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What does a
Creative Director do?

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Other common names for this position: Design Director, Art Director, Creative Manager, Lead Designer, Executive Creative Director


As heads of the creative team, Creative Directors establish the visual identity of an organization and lead its creative output. They are in charge of developing proposals that meet the needs and goals established by Account Executives and clients. In this regard, these individuals supervise and review the work of the creative team (e.g. Photographers, Graphic Designers, Artists, and Copywriters).[1]

The Creative Directors’ vision is essential when it comes to interpreting the demands and particularities of a brand, product, or service. They’re considered experts in all stages of the creative process, meaning their role is crucial to the Marketing, Communications, Advertising, and Sales departments. These professionals oversee and direct every creative work done, including printing collateral, designing websites and email campaigns, and planning television and radio advertising.

This position is commonly found in fields such as Advertising, Graphic Design, Fashion, Media, or Entertainment. Moreover, Creative Directors commonly work either as in-house professionals or as part of an agency team. In-house Creative Directors are more specialized, since their work focuses solely on the organization they work for. On the other hand, Creative Directors working in agencies have a more diversified practice because they usually deal with a broad variety of clients who have their own industries and interests.

Primary Responsibilities

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Creative Directors are required to complete.

  • Establishing the company’s creative philosophy, objectives, and strategies that will lead their creative output:
  • Developing creative strategies for marketing, advertising, and branding campaigns;
  • conceiving and implementing concepts and guidelines in the execution of creative projects and overseeing them to completion; and
  • ensuring the quality and coherence of visuals and messaging, as well as interactive and motion designs.
  • Supervising, mentoring, motivating, and monitoring the performance of the creative team in order to ensure the overall efficiency of daily operations:
  • Assigning, overseeing, and monitoring copywrite, design, and other creative tasks;
  • coordinating brainstorming sessions with the creative staff to generate ideas;
  • keeping up-to-date, and ensuring that employees are up-to-date, on branding, marketing, and advertising trends and technological advances;
  • establishing schedules for short-term and long-term projects, planning tasks accordingly, and ensuring goals and deadlines are met;
  • ensuring that the execution of all creative work stays within budget; and
  • assisting the Human Resources department in the hiring and managing of freelance and full-time Copywriters, Graphic Designers, and other members of the creative team.
  • Liaising with the Sales, Marketing, and Advertising teams to interpret the client’s vision and turn it into a tangible and deliverable product:
  • Setting up meetings with clients to understand their goals, needs, and expectations, and summarizing key information to colleagues and employees;
  • researching references, statistics, and trends related to their clients’ industries;
  • studying and analyzing marketing plans by examining outcomes and opportunities, in order to extract the most outstanding ones for their inclusion in new initiatives; and
  • carrying out the presentation of final layouts, ensuring clients understand the proposal, and obtaining their approval and ensuring their satisfaction in order to execute the initiatives provided.

Daily Tasks

  • Establishing deadlines and assigning tasks accordingly, tracking and overseeing all creative activities of different staff members.
  • Developing creative concepts, such as visual material, for marketing and advertising purposes.
  • Assessing, reviewing, and curating creative content before submitting the final layout.
  • Presenting and explaining proposals to clients, seeking their approval and feedback in order to modify the proposals accordingly.

The average Creative Director salary is $118,791 per year or $61 per hour. This is around 3.6 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $83,000 while most experienced workers make up to $166,000. These results are based on 13 salaries extracted from job descriptions.

Gross Salary118,791.12 $
CPP- 2,479.95 $
EI- 930.60 $
Federal Tax- 21,798.21 $
Provincial Tax- 12,282.49 $
Total Tax- 37,491.25 $
Net Pay*81,299.86 $
In Ontario, Canada, if you make 118,791.12 $ a year, you will be taxed 37,491.25 $. That means that your take home pay will be 81,299.86 $ per year, or 6,774.99 $ per month. Your average tax rate is 31.56% and your marginal tax rate is 43.41%.
* Deductions are calculated based on the tables of Ontario, Canada income tax.
Required Skills and Qualifications
  • Outstanding creativity and a strong artistic sense, always willing to try out new ideas and experiment with new tools:
  • Being able to solve any problems that may arise, using their imagination and unique vision.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills:
  • Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to present and defend their ideas;
  • having effective listening skills in order to understand the client’s requests;
  • displaying strong customer service skills;
  • giving honest and direct input and critiques, as well as being receptive to other people’s feedback and opinions; and
  • being able to work cohesively with other departments (e.g. Sales, Marketing, and Operations).
  • Strong organizational and time management skills:
  • Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment; and
  • being highly responsible, reliable, and organized in order to efficiently manage multiple projects and tasks of varying complexities.
  • Detail oriented, meticulous, and structured.
  • Ability to work individually and under pressure, as well as within a multi-disciplinary team environment.

Aside from the aforementioned skills, Creative Directors require a strong knowledge of Digital Marketing, programming languages, and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. They must also be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, as well as in graphic art software applications (e.g. Adobe, InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Illustrator), and motion graphics programs.

Due to the nature of this position, Creative Directors require to have a vast understanding of the different branches encompassed in the disciplines of Art and Design. In this regard, candidates to this position are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, Art, Advertising, Communications, or to have obtained any other equivalent certification.

Creative Directors rely greatly on a strong portfolio that stands out from the rest of the competition and on their work experience. They’re usually required to have from 5 to 10 years of experience working in a related field such as Advertising, Copy Editing, Graphic Design, or Marketing.

Job Offers
There are currently "2284" available job offers for the Creative Director position on Below is a list of available jobs, based on Canada's most populated metropolitan areas.