How to become a Creative Director- A Complete Educational Guide


Do you think a company as great as Apple was once so profitless that it could have shut down? 

There were a lot of reasons – the failed leadership, the chaotic product line, the mismatch between the founder’s vision of the company and the management, growing competitors, etc. But the major reason was the inconsistent efforts to market the product without a clearly defined purpose. There were 25 different commercials running for 14 different products. 

Can you see how confusing it might have been for the consumer to understand what Apple essentially did? 

So what was done to overcome this challenge? It was Steve Jobs to the rescue. Along with the creative director of the Agency he hired, they started working on a campaign called “Think Different”. First, the product line was reduced from 14-4, synthesized the target audience, and changed the brand image from a computer company to a company that was dedicated to creative thinking.

After the advertisements emphasized how innovative Apple was and how its customers’ creativity might alter the world, the business won back the trust and celebrated its first profitable year in two years.

This is how a creative director makes a difference in the company. Lee Clow, the agency’s creative director, helped Steve jobs bring order to the chaotic Marketing efforts of the company and helped the company survive. Continue reading if you are interested to know how to become a Creative Director and help companies market themselves. 

Who is a Creative Director? 

A company’s advertising and marketing initiatives are overseen by a creative director, a professional in the advertising industry. They create brand standards while creating commercials, monitoring promotion campaigns that utilize the resources of their organization, and updating presentations as necessary.

Learn more: How to become a Business Consultant

How to become a Creative Director? 

Step 1: Stream Selection 

A Creative director usually requires a bachelor’s in design or marketing. However, these are the choices that you need to make post your 12th. Therefore, you can choose any subject in your 11th grade. One of the unsolicited pieces of advice here would be to either choose subjects you like studying or take up Humanities as it will expand your way of thinking. 

Step 2:Certificate Courses and Project Courses 

If you are not so sure of a Career as a Creative Director, you can test-drive by taking various online courses which are usually pocket-friendly and take up less time. Additionally, they don’t require any eligibility criterion, therefore you can also take them post your 10th grade. 

Certificate Course Institute offering the course Duration 
From Brand to Image: Creating High Impact Campaigns that tell brand stories IE Business school through Coursera1-3 months 
Creative Problem Solving and Decision Making Alison 1.5 – 3 hours 
Creativity Tips for all Weekly LinkedIn Learning 7 hours 28 mins 
Best Instagram Marketing Strategies to Follow and Implement in 30 daysAlison 3-4 hours 
Creative Thinking Strategies for Leaders LinkedIn Learning 1 hour 20 mins 
Creativity Boot Camp LinkedIn Learning 48 mins 
Jr. MBA in Branding and Design Clever Harvey  15 hours 
Innovation Through Design: Think, Make, Break and Repeat The University of Sydney through Coursera 1-3 months 
Brand Management: Aligning business, brand, and behaviour the University of London through Coursera 1-3 months 

Step 3: Educational Qualifications

How to become a Creative Director after the 12th?  

A) Undergraduate/ Diploma Courses in India

Considering that creative directors need industry expertise, the undergraduate degree also differs depending on which field you are interested in. Here are some options that you can pursue depending on which one interests you: 

Undergraduate Degree Duration  
–BBA (in Marketing/Advertising)
–BMM (in Journalism)
3 Years 
Fine Arts 
–B.Des (Bachelors in Designing)- either in Fashion or Graphic Designing 
–B.Sc in Graphic Designing
–B.A. (in Fashion/Graphic/Photography) 
3-4 Years 

You can even pursue some diploma courses in your area of interest that will help you upskill yourself. It is advisable to pursue these courses either in the last year of college or after completing graduation since you will be better equipped to understand the course. 

B) Top Colleges in India: 

  • Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune
  • National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
  • MIT Institute of Design, Pune,
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology
  • Parul University, Vadodara
  • Amity School Of Fashion Technology – [ASFT], Noida
  • Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru
  • MICA, Ahmedabad 
  • Indian School of Business, Hyderabad  
  • Rustomjee Business School, Mumbai 

What to Study Abroad to become a Creative Director 

A) Undergraduate/ Diploma Courses 

The following are some undergraduate courses that you would want to check out to become a Creative Director: 

Undergraduate Course Estimated Duration 
BSD- in Graphic Designing48 Months 
B.A. (Hons) in Graphic Designing with Marketing 36 Months 
Bachelor of Design in Graphic Designing and Illustration 36 Months 
BFA- Design Concentration in Graphic and Information Design60 Months 
Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing  48 Months 
BBA in Marketing48 Months 

These courses might be named differently and the course duration might differ depending on which country you apply to.

