Artwork is now more than ever "hard work". Anyone working today as an art director for top brands with high aesthetic standards must be equally efficient and creative. What are the special challenges? What solutions are there when every detail has to be developed in high-quality motifs?
Creative Director Rose Zhu of Leo Burnett in Beijing gives us an insight into his work as well as the emergence of the current Audi Aicon campaign, which he sees as a model for efficient artwork.
How has the work of an Art Director changed?
Of course, we are still creative at heart, we want to conquer the hearts of the target groups on behalf of the brands through good ideas. Unlike in the past, however, we have to be much more flexible in the production of campaign motifs. There are many more media channels to be used and campaigns have to be organized more subtly as a result.
Today all this must already be taken into account when developing ideas and planning production processes. At the same time, the demands on the quality of visuals have continued to increase, down to every detail. Today, every art director is faced with this challenge.
What role do tight timescales play in this context?
Many of the current work cycles from client briefing to concept and strategy to execution are relatively short. So given this limited time, we usually choose to license high-quality images to complete each visual. This usually guarantees quality while increasing efficiency.
For me, working efficiently today must go hand in hand with creative thinking. There is no other way. That's why we often rely on compositings with high-quality images. It opens almost unlimited possibilities for creating unique motifs for our clients.
How does that work exactly?
For our current Audi campaign, for example, we have composed background motifs from several images. In collaboration with MAGROUND, one of the world's leading suppliers in this field, perfect backdrops were created by combining images of mountains, sky, trees, and foreground. Effectively a perfect stage for the product. The cars themselves were shot in a studio and integrated into the backdrop. Down to the smallest detail, we were able to create an image mood with a very beautiful and individual campaign look. We could simply adjust until everything was perfect with the key visuals. Especially with projects with tight deadlines, it makes sense for us to rely on such extremely flexible solutions.