ok, so I did a thing. I decided to change my title, from creative director to art director. why? well, I’ll tell you.
when I first mentioned this to my wife last year, she told me I shouldn’t because it would be a demotion and may affect my career. but I’ve been wrestling with it for awhile now and finally decided it would be the right thing. I inherited the CD title from my former director some 16 years ago when he turned in his resignation. he told me that upon his exit that he would tell the execs to pass the mantle on to me since I’ve been there awhile, know the organization well, and that there’s absolutely no need to hire outside but promote from within, and that I’m the right guy to give it to. I’d only been there for 4 years, but a designer for a total of 9. I was deeply grateful and the execs didn’t give it a second thought. but as time progressed and I began to learn more and more about titles and responsibilities in the creative field, I realized the description of CD did not really fit was I was doing. I was really more of a senior graphic designer taking on more responsibilities as an art director. I’ve learned that CDs do less hands-on design and more directing other designers, copywriters, and art directors. that’s never really been my thing with my current employer. in fact, to be honest, the creative structure of my current employer is not quite industry standard in regards to the creative field. there have been two periods where I’ve been the ONLY designer on campus with some work provided from off campus freelancers followed by a couple of agencies. the first period was one year. the second was a year and a half/18 months. so not much directing on my end during those periods, other than directing my own projects and managing work from outsourced creatives.
so I realized in order to be honest, I’m really more of an art director than a creative director. rather than just directing others to do the work, I’m more of a hands-on guy who can direct others while working right along side them, or even by myself.
and so, while my title is CD with my current employer, I’d rather be honest and title myself as art director, because that’s what I actually do, and it is in no way a demotion for me. 😉
i’ve learned in my long tenure in the creative field how important it is to not only lead the charge as a creative director, but also work side by side with other designers at any level. it’s important to me to never think of myself higher than i am, even if i’m working with entry-level designers. at one point in the past i was like them – new to the field, trying to not only learn a variety of graphic design software, but also learning the structure and identity of the organization that employed me. my first director was extremely patient and a good teacher, the epitome of a great “leader.” rather than him micro-managing every project given to me, he would turn me loose and only hover over my shoulder when i requested guidance. the greater lesson i learned from his leadership is when he and i would work on a project together as a team and not simply as boss/employee. this type of workmanship also taught me how to work with others in non-creative areas of the company and allowed me to chance to explain in detail, with humility, how the work is to be done. i made sure they understood that i was their teammate with a different skill as we were working toward the same goal for the organization.
once i became a director, i would then by default lead other designers in the same way my first director did – no micromanaging, show them how to use specific software tools (mainly when they asked), and always work toward collaborative creativity! this also means as a leader i would not take full credit on team effort. that’s what leaders do. no football player wins a championship alone. a quarterback is nothing without his offensive line, running backs, and receivers.
i’m extremely thankful to have learned this. there are many who haven’t and cause a great deal of stress on their staff. they are the “bosses” who give orders and often make unrealistic demands without caring about the many hours and lack of sleep their workers endure just to get things done. in many cases this can also cause the staff to attack each other, creating ongoing dissension. bosses aren’t concerned with the mental and physical well-being of their employees. they simply delegate and expect the outcome with no exceptions.
in short, bosses make demands and expect the outcome without question. leaders lead by example, as members of their team, and get more than they asked for. which one are you?
i love music. different kinds, but my favorite is jazz fusion which has it’s origin very late 60s, but made a huge mark in the 70s. it’s a style that’s often progressive and can be very melodic with complex, yet beautiful chord changes. it’s a musicians’ style of music, mostly instrumental, which allows each individual to have the spotlight with solos for various instruments in one song. various artists include stanley clarke, george duke, chick corea, jean-luc ponty, herbie hancock, allan holdsworth, with groups like return to forever, weather report, passport, tribal tech, and thousands more from across the globe. often debatable by purists, it is a form of jazz with a mix of rock, funk, or both. jazz fusion also includes a more progressive form aptly called progressive rock, which has more emphasis on rock than jazz and can even include and influence of classical music. i grew up in the 70s and when it comes to music, the sounds of that time sound so much better to me now than back then with all the heavy emphasis on today’s pop scene. it’s my favorite genre to design by. very inspiring for my creativity.
there aren’t very many jazz fusion radio stations around today, but i’ve discovered some good ones on internet radio outlets like Radionomy. last year i ran across one named Fusion101. the guy who operates it has a ton of music from that era with artists and songs i’ve never heard of. after listening for a while, i reached out to him to see if he’d like a new identity. he agreed and here’s what i came up with. i took his original idea and updated it with the same type of imagery and implemented some font design. notice how the “101” is included within the word “fusion” (worked out pretty good).
i really appreciate the opportunity to do this. glad he liked it. check out the website HERE or install the Radionomy app on your smartphone and see the art there. jazz fusion music is not for everyone. it’s definitely the sound for me as it really gets my creativity going! check out the icon and full logo on my identity page.
just within the past 4 weeks i’ve been getting my feet wet, or soaked, with a crash course in adobe after effects. now as long as i’ve been doing graphic design, this is one app i’ve been wanting to learn since 2001 (it actually hurts to type that; a shame it took me this long). thing is i had to learn it as a necessity for some upcoming projects at my job and a coworker who works primarily in video editing/production was so kind as to give me some basic training, boot camp style! now that i’m finally using it, my brain is tingling with ideas! once again, i know it to be true that you’re never too old and it’s never too late to learn something new and expand your skills!
I’m now up and running on Behance. This is a great outlet for creatives wishing to showcase their work with other creatives, “share” inspiration from other designers and even get work from clients across the globe. I will be adding new work from time to time as well as on this site. Click the logo to visit my page or just click here.