B) Top Colleges: 

  • Royal College of Arts 
  • Teesside University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • University of East London
  • Northeastern University
  • The New School 
  • Rhode Island School of Design 
  • University of the Arts London 
  • LaSalle College 
  • Politecnico di Milano 
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 
  • Alto University  
  • Glasgow School of Art 
Job Preparation is required to become a Creative Director

Step 4: Job Preparation required for a Creative Director 

Your job title as a “Creative Director” will take time as it requires years of experience. However, there are certain preparation tips that you can consider while applying for jobs. 

  • Analyze the industry you want to work in: 

A creative director can work in various industries like fashion, marketing, Advertising, Photography, Publishing, etc. Now it is up to you which industry excites you the most and lets your creative juices flow. Internships and courses like Clever Harvey’s JuniorMBA in Design and Branding will help you analyze your interests. 

  • Start with entry-level positions: 

Entry-level positions in graphic design, fashion, or marketing work for you to develop the skills required to become a creative director. Additionally, try taking up leadership positions in whatever capacity you can in order to develop effective communication skills

  • Build a Portfolio:

A portfolio is a crucial collection of work that reflects your skills and sense of style. Include a variety of formats and styles of work, including print layouts and web marketing. Many jobs just want an online portfolio, thus it is important to have a strong online presence.

Skills required to become a Creative Director 

  • Communication 
  • Strong Leadership 
  • Creative Vision 
  • Graphic Softwares 
  • Project management 
  • Resourcefulness 
  • Market Research 
  • Analytical Skills 
  • Simplification 
  • Coding 

Salary of a Creative Director 

Salary in India for a Creative Director 

As a fresher, you won’t get a job as a Creative Director. It requires years of experience. However, on average you can expect to earn between 15-17 LPA. 

The pay also varies depending on the geographical location. The following are the highest paying cities in India: 

  • Gurgaon, Haryana: 10,90,682 INR/Year 
  • Bengaluru, Hyderabad: 8,87,083 INR/Year 
  • Mumbai, Maharashtra: 8,43,035 INR/Year 
  • Hyderabad, Telangana: 6,47,710 INR/Year 
  • Chennai, Tamil Nadu: 6,09,700 INR/Year 

Salary Abroad for a Creative Director

The scenario abroad remains the same. However, a general overview of the salary abroad is given below: 

Country USA UK Australia Canada Germany Ireland Switzerland 
Average Salary/ year $136,193£86,284$134,000$104,425€80,287 €66,602CHF 124,182 

Top Recruiters in India 

  • Hotstar 
  • Deloitte
  • Publicis Groupe 
  • Freelancer 
  • Byju’s 
  • DDB Mudra Group
  • Accenture 
  • McCann Worldgroup

Top Recruiters Abroad 

  • Ogilvy 
  • Leo Burnett
  • Cheil Worldwide
  • J. Walter Thompson Worldwide
  • IBM
  • TBWA Worldwide
  • FCB Global
  • Endemol Shine Group

Being a Creative Director is definitely not an easy job. But it is a very satisfying and rewarding career if you are a design thinker. Growing above the conventionality of consuming a product and asking “why” is what a creative director requires. Obviously, this kind of thought pattern is not easy. Therefore such a position is held by individuals with years of experience. However, if you are intrigued by this career you can start preparing early. 

6 Careers for Creative People

FAQs about how to become a Creative Director

What are the salaries of creative directors in India? What requirements must you meet to become a creative director?

It is frequently necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, fine arts, visual communication, typography, or a similar field. An advantage could come from having a postgraduate degree in these fields.

How do I get a job as a creative director after grade 12?

For training as a creative director, you need a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, marketing, or a related field and 7–10 years of experience. A creative director might make a good major in graphic design, graphic art, or marketing.

What are the salaries of creative directors in India?

The average yearly income for a creative director in India is 15.9 lakhs, with salaries ranging from 4.1 lakhs to 40.0 lakhs.

Is creative director a rewarding profession?

Creative directors have the potential to make large wages while working in managerial positions. Directors who have a significant body of work and have expertise in developing projects for several media, including digital, may have more career opportunities and earning potential.

What distinguishes a creative director from an art director?

An art director, by definition, is just concerned with aesthetics, whereas a creative director is responsible for strategy, campaign execution, art direction, and other duties. An art director will know the names of the fonts that would work, whereas a creative director can ask for a bold font to convey strength.

Where do Creative Directors work? 

Creative directors are the leaders of the creative teams of an advertising agency or within a company’s marketing division. They collaborate with the creative team to develop, plan, and implement a client-centred strategic vision.

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