Beats me. I’ve never worked with one in my life, but now this is my job title, so I’m trying to figure it out. What do you think it means?
My job so far seems to break down as follows:
- 60 percent art wrangling, for print and Web. This includes photo research, chasing down permissions, cleaning up and sizing art, making more-or-less templated graphic doo-dads, and assembling stuff into online galleries.
- 30 percent layout, which is to say, picking up templates (or tracing PDFs, when files aren’t handy) made by someone else, for stuff like invitations, postcards, business cards, and a sixteen-page semiannual magazine. There’s a single house font family and a very narrow house color palette, so very little “design” enters the equation. Print production and distribution management for same.
- 10 percent Web, um, review. We’re in the final weeks of a relaunch, so we’re looking at a lot of new page designs. I’m neither designing nor managing; just mostly trying to help with quality control.
I’ve done this kind of work in the past, mixed in different proportions, under titles like “program associate” or “program director” or “webmaster” or “managing editor.” It’s not like my title matters to me—I’m going to do the work that needs to be done, regardless—but I do suspect that other people have expectations of what an AD does or knows how to do, and I have no idea how my skills and experience relate to those expectations.
Have you ever been or worked with an art director? What does the title mean to you?