4+D 10.05.2022 – Posted in: Space.cat© Blog
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Concept. Content. Direct the art.
The most important aspect of art direction is the “concept.” Sure, talent might be an issue when it comes to thinking up great concepts, and your idea — or your art director’s — might not win you any awards, but you can develop good ideas. Creativity is a process, and you’ve got to find your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Goals, goals, goals. You’ve heard it all before, but there’s a reason you’ve heard it all before. Good concepts accomplish something. And that something should be the objective to which you and your client have agreed. Always ask yourself, “will this idea help us reach our goal?”
- Use idea-stimulating techniques. Fantastic ideas might just come to some in the shower, but the rest of us can be helped along by using techniques like brainstorming. There are plenty of books on idea generation, and the rules of brainstorming are fairly well-known. Initially you should generate a large quantity of ideas. Your chances of coming up with a winning idea are usually directly proportionate to the number of ideas you generate. You can use the method of your choice. One effective technique, especially if you work alone, is to take a sheet of paper and write your problem or objective at the top. Then force yourself to quickly write or sketch twenty different ideas, and do not stop until you’ve got twenty. It will be difficult, but hey, if it were easy, it wouldn’t be called work. Here are some pointers:
- Don’t censor yourself. You’ll do that later. All ideas are welcome at this point, even (and sometimes especially) the crazy ones.
- Sketch quickly, write quickly. You’ll flesh out the best ideas later.
- Use symbols, metaphor, or theme.
- Don’t design.
- Once you’ve got your ideas on paper, put on the critic’s hat. Choose the best two or three ideas and flesh them out a bit. Now you can permit yourself to think more about the actual design, type, color, and layout. Test the ideas against your objective. The best idea should win, but stay flexible. Good ideas can always be made better.
- Keep the bird’s eye view Don’t get too wrapped up in the details. Work like a sculptor. Start with a large mass of ideas and refine from there — but keep looking at the whole through every phase of the project. Let the specialists work out the small details, and guide them subtly when necessary to keep everything on track.
So you’ve presented your idea and the client loves it. Now the project needs to be produced. Your job as an art director has just begun — now you’ve got to deal with the client, the programmers,the designers, the project manager, and anyone else involved in the project. All of these people contribute their insight and talent, and it’s your job to make sure that the end result remains as closely related to your concept as possible. Here are some tips for the production phase:
- Know your stuff. As an art director, you need to know what the technologies are and how they’re used. You need to know what everyone on your team does, and why. Leave the details up to them, but be sure you know what’s involved. It will gain you the respect of your team when they realize that you’re not working in a vacuum, and it will help you think up realistic ideas.
- Keep the specialists in check. Being a team player is a good thing, but just because John the primadonna designer has a thing for beveled buttons and 20-pixel drop shadows doesn’t mean you have to grant his wishes.
- Be open to those “in the know.” John the primadonna designer might just have a point (in this case, probably not). Test your team members’ suggestions against your objective and your concept. If it fits and it’s okay for the budget, let them do it. They know their stuff, too.
Art direction is a filter for making judgments; you pass every design choice through it. Start by determining the overall emotion. All the copy, photography, UI elements, buttons, and the kitchen sink should be pinged against this ideal. I like to think of it as the Magic Kaleidoscope Looking Glass. It helps to determine which path I need to take when struggling with design decisions.
More a theoretical exercise than a practical one, the students started to develop a feel for what were more natural combinations: Bright colors are easier to work with for happy pieces. A script typeface is a design element that naturally makes a piece feel formal.
You might create a unique illustration style that bridges the two. How do you make a formal-looking brochure without a script typeface? Try moderately sized, light serif type on a dark background with ornaments. Though these are stereotypical examples, the students developed a sense of how to make the world see what they wanted it to see, despite working within tight constraints. Art direction transcends constraints; in fact, it thrives within them.
The obvious joyful art direction all but dictates the design elements. Design fundamentals like grid systems and the Golden Ratio aren’t exactly household terms, but most people implicitly understand art direction.
The design makes my eyes bleed, but the art direction is spot on.
