10 Tips for Building Connections with Art Directors
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Research the art director and their work
  2. Make a good first impression
  3. Show appreciation for their work
  4. Share your own work and ideas
  5. Ask for advice or feedback
  6. Follow up after meetings
  7. Be polite and professional at all times
  8. Collaborate on projects
  9. Connect on social media
  10. Maintain the relationship over time

When you're trying to make your mark in the creative world, building connections is key. One often overlooked, yet powerful, connection is the art director. Maybe you're wondering how to build connections with art directors? You've come to the right blog! Here are 10 practical tips that will help you build meaningful, career-boosting relationships with art directors.

Research the Art Director and Their Work

First things first: do your homework. You can't form a connection with someone if you don't know anything about them. Start by taking the time to learn about the art director's work. This includes the projects they've worked on, the style they prefer, and their career trajectory. This step alone shows that you value their work, which is a great starting point for any professional relationship.

  • Read about their work: Look for online articles, interviews, and profiles. These sources will give you a sense of their creative journey and their place in the industry. You'll start to understand their style, their creative process, and what they value in their work.
  • Study their projects: Art directors usually have a portfolio of their work available online. Spend some time browsing through these projects. Look at the details — the choice of color, the layout, the type of images used. These details will give you an insight into their artistic sensibility.
  • Understand their career path: Knowing a bit about their career journey can help you understand their perspective and approach. Did they start as an illustrator before becoming an art director? Or did they jump straight into art direction? This information can give you valuable context when you start a conversation with them.

Remember, this isn't about flattery. It's about understanding and appreciating their work. Knowing their work shows respect, and respect is the first step towards building a connection.

Make a Good First Impression

Just like any other relationship, first impressions matter when you're trying to build connections with art directors. So, how can you put your best foot forward? Here's what you can do:

  • Be authentic: Authenticity goes a long way in establishing a connection. Be genuine in your approach and let your passion for the work shine through. There's no need to put on a facade or pretend to be someone you're not.
  • Be respectful: Remember, every interaction should be respectful. This includes how you communicate, the language you use, and the way you present yourself. A little respect can make a big difference.
  • Be prepared: Before you meet an art director, do your research, as we mentioned in the previous tip. Knowing about the art director's work will help you engage in meaningful conversation and show that you value their time.
  • Be professional: Last, but not least, be professional. This includes being punctual for meetings, dressing appropriately, and following through on commitments. Your professionalism will speak volumes about your work ethic.

Remember, a good first impression isn't just about making the other person like you. It's about showing them that you're a professional who values their work and their time. That's a great basis for any connection.

Show Appreciation For Their Work

Art is a labor of love, and it's essential to show appreciation for the work that art directors do. Here's how you can do this effectively:

  • Show genuine interest: Art directors pour their hearts and souls into their projects. Taking the time to understand their work—what it represents, the message it communicates—shows that you genuinely value their effort and creativity.
  • Give thoughtful feedback: When discussing their work, give feedback that's both positive and constructive. Highlight the aspects you love and share your thoughts on areas that could be enhanced. Remember, the idea is to show that you've engaged with their work deeply, not to critique for the sake of it.
  • Respect their creative process: Every artist has their unique creative process. Understanding and respecting this process, instead of trying to change it, can help build mutual respect and a stronger connection.
  • Share their work: If you appreciate an art director’s work, spread the word! Share it within your network or mention it in conversations. But remember to always credit the artist. It's a small gesture that can mean a lot to them.

Showing appreciation isn't just about flattery—it's about recognizing and valuing the effort, creativity, and passion that art directors put into their work. And who knows? They might even appreciate your work in return, leading to a mutual connection based on respect and admiration.

Share Your Own Work and Ideas

Sharing your own work and ideas with an art director is a two-way street that can significantly strengthen your connection with them. Here are some steps to help you do this:

  • Showcase your portfolio: Art directors love seeing new talents and getting inspired by them. Show them your best pieces, explain the concepts behind them, and tell the story of your creative journey. This will not only provide them with an insight into your work but also stir up interesting conversations.
  • Brainstorm together: If you get the opportunity, propose a brainstorming session. Sharing ideas and thoughts about various artistic concepts can be a great way to bond with an art director. It's not just about promoting your ideas, but also about creating a collaborative space where creativity thrives.
  • Be open to critique: When you share your work, be prepared for feedback—both good and bad. Art directors have a keen eye for detail and they can offer invaluable insights that can help you grow as an artist.
  • Respect their expertise: While it's great to have confidence in your work, understanding and acknowledging the experience and skills of an art director is essential. It shows that you value their professional opinion and are open to learning from them.

Remember, it's not just about showcasing your work, but also about being open, collaborative, and respectful. This will not only help you build a stronger connection with art directors but also foster an environment of mutual growth and learning.

Ask for Advice or Feedback

Seeking advice or feedback is a powerful way to build a connection with art directors. It shows your willingness to learn and improve, and also provides an opportunity for meaningful interactions. Here's how you can approach it:

  • Ask the right questions: Instead of asking generic questions like "What do you think of my work?", try to be more specific. For example, "How do you think I can improve the color scheme in this piece?" or "Do you have suggestions for making this design more engaging?" Specific questions show your dedication to improving your craft.
  • Be open-minded: When you're asking for feedback, it means you're ready for some critique. Understand that critique isn't personal—it's about the work. Accept feedback graciously and use it as a tool to hone your skills.
  • Show gratitude: Always thank art directors for their time and advice. It's a simple act, but it goes a long way in building a positive and respectful relationship.
  • Apply the advice: If the advice you received resonates with you, make sure to apply it in your work. And when you do, let the art director know. It shows that you value their advice and take it seriously.

