Art director

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.[1]

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.

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.

In advertising

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.

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.

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.

In film

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.

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.[2] 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.

In publishing

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.

See also


  1. ^ "'33 Things I Know About Art Direction'". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  2. ^ Preston, Ward (1994). What an Art Director Does. Silman-James Press. p. 150. ISBN 1-879505-18-5.

External links

  • ADG Art Direction Wiki Online community and knowledge base relating to new and classic technologies relevant to the art of film design
ADG Excellence in Production Design Award

The ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards are awards presented annually by the Art Directors Guild (ADG) to recognize excellence in production design and art direction in the film and television industries. Honorees are presented with an award made by New York firm, Society Awards.

Creative director

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 creative director is a vital role in all of the arts and entertainment industries. In another sense, they can be seen as another element in any product development process. The creative director may also assume the roles of an art director, copywriter, or lead designer. The responsibilities of a creative director include leading the communication design, interactive design, and concept forward in any work assigned. For example, this responsibility is often seen in industries related to advertisement. The creative director is known to guide a team of employees with skills and experience related to graphic design, fine arts, motion graphics, and other creative industry fields. Some example works can include visual layout, brainstorming, and copywriting. To assume the role of a creative director, one must already have an existing set of skills and expertise in many areas. Often, these types of artists start up from the very beginning in fields that can relate to motion graphics, advertisement in television and book (or magazine) publishing.

E. Preston Ames

E. Preston Ames (June 15, 1906 – July 20, 1983) was a famous Hollywood art director.

Ames first made inroads into Hollywood when he was a draftsman working on The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Within five years he had become a fully fledged art director.

In a career spanning nearly 40 years, Ames won 2 Oscars (for An American in Paris in 1951 and Gigi in 1958) and was nominated an additional six times.

Among the highlights of his career were creating the mystical town of Brigadoon in 1954, recreating the Titanic in The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 1964, mocking up an airport for the film of the same name in 1970 and reducing Los Angeles to rubble in Earthquake in 1974.

Gene Allen (art director)

Eugene "Gene" Allen (June 17, 1918 – October 7, 2015) was an American art director. He followed his father and became a Los Angeles Police officer after he was laid off from his first job as a sketch artist. After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Allen went to art school to pursue his career. He won an Oscar in 1965 for Best Art Direction for My Fair Lady, and was nominated for A Star Is Born in 1955 and for Les Girls in 1958. He served as President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences from 1983 to 1985 and received a Special Achievement Award from the Art Directors Guild in 1997. Allen died on October 7, 2015 at the age of 97.

Gene Callahan

Gene Callahan (November 7, 1923—December 26, 1990) was an American art director as well as set and production designer who contributed to over fifty films and more than a thousand TV episodes. He received nominations for the British Academy Film Award and four Oscars, including two wins (in 1962 and 1964).

A native of Louisiana, Eugene F. Callahan had a lifelong association with the state. He kept a home in the capital, Baton Rouge, where he began his designing career in the 1940s as a student at Louisiana State University, and his penultimate film assignment was as production designer on Steel Magnolias, lensed in Natchitoches in 1989.

Callahan was a prolific contributor to early television, starting with the first full-schedule broadcast season in 1948–49. He worked on numerous live shows during TV's Golden Age and continued with filmed episodes through the late 1950s and early 60s. His first film as set decorator was 1959's The Fugitive Kind, and his fourth assignment, 1961's black-and-white The Hustler brought him his first Academy Award. 1964 was a banner year for him with two Oscar nominations—The Cardinal in the color category and America America in the category of black-and-white films, with the latter winning him his second Oscar. Unlike the 1962 win for The Hustler, which he shared with production designer Harry Horner or his shared nomination for The Cardinal with production designer Lyle R. Wheeler, the award for America America, was his alone. Elia Kazan's acclaimed epic set in turn-of-the-century Greece and Turkey was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, but it was Callahan's epic production values that won the film's only Oscar.

Gene Callahan's professional relationship with Elia Kazan began two years before America America and extended to four of Kazan's final five films. The first title, 1961's Splendor in the Grass, which introduced Warren Beatty to the screen and won an Oscar for William Inge's screenplay, credited Callahan as the set decorator. Eight years later, he was the production designer for Kazan's next film after America, America, 1969's The Arrangement, which received almost entirely negative reviews and no Oscar nominations. He did not work on Kazan's next production, 1972's The Visitors, another poorly accepted title, but five years later, in 1977, there was one more Oscar nomination for Gene Callahan. The Last Tycoon, Elia Kazan's final directorial effort assigned him the task of recreating 1920s Hollywood as it was portrayed in F. Scott Fitzgerald's last, unfinished novel which reimagined the period setting and its driven, doomed protagonist, an Irving Thalberg-like movie producer, portrayed by Robert De Niro. The nomination (shared with art director Jack T. Collis and set decorator Jerry Wunderlich) was the only one given by the Academy to the film, which in addition to a mixture of good, tepid and negative reviews, was burdened by weak publicity and box office returns.

