Creativity, Collaboration, Communication: Essential Skills for an Art Director

Art Director Jacob Ireland spent a large part of his childhood filling notebooks with cartoon drawings, but it wasn’t till he was interning at an architecture firm in high school that he became aware of the world of graphic design. After learning about Full Sail University’s Digital Arts & Design program, he knew he had found his career path. Upon graduating in 2009, he hit the ground running, going on to work with agencies such as McGarryBowen and the Burns Group while creating projects for clients such as Crackle, TruTV, CMT, and Verizon.

Verizon’s branded partnerships with entities like the NFL, Indy Car, and the NHL saw Jacob lend his design skills to large campaigns that saw him immersed in the full experience, from the concept development all the way down to overseeing the final edits for Verizon’s digital, print, and social assets. Many of these projects also involved shoots with players from both the NFL and NHL. Grad

“For Verizon’s NFL partnership, we mostly created advertising to promote the NFL mobile app that was created to allow fans to watch games live on the go. Our main goal was to create awareness that NFL Mobile was the best way to watch games on your mobile device,” says Jacob. “The most successful campaign was called #FOMOF (Fear of Missing Out on Football). The hashtag took off and ended up being mentioned every three seconds during Sunday games.”

Throughout his career working in the advertising industry, Jacob’s skill set has continued to expand and evolve to suit whatever he needs to bring to the next project; from motion graphics to video editing to design to directing, he’s learned how to wear multiple hats at once – a feat that definitely takes him back to his college experience.

“Learning a little bit of everything in the Digital Arts & Design program was very helpful for my current job as an Art Director. Being able to fluently speak to UX about wire frames for a site or explain an animation to a post-house is a great skill to have,” he says. “I think Full Sail’s crazy hours and tight deadlines also prepared me well for the advertising industry. Coming out of school, I was no stranger to putting in long hours and late nights to get projects done on tight deadlines.”

Beyond the actual logistics behind the work, Jacob’s leadership role has also taught him a lot about both the dynamics of collaboration as well being open to the changes that may take place over the course of a project.

“The process of coming up with a great idea and getting it approved can be very difficult. Most things in our industry are very subjective and clients don’t always like to take big risks with their money. It’s hard to step back from your vision and let others change it or decide if it lives or dies,” he says. “You have to learn when to fight for an idea and when to let it go. Working well with others is key to getting things done and not being constantly stressed out.”

“I think it’s difficult for creatives to step back from their creations and let them be changed, but you learn quickly to deal with it the best you can,” Jacob continues. “Does it really matter if we change the typeface? Will it kill my design to make the logo bigger? Probably not. Some battles are worth fighting for, some are not.”

Learning to embrace that philosophy – along with a string of more personal creative side projects – has helped Jacob to truly grow and develop in the advertising industry. And regardless of what type of project he may be creating on or the size of the agency that he’s working within, he’s still driven by the same thrill that he experienced when he was just doodling sketches into a notepad.

“I love seeing an idea come to life,” says Jacob. “Going on shoots and seeing ideas that started in my head come to life with the help of entire production crews is always a highlight in this line of work.”



One thought on “Creativity, Collaboration, Communication: Essential Skills for an Art Director

  1. Eliécer Tunaroza says:

    I really like world design and i appreciate the artistic effort . I will study computer animation at Full Sail and i hope to do the best of me in the bachelor ,By the way i really like your professional advises and all those tips that can help any other student.

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