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How To Be a Creative Director that Every Talent Wants to Work With

A creative director ensures a creative arts project is successful, but sometimes, talented and brilliant creative directors can be a challenge to work with; whether that’s poor communication skills, lack of empathy with the talent they are working with or tunnel vision. What can you do to avoid isolating yourself from the industry, and instead be a creative director that everyone in the biz will want to work with? 

What Is a Creative Director?

Creative directors oversee, direct, and approve all creative projects related to advertising, marketing, and graphic design. Creative directors also help to plan and execute marketing strategies, receive design samples, lead teams to create original concepts, and strategize the direction of a company. 

As a creative chief, you will collaborate with writers and marketing specialists to create visuals that fit the brand and mission of your company. You may also supervise voice actors and other talent that are necessary to complete a project.

Other responsibilities of a creative director include:

  • Presenting work to clients and making changes to project direction as necessary
  • Approving artwork, photos, graphics, and different designs
  • Managing and motivating a team of web designers, artists, and graphic designers
  • Deciding how to convert ideas and messages into visuals
  • Designing and executing a campaign-style guide, product, or publication
  • Meeting clients and creating designs for them or their marketing and advertising teams
  • Creating project deadlines and budget control

What Makes A Good Creative Director?

The following are some key traits that make a great creative leader. These traits are essential for success in creative direction:

Focus

Although every professional needs focus, creative directors require it in spades. They don’t have the luxury of always committing to the small details. You will have to examine every detail of the “big picture” to ensure the project stays on track.

Imagination

A good creative director will keep a preconceived project on track. A great one can create a project entirely on their own. If you want to succeed as a creative director, you always need to be looking for new, fascinating ideas and presenting them to your teams. 

Resilience

Resilience is an important trait in any creative career. If you find it difficult to listen to an angry client and a frustrated designer debate about a project, you may need to rethink your career choices. You need to be able to manage some bruised egos and bounce back, better than ever. This means that you have to have thick skin, but must also help others develop theirs. 

Diplomacy

When you’re in the creative room, there may be arguments, especially between people who don’t understand each other’s visions. If something isn’t quite right, you must be prepared to tell your team to toss it and start over in the most professional, yet courteous, way possible. You will need to balance discipline and morale to lead your team to the finish line.

A creative director mediates between parties, like voice actors and clients. Be ready to offer compromises and solutions that will make all parties happy and keep the project harmonious. 

Experience

Creative direction probably isn’t for you unless you’ve had a long, productive career with job failure, challenges and success. A creative director is in charge of industry professionals, so having years of experience will help you understand every aspect of the work. 

Good Design Skills

Although it is essential to be knowledgeable, nine times out of ten, clients will prefer a humanitarian, diplomat, and professional who can meet deadlines. However, passion for design is an essential prerequisite, and knowing basic skills will help you understand your team.

Market Knowledge

To pitch your ideas in marketing meetings, you will need to understand your market well. If you’re a creative director that often needs to tap into the world of voice over, it’s also a good idea to know the ins and outs of the voice acting industry so you can offer good advice to actors, such as how to create the best demo reel for job auditions. 

What Are Habits Of A Creative Director That May Annoy Voice Actors?

A voice actor can be what makes or breaks a project. If you want to hire and retain the best of the best, you’ll need to watch how you treat the voice actors that work for you. Here are some things to avoid: 

Being Negative All The Time

If you are a person who always responds to other people’s suggestions and sentiments with a contrary or pessimistic attitude, colleagues may see you as uncooperative. Give feedback professionally, and make sure to include positives as well as critiques. 

Interrupting Your Colleagues

It’s unprofessional to interrupt. When you do this, it indicates your lack of respect for others or lack of patience. While you may earn some brownie points through participation, bad timing can ruin your reputation. Even though you’re a supervisor, you don’t have all the answers. Let the specialists do their jobs, while you do yours. 

Being a Pixel Pusher

Do not push people to make specific direct changes, such as changing a word to this word, unless there are numerous rounds with an un-collaborative coworker. Instead, encourage them to look through their work again and see what changes they can find to make. 

Being a ‘Do It All By Yourself’ Person

Don’t take work from your voice actors and do it yourself, unless they have a lot on their plate that they cannot focus on. If this is the case, choose the less inspiring project or any heavy lifting off their hands.

Faking Timelines to Force Fast Work

It is the work of a director to manage outside demands and stresses from the rest of the clients or organization. Your job is to handle the schedule so that your team has sufficient time and guidance for managing projects efficiently. Setting a steady timeline for a project will produce better results, as your team won’t be stressed out about unreasonable deadlines. 

What Are the Best Practices To Become a Great Creative Director?

So what are some of the best practices you need to implement to be the best creative director that people desire to work with? 

Handle Every Project Like it’s Your First

Your responsibility as a creative director is to ensure your team fills the project guidelines to the highest standard. Treat each project you handle like your first; imagine that each thing you work on is a test. If you aim to do your best work, that’s what you’ll produce. 

Do Not Run a Dictatorship

A significant part of a creative director’s job is to mentor others. Everyone has ideas, and it is the work of the creative director to help bring these ideas to life. It does not matter if a coworker is straight from university or a senior. Allow everyone to put their mark on the work. 

You may have to offer advice to voice actors, such as how they should deal with difficult clients. If you run a dictatorship, your team might not feel comfortable coming to you, which can cause awkward situations and stress for everyone involved. 

Stay True to The Vision

It’s okay to push new ideas and keep things fresh. However, it is crucial to have a vivid understanding of your organization’s identity. A dedicated creative director has a clear understanding of their studio vision. If they don’t, it will be difficult to deliver on the image the studio wants.

Create the Right Environment

Creative directors can make their teams more productive by creating the right environment. It doesn’t matter what you see on the walls or how the studio feels. The perfect work environment is relaxed, with some discipline to keep standards high. Encourage your team to take a break from work and engage in team building or other activities.

Be Open-Minded

Many studios have specialists in one specific area. As such, you will need to know everything about your discipline. But it is still important to know what’s happening in other areas. You can also widen your specialties by ensuring you are well-rounded and open to new developments.

The Bottom Line

Any good project needs a great creative director at the helm. If you can stay positive, focused, and driven, any voice actor will always be ready and willing to work with you. 

Have any tips or tricks that have worked for you as a creative director? Share below.

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