The widely varying role of “art director” adds to the confusion around the difference between art direction and design.
That fact misleads us into thinking that art direction is an optional part of the creative process. However, the opposite is true. Art direction is so crucial that it is never skipped, only inadvertently and subconsciously performed by designers who often aren’t ready for that type of responsibility.
Art directors must do one fundamental activity: they must ‘direct.’ If they fail to do this, they are not art directors. While this should not imply that art directors must exhibit arrogance or rigidity, it does mean that they have ‘the divine right of expertise.’ The art director is the ultimate arbiter of art and design…
“Every art director should start with the belief that his or her job is to lead not follow, direct not be directed, and be as great as possible and not settle for the line of least resistance.”
Each designer was responsible for the art direction and design (not to mention creative direction, a separate topic entirely) of our respective comps. As a young designer, I had a strong grasp of the elements needed to compose an appropriate design: Color, typography, layout, and the like. But I lacked the experience to be a good art director, especially to art direct myself. Without an art director to oversee my work, I produced well-designed pieces that were poorly art directed.
Many consider “look and feel” to be synonyms instead of complements, treating them interchangeably. Creating a design is creating the “look.” The “feel,” however, warrants specific attention from a seasoned art director to ensure that the message isn’t compromised.
While the design may be well-executed — ample typographic hierarchy, harmonious color schemes, strict grid, dynamic composition — the art direction isn’t quite appropriate for this nonprofit. It’s too trendy, the hero piece in the header drives home an awkward point, and the paint splatters really have nothing to do with the brand.
The New York Times website has the same art direction today as it had in 1997: Minimal and unobtrusive, it allows the reader to objectively interpret the stories with little influence from the visuals. The design may have evolved over the years, but the art direction persists. When I asked former NY Times Design Director Khoi Vinh about it, he emphasized the need to update the design while keeping the art direction peripheral:
As the minimal art direction has remained constant, the New York Times design has been updated over the years to adapt to the changing need of its readers.
Valuing moments I realised the power of actually creating a moment: a moment to pause, a moment to read, a moment to reflect. In any song — in any piece of art — you can’t have all high notes. You need to have moments when people can listen to it or get excited. Even moments of silence.”
This is where art direction thrives: deciding which moments to scream from the mountaintops and which moments to keep as secrets.
We’ve defined art direction, but what does it look like in practice? It’s quite compelling when you find a piece where the story and design support each other and allow the concept to shine through. Though few and far between, great art direction and design on the web isn’t unattainable.
The space shuttle launch metaphor informs us of the decisions behind the feel, the look, and the messaging. Status messages, including “launch not advisable” or “go for launch” reinforce the simulated mission control environment. All of the details elevate the experience.
This is a great example of art direction, in that it engages our imagination. If we can do that for anyone that interacts with what we create, we’ve done much more for them than we could have hoped.
I didn’t need to do anything drastic with colors, layout, or imagery. I simply modified my design in subtle ways to accommodate the change in this post’s art direction.
I wanted to convey my thoughts and feelings in a compelling way, and to change their lives, even if in a small way. I wanted them to empathize with me, to be a part of the moment with me. Art direction, not just design, is what made all the difference.
The creative director in the film industry is referred to as the production designer. A production designer carries a large responsibility of designing the look of a movie. The job is similar to a creative director’s role in the video game industry in that he or she manages a team of employees and has to consistently develop new ideas and methods of working. It is vital that designers in this field are able to produce expressive and creative ideas and translate them into something cinematic. Usually a certain sum of funds is distributed among different departments in the production of a film (in this case, the art department). Creative directors must decide on how to distribute and use the funds in the most efficient and effective way to ensure maximum quality in the films art department. An example can include the structuring of scenes and sets once a film begins to undergo the shooting process. Some important qualifications that one should have include being able to manage teams, having expertise in design (specifically in theatre, interior sets and art design), being open minded to new ideas and methods in regards to organizing film sets, and having an understanding of coordinating among different departments in order to move a project towards success. A creative director in the film industry usually starts out in lower ranks of the chain, such as an assistant to other art directors or as a draughtsman.
