10 tips for young art directors

There are certain things you're just not going to learn in school. There are certain things you should learn in school but either you're not paying attention it or not being taught it. Either way, you are the only one responsible for you and how far you get in this business is totally up to you. So take the reigns and make sure you're doing everything it takes to be great.
In my efforts to help you, I asked art director and teacher, Mitch Ratchik to share some tips.

10 Things a Young Art Director Should Know. 
1. Know your reference. Be a consumer of culture. ALL OF IT! Movies, books, TV, music, art, design, fashion, etc. Having a good understanding of these things will make you a better creative. 

2. Be a designer – Have a good understanding of typography and design. Learn about grids and how to break them. LOVE GOOD DESIGN, SEEK IT OUT.

3. Always look for a unique perspective. At the end of the day that’s what you get paid for.      
4. Don’t stop concepting. Think of long hallway with lots of doors, every room = an idea. If you stop in the first room, you’ll never see what’s down the hall. Always try to push as far as you can! Run down the hall, look into each room, take a note and then go back to explore the ones that had potential.

5. Find a good mentor. Easier said than done. In the beginning of your career try to work for the best agency possible. First, because you won’t make shit for money (but that’s ok, because you’ll produce), second because you’ll work under talented people. You can learn bad habits just as easily as you can learn good ones, so make sure you’re learning good ones. 

6. Save scans. Build a library of them. Pick up a small hard drive and devote it to images. Keep them organized!

7. Be organized. Keep your files neat. Name them what they are. I can’t tell you how many times there were issues with someone naming a file, happymonkeybunny.jpg when it was an image of something completely different. 

8. Create your identity. This goes without saying. Design a logo, a look, etc. Think about how you want to be perceived. As a stupid kid or someone who can be trusted with a multimillion dollar account. 

9.  Dress nicely. Yes you’re a creative not a banker and you can wear whatever the fuck you want, however this should be part of your brand identity. If you want people to take you seriously, then dress for success, no one is going to put you in front of a client if you look like a slob. That being said, enjoy wearing t-shirts and jeans when you’ve established yourself as a lead creative.

10.  Live an interesting life. Travel, go out, fuck, experiment, and do shit outside of advertising. I can’t tell you how many times I meet advertising people who eat, breath and shit advertising. They know all the names in all the annuals and archive magazines. BORING! See No. 1 again. It’s good to know about that stuff to a point, however don’t live it. At the end of the day they make boring creatives because they reference other advertising. Pulling from life experience is way better.

I could go on and on, hope this helps.