Steve Easterbrook said, “When you get things right, good things happen.” Seems like something Yogi Berra should have said! Unfortunately, there is often significant challenge in getting something right. Hiring your next art director star is one of those things that can present significant challenge. Follows are three questions you can ask yourself and your team, prior to interviewing candidates, that will help take some of the challenge out of identifying the right person for your role.
Where’s the line?
Organizations can draw lines differently between the creative director and art director. In general, creative directors provide the ideas and art directors provide the execution. The typical art director communicates the vision to the team and oversees the team through the execution of the project. This often includes shepherding the project through production, editing, and printing. Not every art director has the “big idea” capabilities required to be a creative director. In hiring an art director you will need to know where your “line” is between raw idea generation and execution. If you hire a pure execution person into a role where there is significant need for idea generation then you will be putting a person into a role where they likely cannot succeed.
What’s the future?
As noted above, not every art director is geared to become a creative director. Does your organization need or expect the person who is hired into this role to grow into creative director? If so, then making sure the person you hire can (and wants to) grow into a creative director is critical. There is no right or wrong answer here. Some organizations would love to have an art director who will always be an art director. However, for other organizations, hiring a person that won’t grow out of the role can cause a lack of opportunity for growth-minded employees and lead to unwanted attrition. The key is to identify what the desired situation is and then hire accordingly while setting proper expectations with candidates.
What kinds of hands?
The art director likely will have some hands-on responsibilities, meaning they will be directly participating in the design process by creating artwork or copy. If they will be directly shepherding the projects through the production phase, they may also need some technical skills to help the team get things done. In our digital and integrated world, there are more technical skills required than ever before. The key is to identify what the hands-on needs of the role are and what technical skills will be required to support the team.
These certainly aren’t the only questions you have to ask yourself before your next art director hire. There are logistical, cultural, budgetary, and other decisions that will have to be made. However, we hope these three questions provide some valuable assistance in your hiring journey. Had success at hiring art directors? I would love to hear about it in our comments section below.