Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants

The story of the old art director and the young art director

This is not the story of the old bull and the young bull, except that in the end of both stories someone will get screwed. No this is the story of the difference between the old school of Art Director and the new school of Art Director.

The wise and talented old school art director

He walks into the art studio with the layout he has drawn and briefs the finished artist on what is required. He has selected his shots, selected his fonts and knows exactly what is required. The briefing takes about 20 minutes and he agrees with the finished artist as to when he should return to review the work.

He returns a couple of hours later at the appointed time and takes away a print out of the finished art, returning later with any changes marked up. He sits and discusses with the finished artist the changes he wants and the process may happen two of three times more while he explores tweaks to the finished art to increase readability and visual impact.

The whole process takes perhaps four hours of studio time, three or four A3 print outs and no more than two hours of art director time. Total cost = $1,200

The hands on new school of art director

Meanwhile the new school of art director walks into the art studio and sits with the finished artist. He has his layout mocked up on his own computer but rightly they have to start again because none of the specifications are suitable for publication.

He sits with the finshed artist for the next three – four hours selecting fonts, making decisions on leading and kerning and positioning the images and logos for both location and size. They have printed out three or four copies to see how it looks in printed form because you can never really judge print on screen. They sit and talk about the job, the agency gossip and plans for the weekend, while the copywriter pops in and out of the studio to see when the art director will be finished and to re-write a coupel of lines to make the copy fit the layout.

Eventually, perhaps four or five hours later the art director leaves the studio with the finished art he wants. The whole process takes perhaps four hours of studio time, three or four A3 print outs and four or maybe five hours of art director time. Total cost = $1,800 – 30% increase on the old school!

So who gets screwed?

There is no need for an art director to sit with the finished artist for all of the process and yet that is what so many art directors do. The problem is that it consumes resources and drives up costs, which the advertiser ends up paying. There are more effective ways of managing production for both print, television and digital. The problem is that it is often seen in agencies as old school.


Cynically to increase cost and revenue.

Or perhaps because in the eletronic finshed art world many art directors cannot direct the finished artist to do the work for them, like the old school does, and so they end up sitting there next to the finished artist doing it by proxy themselves.

Author: Darren Woolley

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    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email:

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