Creative Director Salary

The majority of Creative Directors in the United States — slightly less than two-thirds — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $42K to $165K per year, and the median is $86K annually. Total cash compensation to Creative Directors approaches anywhere from $42K on the lower end to $165K on the higher end; in exceptional cases, this can include more than $25K from bonuses and upwards of $40K from profit sharing. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the specific employer and tenure. Men working as Creative Directors who took the survey just slightly outnumber women at 58 percent. The majority of Creative Directors claim high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to a strong majority, and the larger part earn dental coverage. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$45,154 - $154,930
$45K
$86K
$150K
MEDIAN: $85,900
10%
50%
90%

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$13.81 - $97.78
$14
$25
$98
MEDIAN: $24.56
10%
50%
90%

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$0$165K
Salary $45,154 - $154,930
Bonus $1,228 - $24,801
Profit Sharing $1,007 - $39,732
Commission $2,919 - $17,754
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$42,307 - $165,398
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 2,680
Hourly Data $0$106
Hourly Rate $13.81 - $97.78
Hourly Tips $0.05
Overtime $10.30 - $106.65
Annual Data $0$165K
Bonus $1,228 - $24,801
Commission $2,919 - $17,754
Profit Sharing $1,007 - $39,732
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$42,307 - $165,398
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 25 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 243

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

Germany (change)

Job Description for Creative Director

The creative director is the leader of a team tasked with creating and implementing creative work; this could include projects in graphic design, advertising, music, media or similar fields. Their tasks vary depending on their industry and position; for example, they may work as a lead designer for websites, oversee copywriting for advertising campaigns or serve as the art director for a publication or advertising firm. Other tasks led by a creative director commonly include helping with the casting of a commercial, developing radio commercials, and helping guide copywriters and graphic designers on a wide variety of projects.

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Creative Director Tasks

  • Develop and manage creative ideas.
  • Develop and produce promotional spots.
  • Coordinate with relevant departments on all promotions productions.
  • Develop and manage creative teams to promote product brands.

Common Career Paths for Creative Director


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Creative Directors sometimes assume positions such as Executive Creative Directors. That role pays $172K per year on average. The most common career progression for Creative Directors leads to becoming a VP or Creative Director, where average pay is $143K annually. However, many Creative Directors also opt to become Marketing Directors. Typically, a Marketing Director brings home $80K.

Creative Director Job Listings

Popular Employer Salaries for Creative Director


Creative Directors flock to Havas for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $151K lead the pack in compensation.

Popular Skills for Creative Director


Creative Directors seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in User Interface Design, Copywriting, Team Leadership, and Strategic Marketing are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 9 percent and 18 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Graphic Design, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Photoshop. Most people experienced in Adobe Illustrator also know Graphic Design.

Pay by Experience Level for Creative Director

Pay by Experience for a Creative Director has a positive trend. An entry-level Creative Director with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $54,000 based on 627 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Creative Director with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $79,000 based on 916 salaries. An experienced Creative Director which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $101,000 based on 1,517 salaries. A Creative Director with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $106,000 based on 620 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $86,267

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Creative Directors, San Francisco provides a pay rate that is 71 percent greater than the national average. Creative Directors can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+37 percent), Los Angeles (+31 percent), Seattle (+29 percent), and Boston (+20 percent). The lowest-paying market is Austin, which sits 18 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Charlotte (7 percent less) and Miami (3 percent less).

Creative Director Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Creative Director?

Creative Director in Austin:
"Managing creative projects."
Pros: The creativity and working with creative people. The satisfaction of holding a finished product in my hands, and it's beautiful and helpful. Being inspired by meeting and interviewing interesting people. Networking and being an ambassador for the brand and the product that I care deeply about.
Cons: When there's a lack of vision or the vision is poorly defined. When the goal is not well communicated and when goals are changed mid-stream without a good analysis of what the change will cause. Whenever people don't do what they agree to do.

Creative Director in Seattle:
"Best Dream Job!"
Pros: I love the collaboration and strategic thinking that comes with this position. Each week I have a new creative project that I dream up and then follow to fruition. It's wonderful.
Cons: Haven't really found a negative that is greater than a simple change in direction.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Creative Director

Gender

Female
42 %
Male
58 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 481 votes.
Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
44%
20 years or more
22%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Creative Director Salaries

▲23%

▲17%

National Average
$86,000

▼9%

▼37%

Skills That Affect Creative Director Salaries

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 481 votes.

Gender

Female
42 %
Male
58 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
14%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
44%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 79%
dental benefits
Dental: 65%
vision benefits
Vision: 54%
no benefits
None: 19%
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