What would we do without ‘em, right?
Creative directors are the captain of the ship, the go-to and mediator between client and creative, a ride-or-die that keeps creatives motivated and their clients’ projects on pace so that they can deliver the engaging marketing collateral that keeps them in business.
They’re great, is what we’re saying.
If you’re a creative director or an experienced creative with project management skills on your resume who has what it takes to do what creative directors do every day, then you should keep reading. Here is where to find the best creative director jobs.
The thing that changed everything.
It’s no big secret that the pandemic shook up the economy and the lives of millions of people. The lockdowns, cutbacks, and ongoing economic recession has had a huge effect on the fine arts, marketing, and creative industries.
When your industry depends on the flourishing of other industries, what do you do when things aren’t going well?
The answer is simple, you just adapt.
Creative industries, graphic design, and marketing, in general, all made a sharp turn toward digital collateral and remote platforms.
As it turns out, you don’t need to be in your office to animate explainer videos, write up product pages, or design a sweet brochure. You can do that in Crocs and sweatpants, from the comfort of your couch.
That goes for managing creatives and setting timelines, too.
Now that things are returning back to normal, it appears that creative directors have some choices to make when it comes to the future of their careers. Should they take a position back at the office?
An in-house career will put you on the payroll of just one company. You’ll probably be their one and only go-to project manager for all of their marketing collateral.
You’ll manage either in-house designers, copywriters, and web designers. Or you’ll source freelancers for individual projects. Whoever your creative team is, your focus is on one goal: your company.
There are pros and cons to being an internal employee.
Consistency: Because you’re working for one company, you’ll find that they have consistent needs. Sure, the workflow will fluctuate with the season (Black Friday, the holidays, etc.), but for the most part, your job is pretty steady.
Familiarity: When you do something long enough, it becomes second nature. After a few months at an established company, you’ll know the ins and outs of their brand. Their voice, their typography, their style, their colors, their social media passwords.
You’ll be able to draw their logo in your sleep and whistle their jingle at red lights.
Chill environment: When you’re the only creative director in the company, things tend to be a little bit more laid back. No one is competing for that next client, there aren’t as many dissenting voices in the room, and you’re working on the same types of projects month after month.
Flying solo: When you’re the only creative director at your company, you might find yourself being the only expert in the building. That can be both a nice thing, (no one nitpicking at you) or it can be a little daunting.
Even if you’re a creative director with many years of experience, it’s always nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. So, if being THE creative department or chief creative officer of a company is overwhelming, maybe try looking into freelancing.
Same Ol’, Same Ol’: The familiarity mentioned above can, unfortunately, be a double-edged sword. Being an in-house director will have you and your team working on the same projects, with the same descriptions, the same goals, and the same brand guidelines.
So, if variety is the spice of your life, you might get bored in an in-house director position. Our advice is to make sure it’s something that you love because you’re in for the long haul, buddy.
Very competitive: Landing an in-house role is a highly competitive process. Most creative directors are aiming for the same heights, and no matter how much experience or education you have, landing the right in-house position at a brand might take the wind out of your sails.
Living the freelance life
Creative Director for hire!
Being a freelancer means that you’re your own boss. Instead of being on the staff of a single company, you can bid for jobs pretty much anywhere. Let’s weigh the pros and cons to see if the freelance life is the life for you.
Freedom to choose your clients: When you’re your own boss, you get to make the rules. A client is difficult to work with? See ya later. Project look completely uninteresting and not at all in your wheelhouse? Pass. You choose what you work on and who you work for.
Flexible Schedule: Another great perk of freelance life is choosing your own hours. Do you do your best work in the middle of the night? Fly free, you glorious night owl. As long as you’re using your communication skills and keeping your team and your clients up to date, you can work when and for however long you want.
This is especially attractive for parents and those who want to pursue something else on the side. Freedom, baby. It’s yours.
