Warren Tai’s


Experience is probably the most common trait

among art directors (though not the most important)

and encapsulates several key ingredients.

Design experience, of course, is critical.

Years of working in the trenches, testing ideas, failing,

succeeding, winning awards and leaving empty-handed

have built a foundation of practical design application.

Experience teaches what works on a website, what helps

an ad pull, what makes a brochure get read. Experience provides a second level of intuition — “yes, it looks good, but will it work?”

When a art director has worked in the same company or the same sector for a number of years, that practicality becomes even more refined. There are art directors who excel at creating sizzling consumer campaigns because they have been in that game a long time. That same person would fail in the healthcare market, where another art director has learned what helps sell pharmaceuticals to doctors. And both of them would fall short in a technical B2B market, where yet another art director has learned how to make companies connect and market themselves to each other though better design.

Age is related to experience, but only in the language of maturity. Life experience is directly related to maturity, and maturity is critical in managing a team of creatives (AKA, a herd of cats).

Acting as the Director

Designers and copywriters have the potential to make terrible managers, but who better to lead the team than a former in-the-trenches creative? Most art directors get promoted because of their skill, not because of their leadership qualities, but technical skill has little to do with guiding the communication output of an organization.

Welcome to warrentai.com

An art director oversees the art, i.e. the photographs and drawn images, that appear in newspapers, magazines, ad campaigns and on book covers. An art director is usually the person who oversees the entire design department, working with photo editors and editors to coordinate what images will match up with what words.