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Art director is the title for a variety of similar job functions in theater, advertising, marketing, publishing, fashion, film and television, the Internet, and video games.
Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers, typically actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον, itself from θεάομαι.
Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea. Sponsors of advertising are typically businesses wishing to promote their products or services. Advertising is differentiated from public relations in that an advertiser pays for and has control over the message. It differs from personal selling in that the message is non-personal, i.e., not directed to a particular individual. Advertising is communicated through various mass media, including traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television, radio, outdoor advertising or direct mail; and new media such as search results, blogs, social media, websites or text messages. The actual presentation of the message in a medium is referred to as an advertisement, or "ad" or advert for short.
Marketing is the study and management of exchange relationships. Marketing is the business process of creating relationships with and satisfying customers. With its focus on the customer, marketing is one of the premier components of business management.
It is the charge of a sole art director to supervise and unify the vision. In particular, the art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience. The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion.
Visual communication is the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be seen. Visual communication in part or whole relies on eyesight. Visual communication is a broad spectrum that includes signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, advertising, animation, color, and electronic resources.
In the visual arts, style is a "...distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories" or "...any distinctive, and therefore recognizable, way in which an act is performed or an artifact made or ought to be performed and made". It refers to the visual appearance of a work of art that relates it to other works by the same artist or one from the same period, training, location, "school", art movement or archaeological culture: "The notion of style has long been the art historian's principal mode of classifying works of art. By style he selects and shapes the history of art".
Motion graphic design is a subset of graphic design in that it uses graphic design principles in a filmmaking or video production context through the use of animation or filmic techniques. Examples include the kinetic typography and graphics used in film and television opening sequences, and the spinning, three-dimensional station identification logos of some television channels. The art form has been around for decades, and has advanced in technical sophistication over time.
One of the most difficult problems that art directors face is to translate desired moods, messages, concepts, and underdeveloped ideas into imagery. During the brainstorming process, art directors, co-workers, and clients are engaged in imagining what the finished piece or scene might look like. At times, an art director is ultimately responsible for solidifying the vision of the collective imagination while resolving conflicting agenda and inconsistencies between the various individual inputs.
Despite the title, an advertising art director is not necessarily the head of an art department. In modern advertising practice, an art director typically works in tandem with a copywriter and are typically known as a creative team. They work together to devise an overall concept (also known as the "creative" or "big idea") for the commercial, mailer, brochure, or other advertisements. The copywriter is responsible for the textual content, the art director for the visual aspects. But the art director may come up with the headline or other copy, and the copywriter may suggest a visual or the aesthetic approach. Each person usually welcomes suggestions and constructive criticism from the other. The process of collaboration often improves the work. Ideally, the words and visual should not parrot each other; each should enhance or enlarge the other's meaning and effect.
Copywriting is the act, or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. The product, called copy, is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action.
Although a good art director is expected to have graphic design judgment and technical knowledge of production, it may not be necessary for an art director to hand-render comprehensive layouts (or even be able to draw), now that virtually all but the most preliminary work is done on computer.
Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving through the use of typography, photography, and illustration. The field is considered a subset of visual communication and communication design, but sometimes the term "graphic design" is used synonymously. Graphic designers create and combine symbols, images and text to form visual representations of ideas and messages. They use typography, visual arts, and page layout techniques to create visual compositions. Common uses of graphic design include corporate design, editorial design, wayfinding or environmental design, advertising, web design, communication design, product packaging, and signage.
In graphic design and advertising, a comprehensive layout or comprehensive, usually shortened to comp, is the page layout of a proposed design as initially presented by the designer to a client, showing the relative positions of text and illustrations before the final content of those elements has been decided upon. The comp thus serves as a draft of the final layout, and is used as guide for further design changes and, ultimately, production.
Except in the smallest organizations, the art director/copywriter team is overseen by a creative director, senior media creative, or chief creative director. In a large organization, an art director may oversee other art directors and a team of junior designers, image developers, and/or production artists, and coordinates with a separate production department. In a smaller organization, the art director may fill all these roles, including oversight of printing and other production.
A creative director is a position often found within the graphic design, film, music, video game, fashion, advertising, media, or entertainment industries, but may be useful in other creative organizations such as web development and software development firms as well.
A graphic designer is a professional within the graphic design and graphic arts industry who assembles together images, typography, or motion graphics to create a piece of design. A graphic designer creates the graphics primarily for published, printed or electronic media, such as brochures (sometimes) and advertising. They are also sometimes responsible for typesetting, illustration, user interfaces, and web design. A core responsibility of the designer's job is to present information in a way that is both accessible and memorable.
The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.
An art director, in the hierarchical structure of a film art department, works directly below the production designer, in collaboration with the set decorator and the set designers. A large part of their duties include the administrative aspects of the art department. They are responsible for assigning tasks to personnel such as the art department coordinator, and the construction coordinator, keeping track of the art department budget and scheduling (i.e. prep/wrap schedule) as well as overall quality control. They are often also a liaison to other departments; especially construction, special FX, property, transportation (graphics), and locations departments. The art director also attends all production meetings and tech scouts in order to provide information to the set designers in preparation for all departments to have a visual floor plan of each location visited.
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important concept in a wide variety of fields, such as philosophy, mathematics, computer science, organizational theory, systems theory, and the social sciences.
In film and television, a production designer (PD) is the person responsible for the overall visual look of the production. Production designers have a key creative role in the creation of motion pictures and television. Working directly with the director, cinematographer, and producer, they must select the settings and style to visually tell the story. The term production designer was coined by William Cameron Menzies while he was working on the film Gone with the Wind. Previously the people with the same responsibilities were called art directors. It is sometimes also described as scenic design or set design.
