic.

What is a great art director?

What is a bad art director?

How do great art directors handle differences of opinion? Especially when they feel that the design isn’t a very good solution.

How do great art directors make you a better designer?

JeffJeff Williams is a designer and illustrator in San Francisco, California, USA. He has worked as a graphic designer and senior graphic designer for the past 9 years creating advertising and marketing graphics. He loves to write and talk about design, advertising and art.
His online portfolio is at www.jefw.com

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