Am I "really" an Art Director, wants to do Ad Agen

I’m an art director for the scientific community. My company sells products to scientists, so our line of work isn’t that graphically appealing. I almost feel like in the “real world” that I’m a “glorified” graphic designer even though my title says different.

To make matters worse, our new owner has micromanaged marketing and advertising to the point that we make butt ugly. This is cr@p I wouldn’t dare put in a portfolio. Its now the point that as art “director”, I take my direction from the owner. I’m ready to quit just for the hell of it, but I support a family so I cannot, nor can I take a job for less, which I’m seeing in

I was referred to this board and if you can suggest where to look for design jobs, please let me know. I’m depressed and I’m not an “entreupeneur type” to chase work, I’d rather get hired somewhere and work steady and get paid steady.

Is it possible for me to break into Agency work? The job openings I do see say “must have prior Agency experience”. That’s my catch 22.

How do I get ahead in my situation? I’m a "working art director, as I enjoy doing the work too. I used to have a staff of 7 designers but the owner got rid of them and now I just have a “title” but no raise in 3 years and I do the production work as well.

I’m so depressed that I feel like my career has gone backwards because I work for an idiot.

Please help!

i’m no art director, nor even a graphic designer.
but i do know that after all the magical sleepy dust clears about what your notion of a career should be…you’ll agree it’s only a job, but 10-12 hours out of your daily life is more than a job, it’s a career… sound familiar?

my two cents: build up your portfolio, look within the field your company is centered around, and don’t be surprised to have to take a lesser position for less money. unless you are a flash guru or have the ego of tucker viemeister, you are looking at some pretty stiff competition.

also, maybe try taking on some side work, it’s a possible way to be seen by other industries…


Since you already have a source of income but are in need of work to build up your portfolio, take on some freelance work, paid and/or pro bono. If you do unpaid work for a local non-profit, for instance, you often get a lot of creative leeway, which is basically your “payment.” That sounds like what you need. Good luck.

There are some good graphics jobs posted on but I would also check the aiga website as they are geared entirely to art directors, graphic designers, and web designers.

Have you looked here:

these jobs are not posted on monster and alike. advertising agencies are innundated with portfolios of willing and able art directors. find current issues of cmyk magazine and the CA ad annual. compare your work. if you think you can compete with that, send it to headhunters, send it to agencies. if not, keep your job and work on a stellar book in your spare time. consider liberal arts colleges with advertising design curriculi. (art center, portfolio center, miami ad school)

getting the job you want means you will have to compete with a lot of really bright kids. many of them study for up to four years and take another one to finish their books. my tip: don’t quit your job yet or it will get worse. this is not a career you can fall into over night. (well, maybe one in a million can)

when evaluating your work remember: the cd looking at your book doesn’t know you. he doesn’t care you’re a nice guy. he’s looking for someone who can come up with creative ideas, not polished blinky-blinky stuff. it’s all about the idea.

Nickvansmack: Here is my suggestion. First realize that many creative houses can care less if the work you show them was actually produce or not. Most of the time there looking for creativity.

As the the bosses art directing your work, you what I used to do. I used to just design it they way they like it then redeign the same project for my portfolio. Another suggestion is to create an ad about medical science without being so cliche. I know your bosses would not approve of this but rather create these pieces at your own time.

Or go straight into an agency and have 10 - 12 strong conceptual ad campaigns. Each campaign consisiting of 3 ads. It call all be make believe. U can used clients like tabasco, starbucks, etc… It’s even better if you create ads that the agency you are looking to work for have as clients. good luck.


its not easy getting in design. i say, you have a steady job now, keep your eyes open for new opportunity. you are lucky to have a job, even though it seems really bad. it can only get better. i don’t think monster’s the best place to look, they mix design and sales somehow so the jobs you think are design are somehow a sales position which i’m sure your not interested in. good luck in your search, stay positive and you’ll be fine.