Art department in filmmaking terms means the section of a production's crew concerned with visual artistry. Working under the supervision of the production designer and/or art director, the art department is responsible for arranging the overall look of the film as desired by the film director. Individual positions within this department include: production designer, art director, assistant art director, storyboard artist, concept artist, draftsman, art department coordinator, set decorator, set dresser, makeup artist, painter, property master, leadman, swing gang, production buyer, Film sculptor, and property assistant.
In the past, the title of art director was used to denote the head of the art department (hence the Academy Award for Best Art Direction) which also included the set decorator. Now the award includes the production designer and set decorator. On the movie Gone with the Wind , David O. Selznick felt that William Cameron Menzies had such a significant role in the look of the film, that the title art director was not sufficient and so he gave Menzies the title of production designer.The title has become more common, and now production designer is commonly used as the title for the head of the art department, although the title actually implies control over every visual aspect of a film, including costumes.
On films with smaller art departments, such as small independent films and short films, the terms 'production designer' and 'art director' are often synonymous, and the person taking on the role may be credited as either.
Art directors in publishing typically work with the publication's editors. Together, they work on a concept for sections and pages of a publication. Individually, the art director is mostly responsible for the visual look and feel of the publication, and the editor has ultimate responsibility for the publication's verbal and textual contents.
A film crew is a group of people, hired by a production company, for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. The crew is distinguished from the cast as the cast are understood to be the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film. The crew is also separate from the producers as the producers are the ones who own a portion of either the film company or the film's intellectual property rights. A film crew is divided into different departments, each of which specializes in a specific aspect of the production. Film crew positions have evolved over the years, spurred by technological change, but many traditional jobs date from the early 20th century and are common across jurisdictions and film-making cultures.
Set construction is the process undertaken by a construction manager to build full-scale scenery, as specified by a production designer or art director working in collaboration with the director of a production to create a set for a theatrical, film or television production. The set designer produces a scale model, scale drawings, paint elevations, and research about props, textures, and so on. Scale drawings typically include a groundplan, elevation, and section of the complete set, as well as more detailed drawings of individual scenic elements which, in theatrical productions, may be static, flown, or built onto scenery wagons. Models and paint elevations are frequently hand-produced, though in recent years, many Production Designers and most commercial theatres have begun producing scale drawings with the aid of computer drafting programs such as AutoCAD or Vectorworks.
Scenic design is the creation of theatrical, as well as film or television scenery. Scenic designers come from a variety of artistic backgrounds, but in recent years, are mostly trained professionals, holding a B.F.A. or M.F.A. degrees in theater arts. Scenic designers design sets and scenery that aim to support the overall artistic goals of the production.
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and pre-production, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition. Filmmaking takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts, and using a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques. Typically, it involves a large number of people, and can take from a few months to several years to complete.
Doug Chiang is a Taiwanese-American film designer and artist. He currently serves as vice president and executive creative director of Lucasfilm.
William Cameron Menzies was an American film production designer and art director as well as a film director and producer during a career spanning five decades. He earned acclaim for his work in silent film, and later pioneered the use of color in film for dramatic effect.
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.
The property master, often called the prop(s) master, is an artistic and organizational employee in a film, television or theatrical production who is responsible for purchasing, acquiring, manufacturing, properly placing, and/or overseeing any props needed for a production. The property master also works with other members of the production managing the physical appearance of the stage or set, for example they might work with the script supervisor to maintain set continuity. The property master is on staff during preproduction, develops the stylistic concept of the physical production, then continues on as a member of the physical shooting/production crew. A person responsible for purchasing the props can be called a props buyer or production buyer.
The set decorator is the head of the set decoration department in the film and television industry, responsible for selecting, designing, fabricating, and sourcing the "set dressing" elements of each set in a Feature Film, Television, or New Media episode or commercial, in support of the story and characters of the script. The set decorator is responsible for each décor element inside the sets, from practical lighting, technology, art, furniture, drapery, floor coverings, books, collectables, to exterior furnishings such as satellite dishes, Old West water troughs, streetlamps, traffic lights, garden furniture and sculptures.
Graphic design careers include creative director, art director, art production manager, brand identity developer, illustrator and layout artist.
A unit production manager (UPM) is the DGA–approved title for the top below-the-line staff position, responsible for the administration of a feature film or television production. Non-DGA productions might call it the production manager or production supervisor. They work closely with the line producer. Sometimes the line producer is the UPM. A senior producer may assign a UPM more than one production at a time.
(Also known as Designer's Guild or B.F.D.G. and can be seen after a member's name as a professional certification abbreviation)
A design director is a position usually found within the software development, web development, product design, advertising, media, automotive or entertainment industries, but may be useful in other product focussed organizations s as well. The position has similarities to that of a creative director but with a greater emphasis on technical design and production, rather than just creative and ideas. The design director oversees the design of branding, product, UI, UX, Print, Advertising for a client, ensuring that the design elements fits in with the client's requirements and the product fits the design brief the client wish to promote for their company or product. However, unlike a creative director, the design director is also responsible for the overall quality of the final creative work and the quality of the project's design elements.
The VFX creative director is a position common in films, television programs, and computer games using a large amount of visual effects (VFX).
The Creative Circus, founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1995 by Norm Grey, Rob Lawton, Carol Vick, Mike Jones-Kelley, Betty Gammage and Reva Ezell is an accredited, portfolio-building educational program for Creative Advertising, Interactive Development, Design and Photography. Two founding members of The Circus, Rob Lawton and Norm Grey are two of the three Educators in The One Club's Advertising Educators Hall of Fame.
Dan Perri is a film and television title sequence designer. He has worked in film title design since the 1970s, and has been responsible for the main titles of a number of notable films including The Exorcist (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Star Wars (1977), Raging Bull (1980), Airplane! (1980), and Suspiria (2018).