Art Director who also writes?

I’m an aspiring art director and is now working hard to find a job as a junior. I went to a few portfolio reviews with some well established creative directors, but I realize that they aren’t just looking for art directors that can art director. They are seeking for individuals with multiple talents like desktop publishing, graphic designs, and copywriting. While I’m comfortable with desktop and graphics, my biggest fear is copy. So my question is, as an art director, how can I improve my copywriting skills? Thank you so much and I appreciate it if you can give me some pointers to overcoming this phobia of mine.

Angee, first of all, thanks for reading. Professor Davis and I (Brook) will be answering your question.
From my experience, yes, Creative Directors are looking for Art Directors who can do more than just “concept” and “Art Direct”. Here’s my theory: You can’t really be a good art director without learning the ins and outs of Graphic Design, Production, Desktop publishing, typography etc. I’m not saying you have to become a Graphic Designer or a Typographer, but you have to know enough about it to be able to talk the talk and bring your ideas to life.

Now, copy is a different story. I find it very unusual that creative directors look for copywriting skills from an Art Director. Either you misinterpreted them or they want a multitasking Art Director (again, unusual) but either way I’ll tell you how to improve your skills.

If you misinterpreted them, maybe they meant

  • Polish the writing in your existing book: meaning, maybe they didn’t like the copy in your ads. In that case, you could find another Copywriter to polish the copy for you.

  • Who were you talking to? If you were talking to a writer CD then he or she may have given you directions from their perspective.

  • Maybe they think you could be better writer than an Art director: could that be it?

  • Maybe they just want you to become a well rounded Art Director who can write a little bit or at least know good copy when they see it.

In that case, here’s how you can improve your copywriting skills.

  • Research: Look at ads and really read the copy and see what you like and what you don’t like, try to figure out how they came up with the ideas and what their thought process was when writing it.

  • Take bad ads and put them next to great ads, half the battle is knowing what’s good copy and what’s bad.

  • Read “hey Whipple Squeeze this” 3 times. Great book, written by an amazing Copywriter/Creative Director.

  • Start writing: As simple as that. Start a blog, a diary, whatever, the more you write the better you’ll get.

With all that being said, I don’t think you necessarily need to be a Copywriter if you want to become an Art Director, so if I were you I would find a copywriter partner and work with them to polish your concepts. But always keep in mind that as a creative, you should always look for ways to craft your ideas, whether through copy or art direction. A word can be worth a thousand pictures and the most important thing is to learn how to communicate creativity whether it’s visual or verbal.

Answered by:
Dear Brook
Professor Davis


One thought on “Art Director who also writes?

  1. Thank you so much Professor Davis and Brook for answering my question in detail! Maybe I just need to find a copywriter for my work. Thanks again!

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