It’s all on you: You’re your own boss, but sometimes that can be difficult. There isn’t anyone to help you handle that angry client or lean on for support. It’s all you, from communicating to delegating tasks, to making sure everything is turned in on time and to the client’s expectations.
You can make it work, but you need to have the consistency and self-discipline to get it done.
Inconsistent paychecks: While you do get to keep all of your paychecks, just remember that freelance work often fluctuates. There can be months when projects are coming in faster than you can handle. And then there can be months when you wonder if your email address has somehow been deactivated without your knowledge.
Budget carefully, make sure you have some padding in your bank account, and be prepared for the slow weeks.
No benefits: All of that money coming to you is also money that isn’t going toward health insurance, a 401k, sick days, and other perks that come with a W2 job.
Being a contract worker means that you are in charge of your own health insurance (and self-insurance can be pretty pricey), and any time taken off is time that you don’t get paid. If you need that safety net for yourself or your family, then you might want to rethink a freelance career.
Creative agency life
Being a Creative Director at creative agencies means that you are probably one of many project managers for a company that focuses solely on marketing. You’ll have several different clients and you may have a revolving door of creatives, but you’re on the payroll of a single agency.
Creativity: Working at a creative agency will expose you to clients from a variety of industries and verticals. You’ll get to work on projects that have big names, and will have the freedom to flex your creative muscles and come up with some amazingly creative ideas.
Benefits: If you’re a full-time employee with a creative agency, expect to receive full-time benefits like health insurance, 401k, and paid vacation days. Having someone else handle that for you really takes a load off.
The people: You know this already but it bears repeating: Creative people are just, like, the coolest.
At a creative agency, expect to be completely surrounded by those cool people, all the time. This is especially helpful when you need someone to bounce ideas off of or if you just really need someone to watch your post or have your back.
Long hours: Creative agencies are only successful when they can take on as many clients as possible. This leaves you with lots to do, a million creatives to check in with, and questions coming at you from all angles, like the most unappealing game of Pong ever.
Expect to burn some midnight oil to keep from getting behind.
Under pressure: Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. With so many different clients and so many projects flying at you at once, you’ll wonder how you’re able to keep your head on straight.
Creative agencies are fast-paced places and if you can’t keep up with multiple projects that all have different deadlines, you’re going to have some unhappy clients.
No credit: We all like to know when we’ve done a great job, right? It’s nice to see a credit with your name on it or get a little shoutout in a caption. It’s nice, but not likely to happen in a creative agency.
All of your hard work (and your creative team’s) is for someone else who probably won’t even remember your name fifteen minutes later, much less give you credit for your work. Who designed that last Pepsi ad you saw on Instagram? Exactly.
<div class="c-blog_comp-cta cc-component-2"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-wrap"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/6369519c2ccf5cbe678f6ba9_Current-Creative.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-img"></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-right cc-dark"><div class="c-blog_comp-content"><div class="c-text-wrapper cc-mb-32"><div class="c-title-4 cc-bold"><strong>Grow with a community that is exclusively inclusive!</strong></div></div><div class="c-text-wrapper"><div class="c-text-2">Get inspiration from creative directors and level up from emerging creative to Chief of Design by collaborating on projects.<br><br></div></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-wrapper"><a href="http://designity.com/creatives" target="_blank" class="c-button w-button"><strong>Discover Your Growth Path</strong></a></div></div></div>
The best of all three worlds.
So, what’s right for you and your lifestyle?
For the first time ever, you get to choose. Should you find an in-house career, or a place with a creative agency? Remember that, these days, it’s no longer necessary for you to be married to a desk in an office.
If the remote style works for you, why not consider working for Designity?
Designity brings all of the best parts of the in-house, freelance, and creative agency world together. Never worry about time with family or client-sourcing again.
If you’re tired of being chained down to a desk and you’re looking for a career that fits your lifestyle instead of the other way around, we’ve got the freedom you’ve been craving.
Ready to dive into a new creative journey?