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The art director, or DA, organizes and follows the deployment of a graphic project. This can be the creation of a video game, the launch of an advertising campaign or the reorganization of a website. Its objective: that the project preserves before all a coherence, in particular from a graphic point of view. For this, a freelance art director is placed at the head of a creative team whose production he manages: graphic designers, model makers, photographers, editors ... He is himself a creative, but associated with an editorial function.
The artistic director is above all a team leader. A freelance art director is aptly named: he was actually trained in graphic arts, and he is able to create visual aids himself. However, the "DA" tends to abandon his graphic tablet and his pencil to turn to an executive function: he is most often in charge of a team, even if he can happen to work alone, and therefore to achieve himself the visuals. It can consist of image professionals (illustrators, model makers, photographers, etc.) and other creatives whose skills are complementary: programmer, editor, etc. Each of these people with different abilities, the objective is then for the artistic director to articulate the productions of all these people to achieve a product that satisfies his client.
This is why freelance art directors, who are also professionals in communication and marketing, can be found in advertising agencies and publishing houses. The press, consulting companies or video games are also very demanding.
The mission of a freelance DA is to ensure the visual deployment of a brand, especially around a project. He works hand in hand with the staff of the customer relations department and with that of the marketing department. When he is an employee, the art director is usually part of the company's communications department. We find in his missions the method specific to creative freelancers: it is to develop, refine and then follow a project to its end:
The artistic direction therefore requires a great sense of organization. You have to be naturally curious, have an undeniable team spirit and a good general knowledge. The artistic sense is inseparable from the profession. Moreover, for a long time, knowing how to draw was compulsory to claim. Today, it is rather the DTP tools (Photoshop, InDesign ...) that are essential, even if knowing how to switch from one medium to another is always a plus.
One must also be diplomatic and know how to accept criticism. Indeed, if no idea of the DA seduces his client, he must resume his work from scratch.
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