Senior designer is a pretty vague title as far as duties go. It’s typically gauged more by experience than duties, with those designers who have 6+ years of experience having a much better chance at landing a senior design position.
A very typical example of a design team will have one or two senior designers, with a handful of low to mid level designers. The senior designers are often the voices to listen to, the experienced few whose opinions carry more weight and paychecks slightly higher numbers, without necessarily being “the boss.
The senior designer is often the one who reports to the creative director and goes through status updates on various projects, lessons learned on past projects, etc. Direction from the creative director is often filtered through this person to the team.
Again though, expect senior designer jobs to be all over the place. Often it only refers to the years of experience you have. You could easily find yourself with a “senior designer” position in a company where you’re the only designer!
These are the Don Drapers of the world. While everyone else sits in a cubicle, the Creative Director sits in an office. For the most part, Creative Directors started at the bottom and worked their way up through 10+ years of experience.
A typical Creative Director might actually do more managing than actual full on design work. Good Creative Directors know how to maximize the potential of their teams. All major work is filtered through them and they have the ultimate say on the direction of the creative, specific artwork used, how the tasks are split up and more.
They also manage a good deal of the client relations. Meetings, planning, phone calls, emails, lunches, dinners, long flights and presentations fill the time of the Art/Creative Director, which some love while others long for the days when they could spend their time in front of Photoshop.
The Creative Director position is a precarious one. Often, they get the praise when a project goes right, even if they haven’t really designed a single thing. Similarly, when projects go horribly wrong, they take the blame, even to the risk of their own jobs. They’ll pass both praise and castigation on to their team, but ultimately it’s their heads that often rest on the chopping block.