Creative Director job description

What is a Creative Director?

Creative directors play an essential role in the marketing, creative, communications and digital departments. They are responsible for leading their team, developing creative guidelines and directing creative work, including print collateral, websites, email campaigns, television and radio advertising, and many related tasks. These professionals often report directly to CMOs and other directors, and they rely on extensive experience and professional judgment to plan and executive projects.

It’s a dynamic job. One day you may be writing copy for the launch of a new website. The next, you can be standing beside the director’s chair at a casting call. Thus, you’ll need to be an expert in all facets of the creative process — and the creative industry — in order to produce the best work.

Creative Directors also must be great leaders with the ability to maximize the talents of their teams. Doing so means being a coach, a teacher, an instructor, and a critic all at once. Creative directors work with copywriters, graphic designers, web designers, account managers, brand managers and other marketers on a daily basis.

At Paladin Staffing, we specialize in helping creative directors and many other professionals combine with great companies throughout the country. If you're looking for your next great position, browse our jobs or apply online today!

The Creative Director’s skill set

  • An intimate understanding of design, copy and web best practices/guidelines
  • Experience with a variety of software, including Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, etc.
  • Excellent leadership skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • A strong understanding of brand development and multichannel marketing concepts
  • Comfort interacting with clients and internal staff alike
  • Strong persuasive skills

Related Job Titles: Creative Director, Artistic Director, Art Director


Creative Directors hail from all backgrounds, with degrees in art, graphic design, marketing, communications, journalism and other fields. However, more important than a degree is a foundation of hands-on, applicable experience.

Related certifications & qualifications:

There is no formal certification program for becoming a creative director. However, it is important for current and aspiring professionals to keep their technical skills as sharp as possible by taking advantage of professional development opportunities related to graphic design, social media, coding, and other essential skills.

Two types of Creative Directors

Creative directors work in one of two environments — as an in-house professional or as a team member in an agency. For both the employee and the employer, each category comes with its own set of implications, as well as pros and cons. Before accepting work, the creative director will have to decide if their job type will fit their lifestyle and personal preferences. One safe way to navigate this decision is to accept a few contract jobs so you can try out both options and see what’s right for you.

In-House Creative Director

An in-house creative director works within an organization’s marketing or creative department. They are the head honcho in charge of all creative elements and report directly to the CMO. Creative directors have a high profile within their company, and often receive accolades for successful projects. That can be both good and bad — your great work will be celebrated, but you also need to produce consistently brilliant work while relying on others to make it happen.

Companies employ in-house creative directors when they want greater control over the look, feel and execution of their marketing campaigns. They want to be able to tap in to the creative director's ideas whenever necessary to implement new campaigns and stay nimble in the face of new technology and new competitors.

Agency Creative Director

As a creative director in an agency, you will be in charge of a large team of skilled and dedicated marketers. But your clients will be dedicated to their own industries and interests. As a result, you need to be an expert not only on the creative process, but in selling your ideas and concepts to customers. Like their in-house counterparts, creative directors in agencies have high-profile positions as well as the pressure that comes along with it.

Prepare for these 10 job interview questions

When heading into an interview for a creative director position, keep in mind that the person sitting across from you in the interview will be expecting an expert. So be sure to come prepared to discuss your creative vision and your qualifications. Review some of the company's current work by exploring websites, collateral, social networks and other sources, and be ready to make recommendations to improve the work.

Here are some questions you should prepare for:

  • What campaigns and brands do you think set the standard in creativity?
  • What was the best campaign or project you ever worked on? What made it so successful?
  • What was the most challenging campaign or project you ever worked on?
  • Describe a situation where you had to deliver bad news to your account manager or CMO
  • How do you balance sales goals with your creative goals?
  • As a creative director, what is the biggest challenge you face?
  • From start to finish, describe your creative process for executing a campaign or project
  • How do you manage a lot of different personalities working on a lot of different aspects of creative work?
  • Do you prefer building your team with specialists or generalists?
  • Who do you lean on for creative inspiration in your team?

Brush up on your Creative Director knowledge

Creative directors need to stay ahead of the latest design, web, social and other advertising trends and technologies. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources to help inspire and educate you at the same time.

Check out these Top Blogs for Creative Directors:

Apply for Creative Director jobs with Paladin Staffing

If you’re looking to lead a team and bring your creative vision to life every day, Paladin Staffing is ready to connect you with an excellent creative director opportunity in your area. Start the next stage of your career by browsing our job listings or apply online to connect with one of or recruiters today!