Creative Director Salary Guide 2023 – Australia

What is the average salary for a Creative Director in Australia?

In 2023, the average creative director salary is $130,000. However, more experienced creative directors can earn up to $145,000 or more. If you’ve just moved into creative direction, you can expect to make an entry-level salary of around $80,000 to $100,000.

There are a number of factors that impact the salary expectations for a creative director. Try our helpful Salary Calculator tool below to learn how much money you could be making as a creative director. Just click on the banner below to get started.

Creative Director Salary Calculator

Answer these seven questions to find out how much you could expect to earn before tax as a creative director in Australia. Note that these are rough estimates only.

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Creative Director salaries in Melbourne & Sydney

While not dramatic, there is a difference between what creative directors earn in Melbourne versus Sydney. This largely comes down to the prevalence of larger agencies in Sydney.

Creative Director Salaries Melbourne

The average salary for a creative director in Melbourne is between $120,000 to $140,000 per year. However, designers at the lower end can expect to make in the region of $80,000 to $90,000 while more experienced designers can earn up to $150,000 or more annually.

Creative Director Salaries Sydney

In Sydney, the average wage is slightly higher than Melbourne’s; sitting at around $125,000 to $145,000. That said though, seniority pays off in this field, with the most experienced and successful candidates in Sydney able to demand salaries of up to $160,000.

How do Creative Director salaries compare to other design jobs?

The creative director role is considered a senior position and commands a salary in line with other senior roles. Creative directors generally make more than their counterparts in design, such as graphic designers and web designers, who may make between $65,000 – $90,000 per year. They also tend to out-earn most other creative roles; including animators ($75,000), UX designers ($100,000) and interior designers ($84,000)

Creative Director Job Description

A creative director is the leader of a creative team that produces work in one or more artistic fields, such as graphic design, advertising, music, acting, or writing. Specific duties depend on the workplace and title; for example, they may work as the design lead on a web design project, oversee copywriting for advertising campaigns, or be the art director at a publishing company or ad agency.

Creative directors will commonly oversee hiring for projects, including casting for TV commercials, manage ideation sessions, develop cohesive creative plans, provide direction to copywriters and graphic designers and are in charge of quality control. The creative director will provide final sign-off on all creative output before it is shown to a client.

Whether working in-house or at an agency, creative directors are usually client-facing or in direct communication with senior stakeholders. It’s a role that comes with a lot of responsibility and demands a high level of creativity and leadership skills. Creative directors must have an extensive understanding of the industry and be able to stay on top of trends, competitor work and ever-evolving technology.

Career Path to Becoming a Creative Director

Creative directors generally start their careers as designers, graphic designers, animators or copywriters before transitioning into a creative director role. Having more than just design or writing skills is vital, so experience in a range of fields is beneficial. Strong verbal and written communication skills are a must-have, in addition to strong leadership, excellent organisational and problem-solving skills. An understanding of marketing and advertising principles, design and typography techniques, user experience best practices, web development terminology and coding languages are also highly desirable in this role.

Where to find a job as a Creative Director in Australia

Creative directors have plenty of job opportunities available in the fields of advertising, digital and web design, publishing, film and television production and motion graphics. Major cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are hubs for Creative Directors with positions available across a range of industries from fashion to automotive.

Check out some of the great Creative Director and senior design roles available below:

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Highest Paid Creative Directors

As far as creative directors go, none are more renowned and better paid than those in advertising. They are the visionaries behind some of the world’s most iconic campaigns. From Lee Clow, who was instrumental in creating Apple’s legendary “Think Different” campaign to David Droga, who created a series of award-winning campaigns for Nike and has been credited with changing the face of advertising, these creative directors have shaped the industry and have helped create some of the most memorable campaigns in history.

Studying the greats can be inspiring to those looking to break into the field and can give you a glimpse into what is expected of a creative director earning between $500,000 and $1.5 million annually.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy creative directors of all time.

• Sir John Hegarty, the founder of global advertising agency BBH and one of the most influential figures in modern marketing. His campaigns for Audi, Levi’s and Lynx have become marketing icons.

  • Sir Martin Sorrell, the former head of WPP who turned a small British advertising firm into one of the world’s largest media agencies. His campaigns for brands like Unilever and Nestle have shaped modern consumer marketing.
  • Lee Clow, the long-time Chief Creative Officer of TBWA Worldwide whose campaigns for Apple have become legendary. From the iconic ‘1984’ ad to the iPod silhouette campaign, his work redefined how tech brands market their products.
  • David Droga, the founder of creative agency Droga5 whose innovative campaigns for Nike and Jay-Z’s Life + Times are at the cutting edge of modern advertising. His work has been honoured with numerous awards including multiple Cannes Lions and an Emmy.
  • Jeff Goodby, the co-founder of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners who has been credited with some of the most iconic campaigns in the history of advertising. His work for Budweiser, Polaroid, The NBA and the infamous ‘got milk?’ campaign have become part of the fabric of American culture.

These are just a few of the world’s most renowned creative directors. Their work has shaped how brands communicate with their audiences and has had a lasting impact on the advertising industry as a whole.

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