Four Creative Directors share their top tips for thriving in the role
11/02/19
During our most recent RGD Webinar, "What Creative Directors Know," four Creative Directors shared their top tips for leading successful teams, growing in the position and handling tricky situations.

 

Whether you're a junior designer looking to climb the ladder, or you're a Creative Director yourself, read on to see what these four CDs have to say about making the most of the role.

 

1. Inspire your team.

"I feel like my job is to inspire people, and to understand that these designers aren’t just “hands.” I’ll come to the table with a page or two of research that’s meant to be a creative thought starter. Just loose things to initiate a thought process without saying "This is what I want you to do.""

- Mikey Richardson RGD, Creative Director/Partner at Jacknife Design

 

The words inspire without being directive. Inspire is in yellow font, and the other words are in white. There are doodles around the words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Embrace the discomfort of rediscovering your career identity.

"When you become a Creative Director, it can be a bit weird and uncomfortable because you’re not getting acknowledged for the work that you originally trained to do. I started to ask myself, “What am I becoming?”. Part of the journey was acknowledging that fear of the unknown and being okay with it."

- Matt Coyle RGD, Executive Creative Director at Cineplex

 

3. You don't have to think inside the lines.

"One of the best pieces of advice I received from Bruce Mau was to think like an artist, not a designer. That was an 'aha' moment for me. It's about merging both crafts."

- Laura Stein RGD, Creative Director at SID LEE in Toronto

 

A black and white background. The right side of the background is black and the left is white. On the white side, the numbers 01 are written with a line below them. On the black side, it says think like an artist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. You're only as good as your team.

"You want to make sure that the people you hire are engaged, they’ll stand up for their work, they have good ideas, and they have a sense of what it means to work within a business. Business is important to my team, because without the business, we don’t exist."

- Erin Craig RGD, Creative Director, Trade Publishing at Harlequin, a Division of Harper Collins

 

5. It's possible to let your team make mistakes and protect project integrity at the same time.

"It's important to let your team make mistakes. That's obviously easier said than done because you don’t want to lose a client relationship or really screw something up. So, you build in a plan that helps to mitigate the risk: build in longer timelines, create more frequent check-ins, pair them up with a more senior designer with more experience. All of these options are better than just stepping in to take over."

- Mikey Richardson RGD, Creative Director/Partner at Jacknife Design

 

6. It takes time to become a great Creative Director.

"Nobody goes to school to become a Creative Director. Everyone goes to school to learn a craft and pick up skills, and you tend to learn [the more business type] of stuff on the job. Making this side of the role as good as it can be takes a lot of time and effort."

- Matt Coyle RGD, Executive Creative Director at Cineplex

 

A black background with different words spaced around it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. To stay motivated, never stop learning.

"Focusing on always learning is a great way to keep motivation up. Everyone has a hunger to know more, to create more. Being able to say "What can we learn from this particular situation?” is really important."

- Laura Stein RGD, Creative Director at SID LEE in Toronto

 

8. Learn to rethink a project without having to reinvent the wheel.

"Getting to the bottom of whether or not it’s the idea that’s rejected or if it’s the execution of it is really important, especially when on a tight timeline. You can get a lot of fresh and new ideas from concepts that you’ve already presented."

- Erin Craig RGD, Creative Director, Trade Publishing at Harlequin, a Division of Harper Collins

 

A slideshow slide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RGD Members can access the full recording of this webinar, and all other webinars, in the Members Only section of the website.

 

Interested in attending future webinars? Click here for the list of upcoming webinars.

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