I am an artist and visual storyteller now devoting my time to marketing. As a creative director I use my experience managing creative staffs to sell products or ideas. Sometimes I sell dreams.
Having been a visual communicator all of my professional life, I see little difference between journalism, art and commerce because in each case I take on projects I believe in. This is why my co-workers view me as a passionate contributor and generator of ideas. But the most important trait of a good creative director isn’t talent in graphic design or photo editing – it is in directing and leading a creative team and that comes down to being an effective communicator.
I am a life-long student of creativity and perception. This means I’m interested in making things and understanding how others will intellectually and emotionally digest them. I understand how to foster creativity in myself and others both individually and collectively. I know how to customize a work environment to bring out the best in those who work for me and I judge my success based on their success. I want to be a leader who folks really enjoy working with because they will have the opportunity and space to excel. I keep the bar pretty high and the pressure pretty low. I think knowing how to do that is the real trick.
My focus is always on the end user and everything that goes into our creative work comes from inductive practices. I have studied how people take in information and process it and I always want that knowledge to inform what we produce. For instance, I have come up with the idea of “Three Birds, One Stone” to describe my approach to marketing because people can generally have three takeaways from a project. But they can’t be just any three takeaways. They must work together in certain ways and I know those ways. The best ROI in a marketing campaign will communicate three identifiable goals and they should drive our approach to visuals.
Beyond that, we must understand how the human brain packages and compartmentalizes information. You may be able to name all four of the Beatles but if there were five members of the band I bet you wouldn’t be able to name more than two. There are uses of color that also effect how we take in information and they are based on evolutionary principals. I could turn something you find visually pleasant into something you find visually repugnant without you ever being able to identify my methods because these matters are dealt with at a subconscious level. The reverse, of course, is also true.
But most of all, I want to make a difference. And that is why I am now pursuing a job with a college or university that I am passionate about – one where I can eventually say “here’s where we were, and here’s where we are now.” Because results are all that matters.
I enjoy leading creative teams along with the rewards and challenges that accompany the task. Leading and managing are separate skills that together meet the strategic and tactical branding and marketing requirements necessary for effective visual communication.
Websites are great opportunities for businesses to entertain and inform. They invariably also create a sense of seriousness, playfulness or fuddy-duddiness to potential clients. The web is by far the best chance for a company to communicate its ethos.
Printed materials allow us to reach potential customers through conventional channels. However, often the goal of the printed material is to draw them to our website where we can convey detailed information in a more compelling and entertaining way.
Design is the key element for creating brand equity and we don’t want to continually reinvent the wheel. Our goal should be to follow psychological principals and feature designs and messaging that offer repetition with variation.
Ultimately I will never expect consumers to identify with a font or typeface. They must identify with the people photographed. They don’t necessarily have to look like them but they must connect as fellow like-minded consumers.
Businesses must be willing to embrace change to keep up with modern trends. If a company’s website has the look and feel of what was popular five years ago, its product line will likely appear stale.