Production designer is commonly used as the title for the head of the art department, although the title actually implies control over every visual aspect of a project, including costumes.
On small art departments, the terms ‘production designer’ and ‘art director’ are often synonymous.
In the movies, art directors are usually responsible for creating the “look and feel” of the film. In advertising and print work, art directors (often teamed up with a copywriter) come up with “concepts,” the creative ideas which communicate with us on a gut level through such devices as theme, metaphor, and symbolism. Some art directors do little more than dream up these ideas and present them to clients, while some oversee almost all aspects of the design and production process. Surprisingly, art direction is seldom taught in schools and there is very little formal information on the subject; it is often learned in practice.
Try checking out the covers of news magazines (in my opinion, covers of The Economist are a showcase of consistently effective art direction), the features section of many newspapers, and all types of print advertising. Watch television commercials, and ask yourself what devices or elements make some commercials work, while others don’t.
Art directors oversee the artistic design of advertisements and print materials, as well as the filming of television commercials. They are the decision makers who are responsible for the quality of the finished product. The art director chooses a photographer, an illustrator, models, and any props necessary for an ad. If a print ad comes back from the printer with an imperfection, the art director is responsible for retouching it.
In advertising, the art director is not only responsible for the “look” of an ad but is also part of a creative team responsible for developing the very concept. An art director and a copywriter (who writes the ads) may decide on an advertising concept together. Then they determine how the ad will look and what it will say.
To create a “print” ad—one that appears in a magazine or a newspaper or on a billboard—the art director creates a rough layout using a computer. The layout shows where the copy will go, which fonts and colors will be used, and what the picture will look like. At this stage, the layout must be approved by the client. Once a rough layout for an ad is approved, the art director uses all the resources of the agency to produce the finished ad.
Work begins in a large, open work area known as the bull pen, where the art director supervises a team of artists who work up the rough layout of an ad, refine it, and put it together on the computer. Assistants scale photographs and illustrations to the proper size and decide on the typeface. They run the copy and the photographs through the computer programs to create the pages as they will appear in print.
Art director is mostly responsible for the visual «look and fee»l of the publication, and the editor has ultimate responsibility for the publication’s verbal and textual contents.
An art director executes a strategy, concept or idea provided by the creative director. After the concept has been created, the art director is generally responsible for the stylistic look of the ad or design. He brainstorms with workers and provides direction and inspiration to the staff, which includes the graphic designer, sketch artists or typesetters. The art director helps maintain brand consistency. He oversees the project through the production department and other phases, including prepress and printing. The art director may have the final approval for delivery of the project if there is no creative director.
Art director is the title for a variety of similar job functions in theater, advertising, marketing, publishing, fashion, film and television, the Internet, and video games.
It is the charge of a sole art director to supervise and unify the vision. In particular, the art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience. The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion.
One of the most difficult problems that art directors face is to translate desired moods, messages, concepts, and underdeveloped ideas into imagery. During the brainstorming process, art directors, co-workers, and clients are engaged in imagining what the finished piece or scene might look like. At times, an art director is ultimately responsible for solidifying the vision of the collective imagination while resolving conflicting agenda and inconsistencies between the various individual inputs.
Despite the title, an advertising art director is not necessarily the head of an art department. In modern advertising practice, an art director typically works in tandem with a copywriter forming a creative team. They work together to devise an overall concept (also known as the “creative” or “big idea”) for the commercial, mailer, brochure, or other advertisements. The copywriter is responsible for the textual content, the art director for the visual aspects. But the art director may come up with the headline or other copy, and the copywriter may suggest a visual or the aesthetic approach. Each person usually welcomes suggestions and constructive criticism from the other. The process of collaboration often improves the work. Ideally, the words and visual should not parrot each other; each should enhance or enlarge the other’s meaning and effect.
Although a good art director is expected to have graphic design judgment and technical knowledge of production, it may not be necessary for an art director to hand-render comprehensive layouts (or even be able to draw), now that virtually all but the most preliminary work is done on computer.
