True Story: I’m a Creative Director

Want to become a creative director? Click through for one woman's story of how she came to creatively direct a company who sent her a pair of free tights when she was a fashion blogger!

If you were a creative, artistic kid you were probably directed towards a few career paths: graphic designer, art teacher, or wedding photographer.

I bet you nobody even told you that you could become a Creative Director! Today, Aminta is telling us more about her career and what traits and skills you need to become a Creative Director.

Tell us a bit about where yourself! 

I’m 31 but inside I am an “old soul.” I was born and raised in Guatemala, left my country at 18, and decided to follow my heart wherever it took me.

So far I’ve lived in London, Mexico City, few different cities in Spain, traveled to Japan, Rome, Portugal. Since 2015 I have been living in Miami. I do what I love and I am lucky enough to have always been able to live off it – ranging from photography, blogging, acting, content creation, social media, art direction, and everything in between.

Your official title is ‘Creative Director’ – which sounds so cool! And I bet most of us don’t know that that actually means. In a job duty, resume-terms, what do you do?

I work for a smaller company, so I do a lot! I direct any visuals and communications going out the door to the final customer, printed or digital materials, and marketing and social media campaigns. I also oversee content creation and brand development in multichannel markets online and offline.

I do get involved in a lot more than that, too!  I also design new products, collaborate with our tech team improving our internal tools, and give feedback on designing our upcoming new website.

I even apply my creativity to the workspace inside our production warehouse to make everyone’s work easier and more efficient. My creative brain is always seeking for new problems to solve.

How is a Creative Director different than an art director? Or a project manager? Do companies usually have just one Creative Director? Or multiple?

I am an In-House Creative Director (CD), but in the case of  big advertising agencies they may have several Creative Directors.

The CD thinks of a concept and visualizes the project from the beginning to the end. They outline the phases and guide the team to make sure the results are achieved as expected. The CD normally works closely with the CEO to make sure that both are on the same page.

An Art Director is in charge of the execution of the whole plan. They make deadlines and goals are met and work closely with the rest of the team – web, graphic designers, and copywriters.

A Project Manager plans, organizes, and control in detail that execution.

In any of the positions above a sharp problem solving skill is required.

At We Love Colors, I work as Creative and Art Director. Sometimes I take care of the whole project from conceiving the idea to the final product delivered to the customer.

How did you get the job you have now?

Back in 2012, We Love Colors’  PR agency found me on a list of Top 100 Global Bloggers on Teen Vogue.  They sent me samples I immediately fell in love with!

I wore the samples they sent me almost every day. I did a photo shoot with them and sent them photos they could use in their PR, which they really liked.

I kept in touch with their team over the years. They even made me some custom colors as a gift once!  Then in 2014, I sent the founder a few creative direction ideas; I really loved the brand and had so many ideas for them. They liked my suggestions, and they invited me to come on board to help out!

Could you walk us through an average day at work? 

I arrive at the office around 8 am. From 8 am to about 11 am I check emails, social media insights, google analytics reports, and check in with our creative/social media team on their projects.

The direction after that depends on our focus for the day/week. On a day when we are putting together a specific email campaign, I could be in meetings discussing ideas, or I may be doing online research to on the specific targeted customer group we are planning the campaign for.

Another day we might be planning a video production or photo shoot. I meet with my team to organize everything we need in detail – which products and colors need to be photographed, set design, props, models,etc.

I also often have meetings with the president of the company to report progress and discuss future plans.

 Want to become a creative director? Click through for one woman's story of how she came to creatively direct a company who sent her a pair of free tights when she was a fashion blogger!

How do you stay inspired and fresh?

I am very visual person. I used to look online all the time for inspiration, but I don’t do that anymore. So many things look the same to me these days.  People are making content to a predefined filter or formula to get them more likes or higher on search results.

Now I get inspired the most from things around me.  I can go for long walks pick up a leaf off the ground and study it, stare at a tree and its colors, or lay in the grass and look at the clouds and how they move and change colors. I am particularly obsessed with sunsets. The inspiration comes from the small things.

In your opinion, what personality traits and professional skills does someone need to be a good creative director?

Creative problem solving and you have to be able to apply that to different areas.

When you’re working with a team of creatives you need to be a leader, have good communication skills, patience, and sometimes even be a therapist. A lot can happen when you are working with a team and sometimes things go wrong.  You need to stay calm and guide everyone.

Sometimes, you’ll have an idea for a project, but the execution doesn’t work as planned and you’ll need to think of alternative solutions on the spot.  A good Creative Director must master the art of working with your team’s abilities and weaknesses, meeting deadlines and requirements set given your particular situation.

What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in becoming a creative director?

Try to do a lot of personal creative projects.  Come up with an idea.  Plan it.  Get some creative people to help you.  Visualize the process from beginning to end.  You will quickly see it is not just about having a creative idea.  You will see how you will be limited by what time and resources you have, and the skills of the team you build.

You will start asking the right questions, “How can we get this to work or get the closest to our goal?” The more projects you do the more you will improve.  I would give this same advice to anyone that wants to do anything, just do it.  And keep doing it.  Your goal should be to improve always and execute with care and passion.

Such great advice, Aminta! Any other Creative Directors with insights to share? Do you have any questions for her?

P.S. Other creative career interviews: prop stylist, medical illustrator, and artist-in-residence.

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