Gene Callahan died of a heart attack at his home in Baton Rouge, seven weeks after his 67th birthday. His final film, The Man in the Moon, a touching coming-of-age story filmed, as in the case of Steel Magnolias, in Natchitoches as well as Louisiana's Kisatchie National Forest, was released in October 1991, nearly a year after his death.

George Davis (art director)

George Davis (April 17, 1914 – October 3, 1998) was a celebrated art director.

Gordon Wiles

Gordon Wiles (October 10, 1904 – October 17, 1950) was an American art director and film director. He won an Oscar for Best Art Direction for the film Transatlantic. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Albert Wiles, was a doctor in Jerseyville, Illinois.

Granblue Fantasy

Granblue Fantasy (グランブルーファンタジー) is a role-playing video game developed by Cygames for Android, iOS and web browsers, which first released in Japan in March 2014. The game is notable for reuniting music composer Nobuo Uematsu and art director Hideo Minaba, who previously collaborated on Final Fantasy V (1992), Final Fantasy VI (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000), and Lost Odyssey (2007).

Hal Pereira

Hal Pereira (April 29, 1905 - December 17, 1983) was an American art director, production designer, and occasional architect.

Pereira was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Sarah (Friedberg) and Saul Pereira. In the 1940s through the 1960s he worked on more than 200 films as an art director and production designer. He was nominated for 23 Oscars, having won only one for his work on The Rose Tattoo. He served, along with Earl Hedrick, as artistic director of the popular TV series Bonanza.

Pereira started out in theater design in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles and working for Paramount Studios as a unit art director. In 1944 he was art designer for the great film noir Double Indemnity. By 1950, he was supervising art director for the studio, working on such films as the classic Western Shane and The Greatest Show on Earth, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. In 1955 Pereira won the Oscar for best art direction for a black and white film for The Rose Tattoo. In addition, he was the art director on almost all of the important Alfred Hitchcock films of the 1950s.

Pereira was educated at the University of Illinois and is brother of architect (and occasional film art director) William L. Pereira.

He died in Los Angeles, California.

John B. Goodman (art director)

John B. Goodman (August 15, 1901 – June 30, 1991) was an American art director. He won an Oscar and was nominated for three more in the category Best Art Direction. He worked on 208 films between 1934 and 1968, including It's a Gift (1934) starring W. C. Fields. Goodman was a known bibliophile as well, with particular interests in American maritime history, early sailing ships, the American West, California, and the Gold Rush. These personal interests complimented his professional work, enabling Goodman to craft historically accurate sets.

John Bryan (art director)

John Bryan (12 August 1911 – 10 June 1969) was an art director and film producer.

John Bryan was born in London, England. He won the Oscar for Best Art Direction for the film Great Expectations in 1946. He was nominated twice more, for Caesar and Cleopatra in 1947 and for Becket in 1964. Bryan also won a BAFTA for Becket.

In 1959, he was a member of the jury at the 9th Berlin International Film Festival.

John Meehan (art director)

John Meehan (June 13, 1902 – May 15, 1963) was an American art director and production designer.

He was born in Tehachapi, California and attended the University of Southern California. Meehan won three Academy Awards for his art direction: William Wyler's The Heiress (1949), Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Richard Fleischer's 1954 adaptation of the Jules Verne classic for Walt Disney, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He also worked on The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Golden Earrings (1947), Samson and Delilah (1949), Salome (1953) and It Should Happen to You (1956).

Joseph C. Wright

Joseph C. Wright (August 19, 1892 – February 24, 1985) was an American art director. He won 2 Academy Awards and was nominated for 10 more in the category Best Art Direction. He worked on 86 films between 1923 and 1969. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and died in Oceanside, California.

Karel Černý (art director)

Karel Černý (7 April 1922 – 5 September 2014) was a Czech art director and production designer. He won an Academy Award in the category Best Art Direction for the film Amadeus. He died aged 92 in 2014.

Malcolm Brown (art director)

Malcolm Brown (10 August 1903 – 29 August 1967) was an American art director. He won an Oscar and was nominated for another in the category Best Art Direction.

Richard Day (art director)

Richard Day (9 May 1896 – 23 May 1972) was a Canadian art director. He won seven Academy Awards and was nominated for a further 13 in the category of Best Art Direction He worked on 265 films between 1923 and 1970. He was born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and died in Hollywood, California.

Rick Heinrichs

Richard Heinrichs is an American production designer, effects artist, art director and film producer. He is well known for his work on the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Ang Lee's Hulk and The Nightmare Before Christmas. He started his career on visual effects on the other world sequence in The Watcher in the Woods, Tim Burton's Hansel and Gretel and Vincent to later work on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Nutcracker: The Motion Picture. He also worked on Frankenweenie.

He also contributed conceptional designs for Tim Burton's failed Superman Lives project.

Robert Clatworthy (art director)

Robert Clatworthy (December 31, 1911 – March 2, 1992) was an American art director. He won an Academy Award and was nominated four more times in the category Best Art Direction.

William S. Darling

William S. Darling (14 September 1882 – 15 December 1963) was a Hungarian-born art director who is an inductee of the American Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame.

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