PSA:
"Can’t design” vs “won’t design” vs “shouldn’t design”

All different.

I am an AD who CAN design, won’t design, and shouldn’t design.

It’s not my job to design. If it was I’d be a designer.

likefunnyuplifting
Posting as :
works at
You are currently posting as works at
Highlighted IconHIGHLIGHTED

I disagree with you OP. Designers are not concept adverse antisocial workhorses. We concept, present, and are client facing.

If you think an AD is only meat to direct design concept and present to the client, than what is the difference between an AD and a CD?

Based on your description I’d say the role is redundant 🤷‍♂️

like

Different jobs. The difference between an AD and a CD is, the CD is managerial and oversees teams and approves the concepts, which is a different job than making concepts. The AD is the conceptual equal of their CW partner and two heads working on a concept together always yields better results than just one; this is precisely why Bernbach invented the AD+CW team process.

The designer executes the concept that the AD and CW creates, which was approved by the CD.

If a designer “concepts” with a copywriter, the conceptual tackling of the brief is all by just one person, the CW. The designer’s input in this “team" is all execution, not concept.

I’m amazed at how few people respect the role of art direction on here.

likesmart

OP you got it all twisted up. Lmaooo.

Something tells me you’re not too good at what you do. You would LOVE getting in there and helping out with design if you were.

And hey! I get your point, design is only one part of the job but I’m surprised you have this take.

It’s just my experience that AD’s who pout about designing are the shittiest ones.

like

🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Thanks! Everything CD4 said

Recent IconRecent

Wow this is so not right. No one wants the diva who thinks they’re “the idea guy”. 😬 especially at the Sr AD level. Not even at the ACD level.

Even as an ECD, I still like to push pixels all the time, to help teams out or on projects I give myself. I code on occasion too. Craft keeps your eye sharp.

likehelpful

We don’t tell anyone because we’d be labeled a “diva.” But we all think it. We bite our tongue and do it with a smile anyway. Nobody knows what we’re thinking. I’m pretty sure that’s what this post is all about.

Many agencies do not respect art direction, or confuse design with art direction. Best part about this is getting paid $1500/day freelancing to push pixels because agencies don’t know the difference between Art Directors and Designers. I was so bored once, I’ve actually had to tell a smaller agency that they should let me go and hire two Designers @ $750/day.

like

I never understood this mentality. Imagine if your CW said this about writing.

Our ADs can be divas sometimes and refuse to pitch in for design/mocks even when it's all hands on deck. I honestly use PS and IND more than they do.

like

Many ADs already earned their stripes by working their way up through production and design roles. It’s probably because in nearly all situations where they have to do a task that’s several levels below them, someone had screwed up with resourcing or scheduling. This is asking one person to do two people’s jobs because another person messed up. That’s why they’re “arrogant.” Copywriters are mostly shielded from this phenomenon, which is why you see this behavior as being divas. Yes, they aren’t handling it gracefully, but the truth is that agencies abuse art directors and cram five people’s jobs into one person, just because an art director has a wide skill set. An AD nowadays not only has to concept, but also design, know UX, information architecture, be a technologist, and many more things that they agency now assigns to just one person instead of five. The bad behavior you’re witnessing is their brain snapping.

likehelpful

Good luck getting ahead, OP. Every art director should jump in and design to sell their work, to help the team, to take the burden off overworked designers, and to impress the client.

My SVP/CD partner does it all the time.

likesmart

Designers: you are much more talented, patient, and creative than I’ll ever be. I value you and will hire you over and over. We have different jobs and are codependent.

Thanks for making us look good. Hope to do the same for you.

like

You are the problem. And your ADs must hate concepting with you. ADs aren’t there to make writer’s ideas look pretty.

How did you get to sr art director without designing?

like

Our definition of designing is clearly different.

Comping, setting general look and feel, and making ideas sellable is my job.

A designers job is much more craft oriented. It bothers me that people deduce what they do to making some layouts.

