The Creative Director plays a vital role in any company, and it’s one of those jobs people tend to misunderstand. In a nutshell, these professionals are responsible for making sure a company’s creative projects (or their clients’ creative projects) are on-brand and destined to get the attention of the intended audience. If you’re looking to hire a Creative Director, we’ll lay out the details so you can make the best decision for your business.
Why Hire a Creative Director?
We often talk about design strategy on this blog, and for good reason. Your design strategy is a fundamental ingredient you need to move the needle in your business. And some of the most successful companies in the world (eg. Apple, Google, Microsoft) have their design strategies at the heart of everything they do. It go far beyond visual appeal, and with the right approach, can drive your business’ bottom line. In the midst of a chaotic workday, someone should be driving the process. This is where creative directors come in.
A Creative Director can:
- Strengthen Your Brand Aesthetic: A Creative Director ensures that all creative projects align with your brand’s identity, creating a cohesive and compelling visual presence.
- Enhance Client Satisfaction: They act as a bridge between your creative teams and clients, smoothing over issues and supporting client retention.
- Create Cohesion Across Teams: Creative Directors guide designers and provide strategic direction, ensuring that everyone is working toward the same vision.
- Stay on Top of Trends: They keep your creative projects up-to-date by tracking industry trends, helping your brand remain competitive.
- Contribute to Business Development: Creative Directors often play a role in business development, helping you expand your creative capabilities and client base.
Agencies are notorious for having difficult clients and struggling to meet their demands. Your director can smooth things over with clients who are angry or impatient. In this sense, they can do a world of good in supporting client retention.
What Does a Creative Director Do?
You can think of your Creative Director as the final checker. As your designs and projects pass through many hands with many iterations, the Creative Director oversees it all. They have the final say and pay attention to the big picture of your brand’s creative strategy.
Once you hire a Creative Director, their typical workload includes:
- Making sure projects are on-brand and on-time
- Staying on top of creative trends in your industry
- Being a point person for your clients
- Contributing to business development
- Overlooking creative briefs
- Guiding designers and helping them succeed
Unlike an Art Director who typically does the technical art, Creative Directors are more like strategists.
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How Much Should you Pay a Creative Director?
Fortunately, we live in a world where the workplace has become far more flexible. That means you can hire an in-house creative director if it suits your needs. But you can also hire a part-time professional to steer the ship as needed.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary is about $95,000 for a full-timer, making it a highly coveted and competitive position.
Types of Creative Directors
You might be wondering if your company really needs to hire a Creative Director. The answer is: If you can afford it, it’s best to have one. This position is quickly becoming a must-have rather than a ‘nice-to-have’ in today’s design-driven world. You don’t want your company pumping out projects without someone going over each one with a critical eye. So what are your options?
Fractional Creative Director
This is a fancy term for a part-time Creative Director. They’ll work with you on an as-needed basis (eg. 2 days per week) to handle all the same tasks as an in-house professional would. This is a perfect option for small brands or brands that are scaling but don’t yet need someone on staff full-time.
Fractional Creative Directors typically work for multiple clients simultaneously or on a project-by-project basis. They are typically brought in for specific projects to provide creative direction, strategic guidance, and leadership to creative teams, or to assist in executing creative campaigns.
Agency Creative Director
These professionals typically have more to juggle. They may work for a marketing or advertising agency and handle several of their clients at a time. This requires them to be diverse and have a sharp eye for different types of brands and their design requirements. Agency Creative Directors must ensure that the work aligns with the client’s objectives, effectively communicates the desired message, and meets high-quality standards. They play a pivotal role in concept development.
In-House Creative Director
These professionals work for one company and focus on that company’s creative direction, plain and simple. Their role requires them to know the brand deeply, enforce its guidelines, and know what strategic decisions are in the best interest of the company.
If you have a growing creative team that includes copywriters, artists, and various types of designers, you need someone to.. wrangle them. A bunch of creatives in a room can easily lead to each person going off on their own direction. And while it may lead to some interesting art, this isn’t ideal. When you hire a Creative Director, they bring everyone together toward the same goal, delegate tasks, and make sure all team members are contributing to the same vision.
If you’re bogged down in work and your creative projects aren’t getting done soon enough, it may be time to get outside help.
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Does it sound too good to be true getting a hardworking design team and a project manager for less than the annual cost of one in-house professional? That’s what we offer at Penji. When you sign up at our Agency level, you get unlimited graphic designs, direct access to our designers, unlimited revisions, and a designated Project Manager for your company. So if you’re not ready to hire a Creative Director (or even if you already have), Penji will make sure you stay productive.
If you struggle with creative direction, we’ll help you get your creative projects custom-branded and looking fabulous. And if you have a roster of clients, you can organize all their design projects from our dashboard. Cancel anytime or upgrade/downgrade as your design needs change.
Wanna see your unlimited graphic design subscription in action? Check out a demo and see why so many brands use Penji as their secret weapon for creative output.