Art director vs copywriter?

The ad industry has long paired two creatives in the roles of art director and copywriter, but how do the positions divide up in the modern industry?

What’s the difference between a copywriter and an art director? The answer might seem obvious: one does the visual stuff while the other makes sure the words are right. But there are other points where the jobs diverge.

When it comes to production, art directors are given responsibility for the imagery elements. These include typography, grading, photography, design, illustration, and maybe even the edit. The production equivalent for copywriters? Sound, including the voiceover, and the writing (if there is any).

Sure, the two cross over a fair bit (especially if you have a team where neither of you commits to a particular role), and if there’s enough time and money you’ll probably find both members of the team taking on most of the tasks together. But overall, the copywriter often ends up contributing more at the beginning of the process (concept creation), while the art director gets more involved at the end (execution).

Senior creative positions are now leaning in the direction of visual creatives. It used to be the other way round