I was recently hired to come in and mop up a marketing mess made by…the accounting director. When a creative content issue arose, the President chose the highest-level director who had available time in her schedule. She ‘designed’ the M&A prospectus in excel and added clip art to ‘bring it to the next level’. The result was a disastrous attempt at marketing that neither hit the financial or marketing mark. Since she had already printed the piece online thinking she was saving the company money, and mailed it thinking she was being efficient, the CEO had an urgent problem that needed quick solutions.

Strategic marketing issues arise every day in business. Often, they are shoved aside until they become urgent (the squeaky wheel always gets the grease) and then an organization will throw resources at it to make the problem go away. In this case that reactive process backfired causing embarrassment, requiring an emergency reboot, and causing a PR nightmare with top-tier clients. Enter a strategic marketing expert and art director for hire.

A consultant serving as an art director can be a highly effective and affordable solution to small or mid-range companies who do not have a creative director on staff. They can be easily accessed when needed for projects and then sidelined until the next need arises. So, what can an art director do for you?

A professional art director should bring extensive experience in strategic marketing and design to the table. An ideal AD should be comfortable working with your staff and trustworthy enough to interface with clients. This person should have extensive working knowledge of your organization and the industry or market in which you work. They need to have big-picture conceptual abilities as well as meticulous attention to detail. They should also have a reliable network of resources to fulfill any project from start to completion. An art director can manage an entire creative team or fill in as needed on projects requiring professional creative attention. Ana rt director will provide very specific services which may include:

          • Meeting with top level executives to establish strategic communications plan that requirecreativity and art production
          • Meeting with clients to determine project scope
          • Develop creative budgets and calendars
          • Hire graphic artists on your behalf
          • Work with outside vendors to produce art for projects in print production, apparel,  web design,   photography, illustration, signage, displays, and advertising.
          • A freelance art director will also be able to act as a production artist who can provide graphic design services for projects you want to manage internally when an art department is not available.

Perhaps the most important aspect of hiring an art director is to find someone you trust to enter a long-term relationship that will grow along with your organization. If you find yourself in need of a creative person to manage your marketing and advertising projects, check out a freelance art director to see if bringing on a creative partner will meet your immediate and long-term needs.