Day in the Life of Art Director Emily

Agency Culture

Day in the Life of Art Director Emily

Emily Neel

Emily Neel
Apr 27, 2022

Day in the Life of an Art Director

This month, we’re taking a closer look at the creative department here at Two Rivers Marketing. This week, Emily Neel is sharing what an average day in her life looks like as an art director. 

Comic strip of girl in bed, cup of coffee and working at computer

Working remotely today! Extra half an hour in bed due to no commute and not having to pick out pants and shoes to wear to the office.

Drop a double-espresso pod in the Nespresso and turn up the jams for a high-energy morning. Try a playlist with Lizzo and Mac Miller called Mood Booster on Spotify!

Crack open my laptop to discuss priorities via email with my project manager. Share “good mornings.” On Wednesdays, we exchange camel GIFs.

Comic strip of computer graphics, computer on fire and to do list

Join my creative team to discuss projects and ways to help each other, share cute pet photos, briefly debate the perfect font pairings, etc.

Hit the hottest stuff first and then do lower-brain-function stuff like resizing images, packaging artwork, and kicking out pdf version #29.

Checking easy stuff off my to-do lists gives me a sense of accomplishment and builds momentum for an afternoon of design heavy-lifting.

Comic strip of restaurants Lucca, Nosh, Dirt Burger and Scenic Route

Hit an East Village lunch spot. Lucca, Nosh, Dirt Burger, Scenic Route are some of my go-tos.

After lunch it’s time for the magic — conceptual work. Today I’m starting with a mood board …

Comic strip 4

… then it’s on to the sketchbook! I sketch until I have a clear mental vision of what I want to build using the Adobe Suite.

Before I get too far, I check with my copy partner. Listen to his ideas. Run stuff through his wizard word brain. Talk about format, copy area sizes, etc., etc.

Finally! Time to sit down to make it real and — nothing. UH. BRAIN FOG. The more you try to be creative, the less likely you are to be creative.

Comic strip of girl doing laundry and putting out fire on computer

Take a walk, clean the house, do some laundry — anything to relax my brain.

Come back, get into the groove — and a fire breaks out. Switch gears and take care of some urgent requests.

Comic strip of mime on computer, cup of coffee and thinking of an idea

Back to it. Mix in some meetings. Try to hold the creative thread.

Focus fades again. Check financial TikTok (never too early to plan for retirement). MORE CAFFEINE.

Pop in a podcast. Brain follows podcast; creative idea pops to the surface. Magic! We’re back in the zone and making progress.

Comic strip of drawing, closed sign on desk drinks

Late afternoon. Attend a meeting, take notes (and doodles) in my sketchbook … An idea might strike at any given moment!

Progress looks good on the concept. Everything’s on schedule. Team is all set for the day, too. Time to call it a day. Close the laptop — but keep the sketchbook handy.

Head out for a happy hour (or quick drink) with work friends to cheer a successful day at work.

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Emily Neel
Get to know Emily

Art Director Emily Neel is a lake-loving Aquarius. Her art life is fueled by the infamous Aquarian passion, obsessive pencil sketching, and a strong embrace of her “art history nerd” status. She's heavily inspired by the works of Carvaggio and Van Gogh. Contact Emily for all things design and to weigh in on the raging mechanical vs. wooden pencil debate.