Except in the smallest organizations, the art director/copywriter team is overseen by a creative director, senior media creative or chief creative director. In a large organization, an art director may oversee other art directors and a team of junior designers, image developers, and/or production artists, and coordinates with a separate production department. In a smaller organization, the art director may fill all these roles, including oversight of printing and other production.
An art director, in the hierarchical structure of a film art department, works directly below the production designer, in collaboration with the set decorator and the set designers. A large part of their duties include the administrative aspects of the art department. They are responsible for assigning tasks to personnel such as the art department coordinator, and the construction coordinator, keeping track of the art department budget and scheduling (i.e. prep/wrap schedule) as well as overall quality control. They are often also a liaison to other departments; especially construction, special FX, property, transportation (graphics), and locations departments. The art director also attends all production meetings and tech scouts in order to provide information to the set designers in preparation for all departments to have a visual floor plan of each location visited.
Questions does Art Direction replies:
How well do the visuals support and convey the mood of the brand? What is the message or story the design conveys?
How well do the visuals align with the brand guidelines for logo spacing, appropriate typography, and color palette?
I asked a few friends to weigh in on the differences between design and art direction. Here’s what they had to say:
Desigzn is about problem-solving, whether you are a designer or an art director. The two roles differ in that the designer is more concerned with execution, while the art director is concerned with the strategy behind that execution.”
Design is the how. It’s the foundation of all communication, the process and production of typography, color, scale, and placement. Art direction is the why. It’s the concept and decisions that wrap itself around the entire product.
“Outside of this, it’s involvement, perception, and politics.”
— Jarrod Riddle, Sr. Art Director, Big Spaceship
The act of designing is different from the act of art directing. Art Directors are supposed to provide the concept. Designers are supposed to bring ideas to the table and implement the concept. However, it is important to point out that it is almost never that black and white. Designers do art direct and art directors do design.
“In my experience, the process is much more collaborative. The ideas inform the concept and vice versa.”
Questions does Art Direction replies:
- Does this color scheme fit the brand? Is it appropriate for the situation?
- What does this font connote? How do the letterforms themselves send the message without the actual words?
Do these colors look good together? Are they vibrating? Is each color the best choice for the medium, e.g., Pantone swatch for print, web-safe online?
Does my assortment of type sizes create the right visual hierarchy? Does this font have enough weights to be used in this context?
How balanced should this composition be? Balanced compositions are pleasing but often passive. Unbalanced compositions are often uneasy and unsettling but visually more interesting.
Are my margins even? Is there a natural rhythm in the visuals that will guide a person’s eye through the piece?
Art Direction and Design
Art direction gives substance to design. Art direction adds humanity to design.
Magazines don’t set out to simply decorate stories individually. Their goal is to combine visual imagery and language to enhance the story’s meaning. Design variations are a result of that desire, not a cause in and of itself. On a magazine staff, art directors and copywriters spend a tremendous amount of time brainstorming different ways to enhance a story, from choosing the design style, selecting related content features, and honing the story’s tone of voice.
To translate that process to the practice of design, we need different frameworks to give us flexibility within a given format. Custom fields for styles within content management systems at the individual post level are a start.
It is something different and extraordinary. Art direction elevates and enhances meaning. Art direction brings clarity and definition to our work; it helps our work convey a specific message to a particular group of people. Art direction combines art and design to evoke a cultural and emotional reaction. It influences movies, music, websites, magazines — just about anything we interact with. Without art direction, we’re left with dry, sterile experiences that are easily forgotten. How do candles transform a regular meal into a romantic evening? Art direction is about evoking the right emotion, it’s about creating that connection to what you’re seeing and experiencing.
Do these colors match¿ They work hand-in-hand to deliver the point emotionally and physically. Design is perfection in technique; art direction is about the important, yet sometimes intangible emotion that powers the design.
Creative director is the highest creative position in art industry. The creative director does not design, but instead formulates and impresses upon the designers an overarching concept or concepts for a certain collection and the label as a whole. A creative director’s main role is to establish what designs should be created, what will appeal to the target market, and how the concepts will be applied and distributed in collaboration with designers who are responsible for creating the products.
