10 Qualities You Need to Become a Successful and Effective Creative Director

After a long time working your way up, a creative director position can be a dream come true. You get to determine the creative direction of a project without having to do all the lifting yourself, without having to run the software, and without having to spend years studying 3D modeling or animation. 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.

The job is tougher than it sounds, but it can be vastly rewarding if approached from the right perspective. Here are 10 things you’ll need if you want to get into this line of work:

10 Qualities You Need to Become a Successful and Effective Creative Director1. Resilience

This is first and foremost: resilience. If you can’t take an angry client shouting in one ear while a frustrated designer shouts in the other, do something else 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 have to think about every detail of the “big picture.” You have to keep the project headed in one direction.

3. Imagination

This is pretty obvious. 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.

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 and that won’t get you any interesting gigs and clients.

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, or enough to fake it, so that you can pitch ideas in marketing meetings as well as you receive them.


Artisan Talent is a Digital, Marketing and Creative Staffing Firm placing talent in jobs perfectly matched with their skills all over the US.  For available jobs, to submit your resume, or learn more about working with Artisan Talent, contact us here.

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