I get asked this a lot. This depends on the type of project. If it is a normal job that we have done 7 million times, like a postcard invitation that happens every year with a $0.50 budget, I will get the job jacket in my inbox. It has the due date on it. I then get with the copywriter (the one who writes the words) and we decide on a direction. She writes it. I make the layout. And then I route it.
Here is the route path the job takes:
Art director > Copywriter > Creative Director > Executive Creative Director > Account Manager > Director
of Account Services > Art Director to make changes > Account Services > out to client for approval > Art
Director to make changes from client > Account Manager > out to client for final approval> Production
Manager > Production Artist > out the door
If we are working on a bigger project, it gets a little more complicated. We start off with a meeting where
the project is introduced. In that meeting typically it is the Art Director, Copywriter, Creative Director, and
Executive Creative Director. The Executive Creative Director gives us background on the project and we
are given the job jackets there. The timelines are a little vague typically and there is a lot more verbal
communication. When I work with the Copywriter this time, we will concept ideas and really get a game
plan together. She and I will work to make comps which we will pin up on the big wall in the Creative
Directors office. Once we have a bunch of ideas we will have a meeting to discuss them. From there we will refine, and route them. At that point we will go through our normal route process. Instead of sending the ideas over to the client, we typically will have the ideas presented by the Executive Creative Director.
Just a note to this. Above is the process for my job currently. At other agencies, when there was a big
project, the account team will brief the creative team, not the executive creative director. We get the
information first-hand not distilled through his ears. I actually prefer it that way, but I think our Executive
Creative Director likes the control in giving us the info second hand.