We use the same programs, but that’s pretty much the extent of similarity in the two jobs in my experience and opinion.

like

Not your job to write. But you sure seem to like writing...

funnylike

OMG GOT ‘EM!!!!!

likefunny

I agree with OP. The best, most creative agencies I’ve been at have universally treated Art Directors and Designers as distinct roles. The worst places treated their ADs like Designers, and muddled the roles into one person.

like

Not “the idea guy”. Although that is a massive part of my job. I still build presentations, make comps to sell ideas, and set general look and feel. But I’m not a designer, and I don’t pretend to have those skills.

I push plenty of pixels but using photoshop isn’t synonymous with good design.

As an ECD surely you know the main differences between the two jobs, most notably:
- ADs work in teams, designers work alone
- ADs present to client, agency designers do not
- ADs comp/prototype campaign ideas, designers elevate them

I think it’s telling that most people take my post as pompous or arrogant. It’s the opposite.

I value designers and recognize they offer a different skill set than I do. It’s arrogant to think I could do what they do at the level they do it at.

like

Yeah your op makes no sense then, if you’re doing all of that, you’re designing.

like

You CAN’T design if no one ever sees what you CAN design

like

Bad attitude my friend. An idea isn’t much without an execution. You need to be in the business of design, or you’re simply a dreamer.

like

I prefer an AD who can’t and shouldn’t design but WILL design than someone who thinks they can design but won’t and shouldn’t

likehelpful

I agree so much with everything you say, unfortunately no one seems to think the AD role is valuable any more and just hire ADs to be extra designers

like

Agreed. But keep proving your value. Be blunt. Be uncompromising. Fucking crush it and make yourself invaluable. And if you ever need advice, please feel free to PM me.

Lol

likefunny

Maybe. But I always say an art director should be an artist first and foremost. Much as a copywriter should be a writer first

like

Being treated like a designer is the main reason I’ve hated jobs in the past. I know I’m valuable as an AD and my eye for design, but that does NOT mean I want the role of designer. Hire more people.

like

I’m an AD who shouldn’t design, though my good friend who owns an award-winning design firm (and with whom I collaborate, from time to time) says I should ALSO design.

I’m stuck at a job where concepts are made to seem unnecessary. Asked for a job description, before accepting. One never came, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and now I’m a designer - a mistake that will soon be corrected.

like

Out of curiosity, How do you switch from a designer to art director?

like

Be humble and take a portfolio course. Learn to write headlines. Screenwriting. Storyboarding. Film direction. Make a campaign so compelling you could draw it on a napkin and it would still make someone laugh or cry.

like

You can’t be what you can’t see. The best ad ideas are very often designed by great ADs. There’s a line between design and advertising that sometimes designers don’t get it and vice versa.

like

More Posts

What is there to do in the city around Christmas and New Years that don’t involve going out? (Ice skating, etc)

like

I am preparing for Faang companies. I am comfortable with Ds/algo but have poor knowledge in system design (LLD/HDD). How do guys who get the offers from these companies prepared these subjects? Please suggest any book /online tutorial recommendations?

What are some of the best M&A conferences attended?

like

FINALLY the recognition we deserve geeze golly gosh

Post Photo
funnylike

Late aft snack: blueberry pet nat, goldfish, grape tomatoes 🤪

Post Photo
like

Hello!!

I need like to activate my DM.
Please help.
Thanks in advance!!

likesmarthelpful

I'm a leader in our union and am finding what you're talking abut here pretty interesting. Do you think we should talk to our unions about including home ownership in negotiations? How cld we do this?

like

Today's high point in my chemistry class: I am teaching Atomic theory and structure. I have my students look at their periodic table and I walk through the information listed for each element. At this point I talk about a lot of big ideas that are related as an prelude to where we are headed. One student told me that she took chemistry last year, and in 10 minute I was able to connect all of the pieces that never made any sense to her. Her 'aha's moment was like candy to me.

likeuplifting

OK so I am putting together a Christmas list for my family. Ladies, what are things that you can’t imagine traveling without? I am looking for tote bags, personal care products,accessories, clothing.

