WHAT MAKES A GREAT ART DIRECTOR?

Art Directors. The most subjective of roles. The marmite of the creative industry. How shall we compare thee?

Luckily we don’t need to because Creativepool already did, and named Diego Arroyo one of the top 10 Art directors of 2020.

Punch! recently recruited Diego Arroyo as its Creative Lead, so we feel we are in a position to share some expertise in this area.

Before Punch! welcomed Diego aboard in November 2020, he worked for major advertising agencies across Europe and the US, including Young & Rubicam, BBDO, Ogilvy, Euro RSCG, Santo London, AIA Worldwide and JWT among others. Now he is at Punch! he leads a team of creatives working on projects for clients such as New Relic, Sage and Masternaut to name a few.

We enjoyed a chat with Diego to find out what makes a Top 10 Art Director tick:

DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE AN ART DIRECTOR?

Not at all. That went after artist, archeologist and archeologist-artist. What’s true is that I always wanted to do something creative with my life, no matter what shape or form. I remember that around 12 or so I heard about one of my friend’s parents being in advertising and I got curious. That’s all it took, really. Inspiration comes in very random ways sometimes.

WHAT LED YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

I guess I was lucky in that once I made a decision to go into advertising, my path was quite clear: I focused on getting the right education and experience, and I made sure I got to work in some big ad agencies with very smart people from whom I learnt a lot. It was then a matter of applying that knowledge to my own professional development.

WHAT WAS THE 'BIG BREAK' IN YOUR CAREER?

In 2012 I was hired to join Y&R New York to help them with the Bank of America account. It was a very interesting experience where I learnt a lot, but it also helped me become more aware of my priorities and take control of my career. After that, I mostly veered towards slightly smaller projects where I have more ownership over the work, which I find rewarding – and which ultimately makes me happier.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU TO BE NAMED ONE OF CREATIVEPOOL'S TOP 10 ART DIRECTORS?

It’s really humbling to be honest. I’m grateful for it but I think there’s so much amazing talent out there, I’d be completely fooling myself if I really thought it was true. If anything, it inspires me to keep growing and learning.

WHAT PIECE OF YOUR WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

I bet this happens to a lot of creatives, but I usually get bored of looking at  my own work. I think some of the work around Bank of America, M&S Food or the Carlsberg global campaigns were big achievements and really interesting projects to be involved with. Lately, though, I’ve been having quite a lot of fun with spec work like the one I did for Transport for London.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

Lots of people. From photographers, to illustrators, cinematographers, film and music video directors, musicians…and of course, my amazing team at Punch!

WHY DID YOU JOIN PUNCH!?

Punch is an expanding business with lots of potential. The attitude and the vibe is just great, very open for creativity and constantly looking for ways to grow and innovate. Joining Punch! and it’s fantastic team now, in a moment of growth, and helping shape its creative department is a particularly exciting challenge.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2021?

To keep pushing the creative boundaries and collaborating with our clients to come up with the best possible work we can do. Also, I’m trying to quit pineapple pizza, but that’s another story.

IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ONE ARTIST LIVING OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE?

Tough one. I think I’d go for someone like Sebastiao Salgado. I love his photography and his life experience inspired me in many ways. If anyone hasn’t seen “The Salt of the Earth”, it’s an amazing documentary about his life and career, directed by his own son and Wim Wenders. Really inspiring. No doubt I’d bombard him with a thousand questions and both our food would get cold if that ever happened.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT ART DIRECTOR?

Not sure, but I’ve always thought that it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. It is also helpful to try to develop a broad range of practical skills. For example, the more you know about, say, photography or animation, the more productively you’ll be able to brief, work and collaborate with photographers or animators – and that will ultimately make the project that much better. An AD needs to do many things, ranging from being conceptual and creative, to coming up with visual styles, all the way to rolling up their sleeves and doing actual design work.

3 TIPS FOR BECOMING AN ART DIRECTOR:

Ok here it goes: Try to do stuff that inspires you. Try to learn from the talented professionals you’ll find on the way. And keep yourself humble and ready to learn from your mistakes.

Over to you…

So, do you think you are (or could be) one of the greatest Art Directors?

Take this test to see how you measure up:

 

Want to work with Diego? Get in touch here.