PROMO: Art directors’ contact information

January 11, 2007

The most common question I get is: do I need a mailing list? How do you know who to send promo material to?

There’s a variety of things you can do; you can drop some money down on a mailing list; there are places like Adbase that give you a bunch of addresses. I hear they’re helpful, but at this point I am on a tight budget so I haven’t gotten to test it out for myself more than a test trial. My methods are more guerrilla, but they’re free and effective– I do mailings of about 200-300 different art directors, record companies, and ad agencies, and that number’s always growing.

Option 1: Scour!
If you can find a library with an art/design section (colleges are good for this) or an art supply store that doesn’t frown on you reading their material, try and pick up the most recent edition of Print magazine’s regional design annual. Inside is a treasure trove of graphic art from magazines, design firms, and newspapers (among other things), listed by region, with art directors and client names. They don’t do all the work for you though; you’ve got to plug in the clients or art directors into google or phone around to get the addresses, but this is a great opportunity to find a lot in one place. It’s especially good for finding ad agencies and design firms, which I’ve found pretty tricky to find otherwise.

Option 2: Loiter!

Your local giganto-bookstore, while perhaps a blight against mom and pop bookshops, are actually pretty helpful for illustrators. Why? Their magazine sections are very handy, and you most likely will not get bothered about sitting and not buying an issue. (Seriously, I’ve spent two or three hours in their section without spending a dime, and the most I ever got a was someone asking if I needed help.) All you need is a notebook and some paper (or some digital method I suppose); sit down with some magazines, flip through and see if anything looks like it’d go for your style of work. If so, find the masthead (in the front usually) and find the address and art director. Easy!

But what if you’re stuck in front of a computer all day? You can still find names!

Option 3: Google!

The internet is especially handy for getting addresses for local and foreign publications. Start at your city’s local culture weekly site– most of these have mastheads online, usually under the ‘about us’ or ‘contact us’ pages, though sometimes they have a masthead link. After you find one, look on the bottom of the site– often these papers are linked together– the Village Voice owns many other papers, for example. Same with daily papers, just look for their websites and try and find the mastheads. You can also look for magazines you know off the top of your head, though I won’t guarantee they post their mastheads online.

Option 4: Etc!

Any time I see a paper or magazine, I instinctively pick it up now. If you’re at a friend’s house, check out their coffee table. If you’re at a hair salon, check their reading/waiting area. And if you’re flying, check the inflight magazines. Many of them use some really great illustration!

That’s a pretty decent start, but you get the idea. There are tons of places to go, and you don’t need to throw down a lot of money to start sending promotional materials out. I suspect when you can afford it, those services can be pretty useful, but don’t think you can’t start promoting yourself because you can’t afford to yet! Just don’t forget to keep your list up to date– call art directors, check magazines.. otherwise you’ll be getting a few return to sender mailers!


16 Responses to “PROMO: Art directors’ contact information”

  1. Great info Meg .. thanks for sharing .. love your work!


    • emmanuel said

      hello how is everything and your family hope all is well if so thanks be to God
      well i also thanks for your mail but nice to meet you sir i will like if is possible for me to be working with your company so that i will be pay because now i having problem in Ghana concern my house am looking for money for me pay my house rent that s why am trying to let you no please sir make me to be comfortable sir so that my God will bless you so much please i need your urgent help like the sum of 1000 dollars sir even if i can pay later through my salary so that i will used this opportunity to be forwarding message to your company i hope to here from you soon best regards
      please sir if you can help me please can you convert dollars to Ghana currency so that i get the cash through my Account or through western union or money gram
      my Account number 0904020446101 Emmanuel.C.Ogugua savings Account thanks you so much may God bless you and your family

  2. Damien said

    Nice work Meg! I’m looking forward to hear what else you have to share.

  3. Good luck Meg. Thanks for trying to make it better for illustrators. BTW: I love your art.

  4. Keeley said

    I think this blog is a great idea. Great tips on making a mailing list. I’ve already tried the “going to Borders and getting addresses from magazines” route but I hadn’t thought of looking at Print for some reason.

  5. ZABO said

    Great idea for a blog – I’m really looking forward to seeing what other advice you have to share.
    rock and roll

  6. thank you very much for this! i will actively follow this journal in the future to steal more of your secret secrets!

  7. Great idea for a blog! I’m looking forward to future posts.

    In my early years of freelancing I used many of the tactics you mention. I also got a lot of contacts through the “Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Market” books. But now I get all of my contacts from two places: and a sign-up form on my website. Adbase is expensive, but worth every penny because I no longer have to spend dozens (hundreds?) of hours maintaining my mailing list (that’s more time I can spend illustrating), and they give me way more contacts than I would ever find on my own. For me, has paid for itself.

  8. Stan Shaw said

    One other thing that may be of help. Ask for referals from Art Directors. If you contact one, you can ask for the name of a few others. This has a few hidden benifits as it starts a network of who you know and who you know that you know that knows you. Plus, you may find that certain AD’s are sort of illustrator hubs and turn out to be great resources. I have a post on my blog about “Rules of Art Direction” that might be worth you while to look over.
    I’ve been at this for a while. It can be @#$! and a s#!t load of fun.

  9. 123123 said

    Thanks! You are rad

  10. Sarah said

    What a great idea! Thanks for setting this up, Meg!

  11. meg said

    thanks guys on your very insightful comments!

    cedric- you’re right, i definitely suspect adbase pays for itself– what i saw in my trial period was really cool and had a lot of places i never heard of. however, just like a GAG membership and getting listed on places like, the money factor is a bit daunting, given i’m the first one to state upfront i’m not rich or even that financially secure yet. but i’m hopeful that when i get enough work to help out with that financial security, i’ll consider buying something like adbase without flinching.

    really good points! if you don’t mind, i’m going to link to that post in your blog in my next entry. you brought up a bunch of things i hadn’t even thought about– art directors as a hub!

  12. Jacob S said

    This is a great idea… I’ll be checking back loads. Keep on making great art too….

  13. Stan Shaw said

    Link up!
    Live fast, draw hard.

  14. Ken said

    I’ve found this blog to be really helpful, sometimes I find myself to be very isolted in the studio so its great to hear people talking about the business end of things. Reading through the comments, Adbase seems to be mentioned quite a bit. How much is it to sign up and what is the best way to utilize the service?

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