A Purposeful Partnership: Art Directors & Illustrators

ADC and the Society of Illustrators welcome you to A Purposeful Partnership: Art Directors & Illustrators — Selections from the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators.

This exhibition, which celebrates the symbiotic relationship between illustration and art direction, will be on display at the ADC Gallery through December 19th.

Gallery Hours: Monday–Friday, 10AM–6PM


Mead Schaeffer "Blue Roadster"A page, a poster, a billboard, a screen. They all begin as blanks until content fills them.

The meaning of the content and its reach depend on display. On form, color and space. All in the service of meaning. How well this is accomplished is due to the skill of art directors and their collaborators. The art director chooses whom to take to the dance—if the partners are well matched, who leads hardly matters.

By choosing the right partner, a great art director matches the best talent to the content and the space. The best image entrapped in a poor layout is diminished. The best layout can rarely overcome a poor image. When working well together, designer and artist make the experience complete.

The best art directors know when to leave well enough alone. The best illustrators bring not only craft, but also great ideas to the table. The best art directors give artists the freedom to run and can, if need be, rethink a solution around an image that sparks the imagination.

A great art director knows, above all, the totality of the space. Knows how all elements interact with the imagery, not only through appropriate typefaces, but the way copy blocks, headlines, margins and edges are engaged in a dance with the artwork. A great illustrator can weave within the layout, or can initiate that interaction for the art director. All to entice, capture and keep an audience’s attention.

All the works displayed here were created not as standalone entities, but to fit within a total dictated by boundaries and intended meaning. All are images made through partnerships with the mutual desire to entice, capture and keep an audience’s attention.

All images © 2014 Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators

Mead Schaeffer
(1898 – 1980)
“Blue Roadster”

Oil on Canvas

Stephen Gardner
(b. 1963)
Poster illustration for the movie
Bill Gold Advertising for Warner Brothers, 1991
Gouache on illustration board
Donated by the artist

  • 2014-11-05 00:00:00
  • ADC Gallery
  • 106 West 29th St.
  • New York, NY, USA