The creative director has an important responsibility in the industry. The director must devise ideas to lead a video game project forward and many responsibilities involve working with various individuals or teams spread out within the entire project or video-game production. This can include cross-functional collaboration with the various disciplines involved in games development. Academically speaking, a creative director is usually degree educated but there are some circumstances where a high school education strongly focusing on aspects such as art, graphics, computer science, and math can be acceptable and provide some valuable insight to students who hope to aspire in this field of work. Some skills that a creative director working in the video game industry may have include proficiency in computer programming and graphic development (illustrations, fine art) and have excellent interpersonal and writing skills (since they deal with many other clients and management leaders). The exact skills a game director possesses will depend on their background in the industry. Creative director, or game director, is not usually an entry level position, but in a smaller studio it can be. This is more common in start up companies for instance though normally one would have to earn that role by showing their skills and development over a period of years. The entertainment industry is not always a meritocracy, however, and sometimes people just luck into or inherit such positions. Creative directors have often done their share of lower level startup positions such as internships or assisting other directors in art related work fields. It is all about advancing through the career chain, and once one has earned the position a creative director, they may be eligible to work for larger and more popular game developing companies depending on how successful they have been with past collaborative projects.
The creative director typically thinks through the early phase of the project to develop the concept. This director oversees the entire team, which includes the copy chief, photographer and art director. Many creative directors ultimately work their way up through the ranks to become partner or CEO. The creative director generally has the final say on what gets delivered to the client. This vital position nurtures the studio or agency’s talent and also steers its design philosophy.
The hardest part about art direction is arguably the development of a sound and creative concept. This literally takes years of practice in most cases. Finding an idea-generation technique that fits your own personality can take just as long. But the results can be very rewarding indeed. Good design is pretty, but good design based on a solid concept will help make your projects much more effective and memorable, especially when compared to the competition. You’ll make your clients very happy. Guaranteed.
Is a position often found within the graphic design, film, music, video game, fashion, advertising, media or entertainment industries, but may be useful in other creative organizations such as web development and software development firms as well.
A creative director is a vital role in all of the arts and entertainment industries. In another sense, they can be seen as another element in any product development process. The creative director may also assume the roles of an art director, copywriter, or lead designer. The responsibilities of a creative director include leading the communication design, interactive design, and concept forward in any work assigned. For example, this responsibility is often seen in industries related to advertisement. The creative director is known to guide a team of employees with skills and experience related to graphic design, fine arts, motion graphics, and other creative industry fields. Some example works can include visual layout, brainstorming, and copywriting. To assume the role of a creative director, one must already have an existing set of skills and expertise in many areas. Often, these types of artists start up from the very beginning in fields that can relate to motion graphics, advertisement in television and book (or magazine) publishing.
In the advertising industry, a creative director is determined to develop various marketing schemes and strategies for a company or client that he or she is hired by. Assuming one is hired by a company that is fairly well known and established, there would be some type of creative department or management that the director would work with. The creative director would also serve as the project manager that works directly with employers, and in most circumstances, they would be responsible for designing concepts for advertisements and other promotional needs for their clients. Some examples of their duties involve copywriting and laying out chronological advertisement plans which explain the ongoing process of a project. It is important for an advertisement creative director to meet their goals at specific deadline with maximum efficiency as possible. To do so, they must be able to guide the creative department effectively from start to finish. Educational requirements of this position involve a blending of skills in business and journalism. To even be considered as a creative director, one would need to have a couple of years of experience in advertising (as little as five to as many as ten years).
Advertising creative directors are usually promoted from copy writing or art directing positions. Familiarity with film-making techniques is also common. Creative directors rise to become executive creative directors or chief creative officers, a position with executive responsibility for the entire creative department, and some progress to chairman of a firm.
Creative directors usually possess a communication design, fine arts or animation degree.
Designers, programmers, and other specialists create essential elements of the whole. But the art director is in a position to tie these parts together for maximum effect, and maximum business results.
