By Beth Anderton-Allen
Art Direction tips from the Queen.
I’ve learnt so much from my time at SCA, I feel like a knowledge goblin stealing nuggets
of gold from all of the amazing mentors. Yes, a knowledge goblin, well that’s what my
mates at school used to call me as I used to sit next to the clever kids in maths and copy
their work. But aside from that, your mentors are there so you can learn and develop an
amazing set of skills. As an Art Director, I have particularly spent a lot of time with Alex
Taylor, she see’s things in a way that other people don’t. Her Art Direction is phenomenal,
so you would be crazy not to learn from her.
Recently I had fallen into an Art Directors trap, working on digital brands meant that my
work was becoming very flat. That flat kind of design you see on apps and web pages.
Thankfully Alex pulled me up on it. I realised that I was doing more of a graphic designers
job on the digital work rather than experimenting to create something fresh and original.
So I decided to look at all of the Art Direction tips that Alex had given me since the start
of the course.
Since this week is focused on Art Direction, here is a list of tips I have collected from Alex:
• Show me something fresh and original.
• Be honest.
• Every campaign you work on should look different.
• Make sure your work has a key-line.
• Keep a folder with all of the work you’ve done, so that you can look back and see your
• This is a sin. Never put the logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.
• Always change the layout, once you have your style never do the same layout twice.
• Embrace mistakes, they will usually lead to something better.
• Always remember. What does your eye see first? and what do you want it to see first?
• Iterate, Iterate, Iterate. Your first layout is never your best layout. Keep pushing for
• Embrace white space and use it to your advantage.
• The bottom draw. Keep an archive of things that inspire you. You never know when it will
come in handy.
• When designing a DPS remember the gutter in the middle.
• Edit and experiment with photos, scaling and cropping them.
• Experiment with tint and colour.
• Experiment with scale and angle.
• Everything is in the detail. As an Art Director your job is to tell a story, so how can you
add detail to everything. Even if it’s just adding a slight dog-eared edged to a piece of
• Don’t design your work based on the style of the brand’s logo.
• Be careful you don’t fall into a trap of creating the same work.
• Be careful of flat backgrounds.