what do successful creative directors really have in common?

10 Qualities of Successful Creative Directors

After a long time working your way up, a creative leadership position can be a dream come true. If you're the Creative Director you get to determine the creative direction of a project without having to do all the lifting yourself. On the other hand, you also have to deal with egos, deadlines, difficulties in communication, and keeping everyone happy when they don’t always agree.

Being a Creative Director, or in any creative leadership role, is tougher than it sounds, but it can be vastly rewarding if approached from the right perspective. Here are the 10 creative director skills you'll need to master if you want to be successful.

10 Traits of Successful Creative Directors

1. Resilience

This is first and foremost: be resilient. If you can’t take an angry client shouting in one ear while a frustrated designer shouts in the other, you might want to rethink what to do for a living. You’ve got to be able to handle the bruised egos of others and bounce back.

2. Focus

Every professional needs focus, but few need it as much as a Creative Director. They don’t have to think about the big picture. You will. You'll have to think about every detail of the “big picture.” You have to keep the project headed in one direction.

3. Imagination

A good Creative Director will keep someone else’s project on track, a great one can invent one from scratch.

4. Diplomacy

Be prepared to tell a Graphic Designer to throw it away and start all over – in the nicest way possible. The balance of discipline and morale is a delicate one that you will have to master.

5. Experience

Sadly, you won’t get this one until you’ve already experienced a long, productive career, including a few big disasters on real jobs.

6. Courage

Don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re afraid, you’ll come up with timid, dull work that nobody’s going to like.

7. Good Design Sense

Know why this one is ranked a little lower? Because honestly, it’s not that important. It’s good if you know what you’re doing, but a client will take the diplomat, the humanitarian, the focused professional and the deadline-meeter nine times out of ten over the delicate genius. But a passion for design is obviously a prerequisite.

8. Punctuality and Efficiency

Deadlines are king in this industry, but rush-jobs are career-killers.

9. An Outstanding Portfolio

More important than a resume is your body of work. You may only have a blog and some college newspapers at this point, but it’s a start. Document everything.

10. Market Knowledge

You’re going to need to know a little about your market, so that you can pitch ideas in marketing meetings as well as you receive them.

Ready for the Creative Director Role?

Want to continue your career development or at least ready to apply for creative jobs to amp up your portfolio? Let Artisan help! Check out our available jobs here, or submit your resume today.

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