Career Boosters is a monthly ‘e-panel’ discussion lead by Boost Agents. We scout out leaders in the Marketing, Digital, Communications and Advertising space to provide their perspectives on industry topics related to career development, talent acquisition and hiring practices.
February 7, 2014 | Rachel Scott & Trina Boos
Today’s panel: Mirko Greenwood is digital associate creative director at Jackman, and Jason Theodor is a creative director at Publicis
How does this role differ from a traditional art director role?
Mirko: I don’t see a difference from a conception state. From an execution standpoint a digital art director takes that idea and gives it life in the digital space. It might be a website, it might be a social initiative. It really depends on where we see it fitting in best. We produce the work from beginning to end, get involved in evolving the IA and UX over the life of a project.
It really depends on the type of work. It’s very hands-on because the end product shouldn’t be a passive experience.
Jason: An art director is someone who can solve challenges visually. A digital art director uses connected tools (like the web or bluetooth) and platforms (Instagram or Twitter) to do this.”
How do you think this role is going to evolve over the next year?
Mirko: It’s too short of a time period to answer something like this. Think about the fact that we’re still developing online ads that have a max file size of 40k, which hasn’t changed for the past decade. As an art director you should always try and stay on top of the latest trends, tech and design. When talking about digital though, there’s always a new technology coming out that one should try to be aware of, and how we can potentially leverage it. It’s really about where the individual wants to take the role. You are responsible for your own evolution.
Jason: Every few days, there are more platforms and technologies to consider. The role doesn’t evolve as much as the tools do. ADs will have to absorb more and think strategically to stay competitive.
Some of your favourite pre-screening questions when identifying digital art director talent are..?
Mirko: Where and who have they worked with? What type of work have they been involved with? How does the work stand up to what you’re currently doing in-house? Can they work with other people? Do they have the capacity to mentor and lead junior talent? And what can this person offer that some of the other in-house talent might not have? It’s about complementing what you already have.
Jason: Aside from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and Vine, what social platforms are you most familiar with and how do you use them to promote yourself?
What’s the ideal background of a successful digital art director?
Mirko: Ideally it should be someone who can concept, know the difference between an idea and an execution. They should have the ability to evolve. Also, it should be someone who has worked in digital for a few years and understands the medium at some capacity, and how broad it is, and also has a basic understanding of the technology being used.
Jason: The ideal AD is hungry to learn with the raw talent to create something amazing. Their background can literally be anything. They need to understand design, but it can come from architecture, motion graphics, 3D modeling, typography.
Tips for individuals looking to move into a digital art direction role?
Mirko: Love what you do. Don’t get stuck on the limitations of the technology. Ideas come from anyone and anything, so be open-minded. Don’t worry about not knowing how to do something, that comes with time.
Jason: Learn as much as you can about everything, but specialize in a few things that you can get excited about.
Rachel Scott is the marketing and communications coordinator and Trina Boos is president of Boost Agents, a specialist recruitment provider to the marketing, advertising, design and communications industry.