Someone please refer me to tcs or big 4 /big 3 or any good company where I will get health insurance .
Domain : Finance
YOE : 5+
Education : Ca final & M:Com
Skill : Advanced Excel with Macros & VBA Rep
Am a Chronic kidney disease patient stage 4 , in future I might need insurance for transplant / dialysis .

Otherwise am active & perfectly working fine in a Pvt Ltd company .
Just that leave policy is very rigid & no insurance .

If you may refer me that will be really helpful !
Thank You .

At least you can mute the French horn with your hand?

Post Photo
likefunny

Does TCS match counter offer ? I got 13 LPA from TCS , got another offer today 16 LPA . Due to certain reasons want to join TCS . Is there any possibility that they can match the offer or atleast increase to some extent ? My project interview also done and cleared client interview , almost in the process of onboarding to project .

like
like

Hi Fishes ,

How many days the probation period in
Cognizant?
What's the notice period for the people who are in probation period?
Thanks In advance Cognizant

like

I Rick-roll recruiters who come to view my work and watch them click the button through hotjar. Applying to junior ux positions is brutal but watching hotjar replays keeps me going. 🎶Never gonna give you up.

likeupliftingfunny

Tornado warning at IAH! What does this usually mean for flights? Don't see any updates on the board so far

like

Anyone have any Hyatt codes for company discounts?

likesmart

New joinees at Amazon, what has been your experience so far?

like

Any recommendations for a good spine neurologist? (Not ortho)

like

Additional Posts in Advertising

66 and sunny, didn't have to run to catch the early train for once, Archie Bell's "Tighten Up" is on the headphones, and I'm doing a workshop all day. How's your Friday starting?

like

Any agencies out there hiring junior art directors in NYC at the moment ?

like

Anyone have a good book reco on how consultancies think? Want an overview on the different mindset or basic differences in organizational structure.

like

Do agency brand names really matter or is the brand you will work on/pay the thing to prioritize?

like

Daydreaming about going in-house?

Lyft is looking for an ACD level Copywriter at their HQ in San Francisco. Great bosses, awesome colleagues and fun projects.

likeupliftinghelpful

okay okay don’t come for me, but anyone know what shops in LA are requiring at least partial in-person, looking for a little human connection in my work these days 😈

like

Tips, advice or favorites on leading creative brainstorms? I'm a new ACD and have usually been participating and not leading - and I'm trying to find the right fit for my new team.

likehelpful

Just moved back to NYC area. Any agencies open to a freelance 50-yr-old female with a solid book, big agency experience for 2 decades, and still relevant in social media space? Went in-house and now apparently I’m ancient, but that’s news to me. Ideas?

likeupliftinghelpful

Anyone ever turn down a promotion? Why and how did it go down with your manager and team?

like

Just for the record I am NOT judging the AICP awards.

likefunny

Have you ever shared work that was never made in an interview? Is that illegal?

like
like

Apple is no longer a design and technology company. They're an adaptor and dongle company. Change my mind.

likefunny

I know I can't be the only one getting server re-targeted ads of the clients I'm working on...

like

Threw up out the window of my Uber's car last night and a bit of vomit got on the car door exterior. Driver wanted me to pay him $10 to clean it. Wtf? Reported it to Uber and got my ride for free. 🤗

like

Lady Fish, what do you do to counteract ageism? I feel like there’s a massive target on your back once you pass 35. Am I right or just paranoid?

like

ok i'm out

Post Photo
likefunny

Even with all the info out in the open, it’s clear that stealing others’ work gets you hired, and being a whistleblower gets you fired. What does this mean for the rest of us normal, honest folk?

likefunny

What's with these emails that say the client is in the building and to please say hello? Does anyone really do this?

like

New to Fishbowl?

Download the Fishbowl app to
unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.