Asking for advice or feedback not only helps you improve your skills but also allows you to show art directors that you respect their expertise and are eager to learn from them. It's a win-win approach to building connections.

Follow Up After Meetings

Following up after a meeting is a small step that can have a big impact on your relationship with art directors. It's a simple way to show that you value their time and appreciate their insight.

  • Send a thank you note: It doesn't have to be a lengthy letter. A short, sincere thank you message is enough to show your appreciation. Mention a specific point from the meeting that you found helpful. This shows that you were attentive and took the meeting seriously.
  • Share updates: If you discussed a project or a piece of work during the meeting, keep the art director updated on your progress. This gives them a sense of involvement and shows that their input matters to you.
  • Keep the conversation going: If you had an interesting discussion during the meeting, don't hesitate to bring it up again later. It could be about a design trend, a technique, or even a shared interest. Keeping the conversation going helps build a personal connection and opens up opportunities for future discussions.

Remember, the goal is to build a genuine connection. So, when you follow up, make sure it comes from a place of genuine appreciation and interest, not just because you're trying to impress. It's the sincere efforts that truly help in building strong connections with art directors.

Be Polite and Professional at All Times

Politeness and professionalism are like the building blocks in learning how to build connections with art directors. You may have an exceptional portfolio, but if you lack in these areas, it's difficult to establish a solid rapport.

  • Keep it respectful: Treat art directors with the same respect you'd want in return. Remember, respect is a two-way street. It's about acknowledging their expertise and listening to their opinions even if they differ from your own.
  • Stay on point: Art directors are busy individuals. When communicating, ensure your discussions are relevant and meaningful. Avoid unrelated topics or personal anecdotes unless they bring value to the conversation.
  • Use clear communication: Be clear in your speech and written communication. Avoid jargon unless necessary and always clarify your points when asked. Clarity prevents misunderstandings and facilitates smooth interactions.

Regardless of the situation, maintaining a high level of professionalism is key in your interactions. It not only helps in building connections with art directors, but it's also a reflection of your work ethics and dedication to your profession.

Collaborate on Projects

Another effective way to build connections with art directors is through collaboration on projects. This not only gives you a chance to showcase your talent but also creates an opportunity for mutual growth.

  • Teamwork makes the dream work: Working together on a project can foster a strong rapport. Remember, art is all about teamwork and collaboration. When you contribute your skills and ideas, you become a valuable member of the team.
  • Learn while you work: Collaborating on a project is a learning experience. You can pick up new techniques, work ethics, and, more importantly, understand the art director's vision and style better.
  • Showcase your creativity: Collaboration is your platform to showcase your creativity. Don't hold back—share your ideas, suggest innovative solutions, and demonstrate your unique approach to art.

Remember, collaborating on projects is a win-win situation. It not only helps in building connections with art directors but also fuels your growth as an artist. So, don't hesitate to take up collaborative opportunities when they come your way.

Connect on Social Media

Imagine this—you spot a brilliant piece of artwork on Instagram and realize it's from the art director you admire. You quickly hit 'like' and drop a comment appreciating their work. Later, you share a story about how that artwork inspired your latest creation. Sounds pretty cool, right? That's the power of social media for you. It's an excellent tool for building connections with art directors.

  • Follow them: Start by following the art directors you admire on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. This will not only keep you updated with their work but also provide insights into their style and preferences.
  • Engage with their posts: Don't just follow and scroll. Engage with their posts by liking them, commenting on them, and sharing them. This not only makes you visible to them but also shows your genuine interest in their work.
  • Share your work: Social media is a great platform to showcase your work and attract the attention of art directors. Regularly post your work, tag relevant people, use appropriate hashtags, and who knows? Your next big opportunity might be just a post away.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your phone, start connecting, and see how social media can help you build meaningful connections with art directors.

Maintain the Relationship Over Time

Alright, you've made a connection with an art director, good job! But the journey doesn't end there. It's just like planting a seed—you've got to water it regularly for it to grow into a sturdy tree. So, how do you nurture these connections? Let's discuss a few ways:

  • Stay in touch: You don't want to be that person who only reaches out when they need something. Make it a point to check in from time to time—drop a message, share an interesting article, or even a simple 'hello' can go a long way to show you're interested in maintaining the relationship.
  • Be there for them: Relationships are a two-way street. If you see an opportunity that might benefit them or their work, don't hesitate to pass it along. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and it shows you value the relationship.
  • Keep learning and growing: The best way to maintain a relationship with an art director is by continuing to improve your skills. This way, you’ll always have fresh, exciting things to discuss and potential areas to collaborate on.

Remember, building connections with art directors isn't a one-time thing. It's an ongoing process that requires time, effort, and most importantly, authenticity. So, keep that in mind as you navigate this exciting journey.

If you enjoyed our "10 Tips for Building Connections with Art Directors" blog post and would like to gain more insights into the world of art direction, be sure to check out the workshop 'Art Direction: Creating A Cohesive Vision' by Jarrett Lampley. In this workshop, Jarrett shares valuable tips on how to develop a cohesive vision as an art director and strengthen your connections with others in the industry.