Agency life lives on thanks to several specialised cogs turning in the machine. One of them being the ever-essential, ever-integral role of the art director. But what gives life to this particular part of the advertising system? And who are the people behind the role? We had a little chat with Wisdom & Youth's two senior art directors, Elaine and Tish and asked them to shed a little light on the process.
LET’S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING. WHAT (OR WHO) IS AN ART DIRECTOR?
Elaine: An advertising agency art director is a completely different role to a film art director. My role as an art director at Wisdom & Youth is to take our approved creative vision or layout and make it a reality... This usually takes a photographer, stylist, producer, and client service power team.
Tish: Being an art director is being in creative mode 24/7.
BESIDES CREATIVITY, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO KILL IT IN THIS ROLE?
Elaine: Clear direction, being decisive, confident and a team player.
Tish: Everything! What you look at, hear, taste, smell, and feel are all things that make an art director.
DOES TEAM WORK REALLY MAKE THE DREAM WORK?
Elaine: Without the team there would never be a final product. An art director can’t and doesn’t work alone.
Tish: 100% - I love a team brainstorm!
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT SO FAR?
Tish: Art directing the "Awesome South Africa" book for author Derryn Campbell. Admittedly I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time, but I got through it! Makes me proud to see it on someone’s coffee table.
Elaine: Every time there’s a successful shoot it is a proud moment. Nothing’s more rewarding than seeing our creative vision being actualised.
COLOUR BLOCK OR MONOCHROME?
Unanimous votes - colour blocking all the way.
ADVICE FOR HANDLING FEEDBACK/REVERTS LIKE A CHAMP?
Tish: Learn to accept criticism. There’s always room for improvement.
Elaine: Do not be precious. You need a tough skin in this industry. If you don’t have one you will either grow one or change your career path.
Elaine: What about movie? ;)
Tish: Book: ‘Who Moved my Cheese?’. Online: Pinterest and Instagram they are my best ‘cos you can get lost in that rabbit hole finding gems of inspiration.
IF YOU WEREN’T AN ART DIRECTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER STRENGTHS/PASSIONS?
Tish: Pottery and painting. My mom runs a pottery studio and it’s my favourite place to be.
Elaine: It would always be a creative role, or even a teaching role, but still in a creative field.