flashing student work gif, goes behind the mask of the loading animation

Open Menu
art direction school art direction schools art direction school atlanta art direction school georgia advertising art direction school advertising art direction schools art direction school advertising art direction schools art direction art direction portfolio school portfolio school advertising school advertising schools advertising schools atlanta Portfoiio School

Art Direction.

For the average human being, the color green is, well, the color green. For art directors it’s a completely different ballgame. It’s lime green. Or emerald green. Or olive green with 10% more cyan for attitude. Art directors sweat all the other details that most don’t think about. They live for craft. It’s not just about making things look pretty – art directors must be strategic and conceptual. Working hand-in-hand with copywriters, art directors will brainstorm big ideas then go to work to bring them to life, whether through print, digital, outdoor, “made you look” non-traditional ideas and everything in between. A few tools of the trade are an exceptional understanding of color, layout, typography, and the occasional exacto-knife. You’ll also be well-versed in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, but bring those Sharpies and sketch pads, too. An art director just isn’t an art director without a hand full of Sharpies. These are just some of the reasons our reputation in creative industries is unparalleled.

Program Description

The Creative Circus Art Direction curriculum is based on real-world practices. Course work is broken down into three basic areas of study – strategy, concept and execution. To work in the communication arts industry, an Art Director must show proficiency in all three areas. Strategy is the beginning of the creative process. In strategy classes, the student will get a firm understanding of branding, media integration and writing creative briefs.

Before an Art Direction student can begin thinking about a final portfolio, he or she must also master the fundamental skills required for visual communication. Typography, color theory, image creation and design principles, along with mastery of the Art Director’s primary tool – the computer – are all part of the process. And since Art Directors share responsibility for every project with their creative partner, early classes are offered in the basics of copywriting.

Once the fundamentals of strategy, creativity and design are learned, the art direction student applies these skills in the concept classes, the core of our curriculum, which is taught at all levels. In these classes the Art Direction student is teamed with a Copywriter student to develop ideas for speculative real-world assignments. Once the creative team comes up with a concept based on a sound strategy, the execution is reviewed and refined in layout classes.

Request a Curriculum!

Need a more detailed look at the classes?
We’ll email you a complete Course Description.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Here’s a small sample of the classes you’ll take in the Art Direction program.

Type 1
Introduction to type as symbols, individual letter forms, shape and space.

Intro to Graphic Design
Develop a basic understanding of design principles and vocabulary for creative visual thinking.

Introduction to Art Direction
Via layout exercises and lecture, students learn basic principles of art direction and visual storytelling by working with various design and copy elements. Students learn basic production practices. Overview on the Art Director’s role in a team and agency environment.

Type 2
Builds on lessons from Type 1 with projects that address the sentence, the paragraph(s), the page and grids.

Introduction to Creative Teams
Introduces the student to the basic work structure in which he or she will work through the remainder of both school and professional careers. Teamed with a partner, the student will be exposed to the techniques of joint brainstorming, concept development and execution of ideas through “thumbnails” or “comps.”

Copywriting for Art Directors
Introduces the Art Director to basic and best copywriting practices via writing exercises that focus on all aspects of advertising copy, including headlines, taglines and body copy.

Color Theory for Art Directors
This class begins the exploration of color as a foundation of design; exercises and projects apply color theory to specific and diverse creative problems with varied media and dimension.

Students learn that a logo is a simple visual representation (a symbol!) of a brand and it’s personality – and it’s not as easy as it looks, even in black-and-white. Brands vary, some deadlines are weekly, others longer, but the clarity and development of the idea is most important – not the execution.

Brand Extensions
Students from varied disciplines come together as a team to concept and develop an extension of an existing brand in an effort to enhance the client’s opportunities for revenue. The deliverables cross all media and dimension.

Personal Branding
This course will utilize both in-class and out-of-class exercises to help the student brand themselves, develop marketing materials, as well as ask the student to do uniquely focused agency research.

Open House – December 4th

Are you curious what Art Directors actually do? What exactly goes on at portfolio school? And why is The Creative Circus named that and will your family and friends think you’re in clown school? Answers to these burning questions and more await. Join us on December 4th at 10 AM for an Open House event.


Graduation Requirements

To graduate from The Creative Circus, an Art Direction student’s final portfolio must show proficiency in strategic thinking, conceptual interpretation, and creative execution. The work in the portfolio should also show a range of creative solutions, audiences, types of media, and voices. Prior to graduation, every student creates a personal identity package, a résumé, and a website.

Career Services

During the final quarter, students meet with the Director of Career Services to discuss career goals and objectives. Graduating Art Direction students also work with an industry professional on personal presentation skills that will benefit them during interviews or presentations to a client. Graduates have access to our alumni listings, agency contacts, portfolio reviews and direct personal assistance from the Director of Career Services, whose services alumni can continue to use the throughout their career.



Student Work

Department Head

mobile tablet desktop large desktop huge desktop