Design vs. Art Direction vs. Creative Direction
Advertising campaigns can be complex, requiring multiple strategies and intense collaboration among team members. There are several creative positions within an ad agency or design studio, each vital for producing high-quality work for clients. The top-tier talent responsible for guiding any given project is the creative director, with the art director driving the execution of the project. There are several distinctions between the two roles, which frequently overlap.
THINKING // INSPIRATION
That is the power to make, to imagine, that is the power to create. A better creative director, providing you with some keys to unlock your own creative potential and carve your own path as a Designer, Art Director, or Creative Director.
This means having a well balanced, or “T-shape” model when it comes to your skill set. The same can be said for working in the real world.
Whether you’re a Designer, Art Director, or Creative Director, everything you do comes down to two things — building relationships & telling stories.
Unlocking Creativity: How to Harness the Powers of Design, Art Direction & Creative Direction from Digital Surgeons.
Designers are problem solvers focused on the look and technical execution of an idea or concept. Their job is to draw attention and engagement. Design is one of the first things we notice and one of the last we forget. Even something as simple as a business card can engrave ideas into one’s brain, leaving long-lasting impressions. It isn’t just a three and a half by two-inch piece of paper, it’s more than that — it’s your story, it’s how you present yourself, and how you will be remembered.
Art Directors manipulate the power of design and emotion to create meaningful experiences. Their job is to convey the message of a piece and evoke emotion in the most appropriate, relevant, and concise way. Art Direction is not the same as Design, but uses Design to connect you to the experience. Where Design would be the “look” of something, Art Direction is the “feel” or visual language you can associate it with. It’s the mood, the tone, the message, the intangibles that resonate with you afterward.
Creative Directors supply the Designers and Art Directors with keen insight and strategy. A great Creative Director is not just a jack of all trades, but a master of them as well. Their job is to change consumer behavior by forging ideas at the convergence of cultural relevance, product function, and customer needs. They work for the team, acting as their sword and shield, simultaneously supplying them with the motivation they need, while guarding them from negativity that could stunt their ability to be creative. Creative Direction can and should come from anywhere, drawing inspiration and paving the way for the rest of the team.
Creative potential exists in the thought space where purpose, skill, and clarity meet together in unison. We all have an untapped potential. You already have the keys, now embrace your power.
Need help opening the doors to your creativity? Don’t call a locksmith, Contact us and let’s have a conversation about unlocking your organization’s full creative potential.
The creative director relies on intuition and creativity to get the job done. He understands the psychology of the project and works to create an effective vehicle for reaching consumers. Although a creative director’s forte is not necessarily his technical skills, he can write copy, design logos or choose typefaces, if necessary. The art director relies on his technical skills to execute the project. Both roles complement each other.
Both creative directors and art directors need at least a bachelor’s degree in advertising, fine art or design.
CONCEPT, ART DIRECTION AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT.
WHO ARE WE¿
ALLY© is founded and headed by Russian designer Aleona Tverskaya-Kudrevich, based in Spain (Mallorca). She has profesional education in Industrial Design and also post graded in Art Direction and Business Development. Over 15 years She is dedicated to help people find Personal Image and create or transform their Space. In 2005 She has launched ALLY© as a solid design solution for people, looking to improve their lifestyle and business.
We realize exclusive Real Estate projects, creating SPACE as a Masterpiece. Transforming and uplifting it’s value. Aesthetic and functionality are important components of any interior design. That directly affects Space productivity, increases merchandise selling and improves a Lifestyle. You can chose any of our services separately or get the StartUp Pack, where we take care of all creative process and assist You from choosing a property to opening the doors of your business or home.
WHO ARE OUR CLIENTS¿
- Real estate investors
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WHAT STYLES WE WORK WITH¿
• Classic • Functionalism • Minimalism • Modernist • Fusion • Hi-Tech • Loft • Eco-organic • Ethnic • Rustic • Boho • Art Nouveau • Pop Art • Mediterranean • Scandinavian
YOUR IMAGE IS IMPORTANT
For successful companies, brand equity is the most valuable asset they own. ALLY© creates professional Brand Book, that includes all your visual presence – interior design and visual identity in One. Making your image solid, so your customers could easily remember and identifícate You from others on the market.
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