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How to be a Senior Art Director

Richard Kenyon, Senior Art Director.

Tell us about what your job involves?

A Senior Art Director works with a copywriter in a creative team. They respond to creative briefs with conceptual thinking – each concept being a workable idea to solve a customer’s problem by dramatising the benefit(s) of the client’s product or service. This can be a singular piece of work to a full-blown integrated campaign. On top of that, they oversee work from younger teams, and nurture it along until it’s good enough for presentation.

How did you get to where you are now?

Graphics at art college, D&AD student workshops, placements, B2B agency as a junior, ATL and Integrated agencies as a mid-weight and senior. Eventual Creative Director level.

What are the biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?

There are two big challenges: getting clients to understand and buy into your recommendation when they often can’t see why; and remaining differentiated and relevant in this ever changing world of social and digital channels.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most enjoyable times are still the breakthrough moments you get with your partner when concepting.

What characteristics do you need to do your job?

The ability to think conceptually, laterally and visually. Also tenacity and the ability to convince others.

How do you think your job will evolve over the next few years?

It’s hard to predict. According to some in our business, the creative team has had its day. Perhaps clients should be the ultimate judge on that.

How are you adapting for this change?

Learning from, and delegating to, younger people.

What would you recommend to anyone thinking of doing what you do?

Do it. Keep an open mind, take all the criticism that comes your way and learn from it without getting upset and know exactly what your work’s role is in the communication mix.