Dear Mentor:

Which colleges train advertising directors?

Right now i am going to a community college in Michigan. I would like to get in the field of advertising. The type of advertising I would like to get into is making TV commercials. I think the type of position I want is called a creative director. I don't know if you ever seen the movie What Women Want?, but what that guy in the movie was trying to become is also what I want to strive to become. Can you help me out and maybe give me some colleges that would give me the right education to get into that field?

Becoming A Creative Director, Lansing, Michigan, USA

Dear Becoming A Creative Director:

Let us first offer some background and terminology for those who may not be familiar with the field of advertising. An advertising agency employs many kinds of talents and skills, ranging from account managers, to copywriters, to graphic artists, and to production personnel.

Copywriting is the words used in advertisements, television commercials, and brochures. Copywriting is everywhere - on big posters, local newspaper ads, and every clever slogan. Copywriting is probably the most creative and demanding branch of writing. Thus the primary qualification of a copywriter is creative writing, and fundamental to creative writing is the basic skill of clear writing.

Visual artists create art to communicate ideas, thoughts, or feelings. They use a variety of methods - painting, sculpting, or illustration - and an assortment of materials, including oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencils, pen and ink, plaster, clay, and computers. Visual artists works may be realistic, stylized, or abstract and may depict objects, people, nature, or events. Fine artists create art to satisfy their own need for self-expression. Illustrators and graphic designers, on the other hand, put their artistic skills at the service of commercial clients.

A creative director oversees the copy chief, art director, and their respective staffs. A media director oversees planning groups for selecting the communication media-for example, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, Internet, or outdoor signs-to disseminate the advertising.

As you can see, the job of a creative director is quite versatile and demanding. Before you can become a creative director, you need to have demonstrable experience in copywriting and/or art design. Most advertising agencies also expect at least a bachelor's degree. Your education can be in English, art, psychology, and so on. They also expect experience in management of writers and artists.

Advertising, more so than any other field, employs people from a diversity of backgrounds for creative directors. Each creative director has a somewhat unique and fascinating path for reaching that position. Colleges and universities do not offer any program that will land you a creative director position. You have to choose your own path - with a clear understanding of what it will take to become a creative director - and gain relevant experience. It is typically not necessary to spend endless years in gaining the relevant experience, because career progression in advertising is fairly rapid.

Our final piece of advice: Don't worry about the college; concern yourself with the skills that you need. Investigate disciplines: writing, art, psychology, and business. Do very well in one or more of these disciplines and you will be on your way to the creative director position you desire.

Dear Mentor: Mainpage More Questions and Answers


   Search Help

Tell a friend about this webpage!