3 things you need to be a creative director

This book spells out the how-tos behind these key communicative skills. So how exactly can you tap into your strategic self while ascertaining the know-how of a creative director? Without it, you’re looking at a rusty case containing no more than a few designer-level skills. Your own toolbox
Now that you know the contents of a successful creative director’s toolbox, it’s on you to fill yours. We should probably begin by clarifying what ‘creative direction’ actually means. You can start by making it a point to read every day. Discovering workarounds that enable efficiencies on your end is always encouraged. Two of the best books for elucidating the ins and outs of presentations include:
Resonate: In this book, well-known writer and graphic designer Nancy Duarte explores a number of proven techniques for transforming any presentation into what she describes as “an engaging journey”. It allows you to search and incorporate colors based on their HEX values, a capability any digital designer wants in his or her back pocket. Slide:ology: It just so happens that another fantastic exploration on the art (and science) of powerful presentations comes from the same author that brought us Resonate. Check out what some of marketing’s most brilliant minds have to say about gamestorming and “why it works.”
02. For us creative directors, it’s imperative that we maintain a thorough command of the spoken word in such a way that elicits any number of desired responses from clients, co-workers, and beyond. It acts as a playbook for marketers looking to shake up the frameworks they use for co-creation and ideation. This book offers readers an alternative look at design theory by incorporating elements of contextual empathy on behalf of the user. Since reading it over two years ago, the ways in which I interact with my customers have never quite been the same. As the creative director, you’re often left straddling the line between teammate and team leader (and even snake charmer, if you ask design leader Mike Monterio)
Gamestorming describes various methods of team collaboration that are both fruitful and fun. If you have what it takes to be a creative director, you’ll find these sort of technical skills come second nature if you simply dedicate the time to hone them
Hacks help get the job done: Who says software has to be used exactly as it’s built? Think of This is Service Design Thinking as a handbook in problem solving, creative director-style. Any ideas, software, or books you can’t live without? I’d say without reservation that this one’s a must-read for any active or aspiring creative director (or any marketer for that matter)
No matter the setting (agency, company, or “other”), successfully executed creative work is a team sport. Fail to do that and chances are you’ll find yourself focusing too much of your energy on how a project looks and sounds, and not enough on how it will drive results for your customers
It’s also worth noting that when initially researching a client, the whos, whats, wheres, and whens will likely click right away (and if they don’t, well, then we may have bigger fish to fry…). It might just be the most loaded term you’ll encounter throughout your career. If you aren’t fluent in any deck-building platforms, then get your ass in gear and start learning. Share your favorite resources with me at @petesena
Words: Pete Sena
Pete Sena is the founder of Digital Surgeons, a digital marketing agency in New Haven, CT. Now given that most creative directors have risen in rank from designer/copywriter onward, it’s safe to assume the experience in creative thinking is there. And let’s remember, of course, that effective strategy– no matter how overworked a term it may be–   stands as the cornerstone of creative direction
Here are a few works with some rather unique insights on the differing strategies behind critical thought and modern day business savvy:
Business Model Generation is an amazing read. A love affair with data
Your ability to get ‘dirty with the data’ often depends on the size of your company and specific role. Pete SenaAs a designer, your go-to means for getting the job done likely includes some combination of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Google, and good old-fashioned brain power. As a well-researched marketer, you’ll quickly establish your worth in any roundtable discussion
Platforms like Google Analytics are relatively simple to learnSimilarly, understanding concepts like measurement plans and key performance indicators will help you when it comes time to talk big picture digital analytics. But it’s true-to-form strategy that allows a creative director to grow his or her toolbox into the stockpile of formidable resources needed to carry out the job. Learning to connect the dots in data is of utmost importance for any digital creative director. From the sketching of diagrams to the creation of each slide, she takes readers through a step-by-step breakdown of the presentation-making skills central to a CD’s work. That’s because – not unlike most marketing buzzwords – it’s regarded as trite and played out. What is creative direction? 01. Platforms like Google Analytics, Omniture, and Optimizely are relatively simple to learn and have an incredible ROI when it comes to time invested. That being the case, I strongly recommend you get as hands on with the analytics as possible. Ability to present
Let’s face it, being a creative director these days means that you’re most likely spending the bulk of your time communicating and presenting designs, not necessarily creating them. So I dug around for possible alternatives, and ultimately landed on this downloadable ⦁      color picker add-on. Business therapist. So why is its actual meaning so often overlooked? Fiddle around, find online tutorials, figure out what tools are hidden in which dropdown by going in and actually practicing. It’s developing your capacity for critical thought that might require additional work on your end. I think Dan Mall said it best when he noted:
“Creative Direction is the intersection where art direction and design meet strategy.”
Dan Mall’s definition of the role of creative director is spot onAh strategy… Now while I build most of my decks in Keynote these days, you’re by no means restricted to that or it’s commonly used counter platform, PowerPoint. Amassing the resources necessary to manage and inspire a team, cultivate and develop new business for your agency, and stay on top of the latest and greatest happenings in the industry… A hybrid designer/developer who lives to create unique and powerful experiences for brands, if Pete ever takes a break he’s probably reading, teaching himself something, attacking Crossfit or snowboarding.

Updated: 19.11.2014 — 19:47