What Makes a Great Creative Director? Here Are 11 Qualities to Look For.
The right senior creative director can have a huge influence on your business’ marketing and ad campaigns. When seeking someone for this role, it’s important to consider whether they have the right skills to bridge the print and digital gap. If they came from the print world, their thought processes and experiences may be different than someone who’s only worked in digital communications.
That’s why we asked 11 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what specific traits and qualities to look for when you’re hiring a senior creative director who will be working on both print and web campaigns. Here’s what they believe you should seek out and why these qualifications are different than if the creative director were hired for one media type over the other.
1. Big Ideas for Simplifying Problems
Don’t think about the channels; think about the ideas. Look for people who can simplify problems and develop big ideas that can come to life in many ways. Regardless of whether you’re talking about one channel or multiple, it’s the idea that matters, and that’s what you should look for in a senior creative director. —Britt Fero, PB&
2. Exceptional Communication Skills
Being in the graphic design space, I personally admire exceptional communication skills in a creative director. It’s imperative to look for those who can effectively communicate their ideas and directions. They should not only be able to communicate their own ideas, however, but should also be capable of bringing them into reality with their creative skills. It would be the same for print as well. —Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
3. Alignment With Your Message and Mission
If you’re in the market for hiring a creative, you should realize that no two are alike. So the best way to determine if they are the right fit for your company is to see if their creativity aligns with your message and your mission. It’s not always about finding the most experienced or talented person. If they don’t align with your goals, it doesn’t matter what they create. —Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
4. Coding and Software Skills
Creative directors who work in both web and print should have certain software and coding skills, making their IT background stronger than the ones who work in print only. It’s important for a director to know how things work online. They should also have experience with online marketing. PR is way different on the web compared to print. Creative directors should know how to market online and how to use social media accounts. —Daisy Jing, Banish
5. A Style Match With Your Brand
Does their style match your brand? I like to hire people who have an eye for the style of the brand I currently have or the style I want to create. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for yet, hire somebody who’s done some work you like or has worked on similar projects. If you choose somebody that understands your brand’s style, all the work they do thereafter will be more likely to align with your needs. —Andy Karuza, LitPic
Creativity is related to resourcefulness. If you want a creative director who has a chance of success, then you need to see a history of being resourceful. How well have they handled the stress of constant change in the marketing and communications industry? You’re looking for someone with a can-do attitude who isn’t afraid of being a beginner again if that’s what it takes to succeed. —Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
7. A Strong Vision
As a senior creative director, you need to create a vision for the brand and then manifest it through print media or the web. Internet advertisements are more dynamic and aggressive as compared to print ads. The quality of your work demands a higher level of visual quality in print media. If you can identify this difference, then you can display your skills equally well in both print and the web. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
8. A Solid Portfolio
You should look for an updated portfolio of their work to get a good idea of what they can offer and how much value their work provides. Whether it’s print or web, having samples shows you their potential at your company and helps you make an informed hiring decision. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
9. An Understanding of Each Platform’s User Experience
Hiring a senior creative director with experience in both print and web design is important because the user experience and interface are different in each medium. Someone with experience will accommodate the differences between devices, tactile feel, the impact on vision and more. Someone without this knowledge will make critical mistakes that affect readership. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
10. Analytical Skills
When hiring for the role of a senior creative director, it’s important to consider the analytical skill of the person. The creative director should have a firm understanding of what the end goal of the business is. This understanding will help them to come up with strategies to reach those goals. This holds true in terms of both print and the web. —Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite
11. Experience With Large Projects and Leadership
You should look at the experience of the creative director. You’ll want to find someone who has worked through large projects in the past and understands the importance of strong leadership. If you hire someone just for print, you don’t have to worry about media outside of the advertising material. On the other hand, web design involves video, audio and other ways to get readers involved. —Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights