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Art directors of all trades

Yesterday’s news that the NewSchool of Architecture and Design has launched a digital media arts degree fits with an overall shift in the art direction qualifications required in today’s landscape.

The B.S. program integrates architecture, graphic design, and 3D modeling/animation courses to prep students for the changing world of gaming, Web and interactive ad design. The point being,  today’s art directors don’t just have to have good static design skills, they have to understand the way that space and movement are going to imact the images as well.

I was chatting about this with a art director friend of mine. She’s recently turned to freelance and she aired the frustration of the expectation that every designer is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to interactive vs. print. Her example was a phone call she’s gotten earlier that day pitching a job that asked for packing design skills with Web video design skills.

From a technical approach standpoint the two could not be further apart – yet I think that the mind split required is often overlooked by top tier creatives who may be looking at big picture creative concepts. On the surface it seems easy enough to take a logo or product wrapping and put it on the Web.

As digital content and broadband continue to increase there is no doubt that every agency has been faced with the multichannel reality of design work – not to mention a faster production speed. What does your agency consider the right balance of skills for art directors for the digital age?

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