From traditional to digital, visual advertising has always been the key to successful advertising. And it is the art director who ads the visual charm to any ad.

Gone are the days where a copywriter crafted a long copy and the art director sat sketching and thinking about how to add life to these words through art. The duo of copywriter and an art director were the power team of a traditional ad agency. But, advertisements nowadays have become more than just illustrations.

Well, all those who feel art direction is about designing an advertisement and perfecting it to the client’s requirement, have got it wrong. The understanding of the role of an art director is so minimal that it is least known that a designer and an art director are like the two different faces of a coin when it comes to delivering an ad that not just looks good, but also feels good.

An art director is responsible for the visual aspects of the ad, he works towards reflecting the feel of the ad that client wants to evoke in the viewers mind.

With the evolving technology and change in audience perception, came in the digital era of advertising and that introduced us to various tools that can work like magic and could make the ad look its best. If we call that ‘perfection’; well then the perfection technique became the extended arms of art direction.

The tools could have changed over years, but the whole process of conceptualisation still begins with that ‘idea’ of an art director. He works on transforming this idea into a visual execution and tries adding emotional quotient to the art he creates. While the designer works on physically making the artwork look perfect in all aspects like colour, alignment and typography.

But yes, with technology tornados doing the rounds, we are now in a phase, where traditional and digital are finally and unavoidably intertwined. An art director’s role does not just stay with paper and pen any more, but beyond that. An art director is pushed to master skills in order to match the increasing options in the field of digitally aided art and design.

This has clearly come to be seen in various ad agencies now. The internal structure of the advertising agencies has changed, blurring the demarcation of responsibility for Art direction.

However, let there be any new software or technology that increases the bar in design, the role of an art director remains important for eternity,  for it involves ‘thinking’ and this sure needs ‘minds’ and not ‘machines’.