Why I Don't Want To Be a Creative Director.
Let me preface this post by acknowledging that it may be an odd thing to want what most people would consider a demotion. I do not see it this way. Leading large teams to complete big, expensive campaigns is fun, but I can't help but feel that something is missing. Did you ever find yourself in a situation you knew was a good one, but you weren’t fully comfortable in? I feel as though I am being swept away, past what it is I truly love about this industry. Here I am in my nice office on the 3rd floor, and I find my mind wandering down to the design studio - wondering what they're working on, and wishing we could trade places. I am not done being a designer.
I am speaking of course about holding the title ‘Creative Director’. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds great and impressive enough, but to me, it feels too flashy. Like driving a Ferrari when all you need is a Subaru Outback. The Ferrari commands attention, is sophisticated in a way other cars are not, and is a high-performance vehicle. On the other hand, the Outback can carry a large amount of groceries and not get stuck in the snow. It is by no means ugly, but it won’t turn many heads while driving on a Saturday night.
The fundamental difference is function. One exists to impress, and one exists to do. The Ferrari’s ultimate purpose is for it’s driver to simply proclaim ownership of the car, and occasionally drive it extremely fast. Which is exhilarating, but in the end, less than useful. The Subaru offers almost no aesthetic value, (most people agree they are not beautiful), but affords tireless, dependable function. The Ferrari is the pinnacle of engineering, and the engine is a precise, tried and tested champion of modern mechanics. The Subaru is a marvel of utility, constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of human beings.
The point I am trying so desperately to make with this half-baked car metaphor is simple: In life, two ideas can be extremely similar in purpose, but wildly different in function. Sometimes, this thinking can serve to lessen the effectiveness of each. The Creative Director is the Ferrari, and the Designer is the Outback.
Where I would like to be is somewhere right in the middle. I don’t care about what my title is. All I want is to get back to the craft of design. The process of taking a complex mass of data and turning it into something beautiful and useful. Solving a problem, and being 100% satisfied with the solution. The roles and duties of a Creative Director are necessary and incredibly difficult, and I have enjoyed the challenge, but my heart simply lies elsewhere. I can do the work and have done a great job, but my eyes and mind are always wandering back to design.
What I am really trying to say, I guess, is that I am still a designer at heart, and I always will be. One day I may decide I’d like to Direct again, but for now I know I’m not done with being a designer. Being a designer means you get to sit down every day physically make stuff. I still want to do that every day, because that’s what I find truly exciting.
In conclusion, I don’t want to be a Creative Director any more. Not because I can’t, but because I’m not done being something else first.