A recent conversation regarding a project at work has me thinking a lot about what a Creative Director’s role is in the interactive space. I found this article about it User Experience Designer vs. Creative Director | UX Booth and the comments are actually more informative than the article itself.
The article was written in 2009. Two years later, I think the topic is still one that hasn’t been fully explored and is still very relevant.
I tend to agree with some of the comments about how the role of “traditional” Creative Director and UX Designer are starting to blur (depending on the type of shop you’re working in), but at the same time I see how in the future there should be a separation between the two.
I keep trying to beat this into the minds of the traditional creatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the past six months: “At the end of the day if we make the experience for the user a good one, they will be happy. A happy end user will make for a happy client. A happy client will make for a happy agency.”
Some creatives struggle with this notion because the “big idea” doesn’t always translate well onto the web and they feel then the site design isn’t “creative” and won’t win awards. I would beg to differ! What we do as interactive designers and developers is create a space online where content is used as well as consumed. Our job is to make sure that content can be consumed quickly, easily and as expected. To me that is the “big idea” and to do it well, you have to be creative as hell as well as analytical and detailed-oriented.
Another mantra I’ve adopted recently: “We build things that are used while traditional creatives build things that are consumed.. there is a big difference.” As a Creative Director in the interactive space, you have to understand this and believe it in order to achieve success for your client, and you have to be able to communicate this to the client when moving a campaign to the web or creating one specifically for the web.
“Big ideas” don’t work the same way on the web as they might for TV or print advertising. Think about your favorite web sites. Do these sites have a campaign behind them? or is there one “big idea” that dominates the site? I bet your answer is NO. Think about that for a moment. It’s the content and how that content is executed that makes it a great site.
Now this isn’t to say that all sites can’t be cool and fun and creative, but there is a time and place for that and herein lies the real challenge. To know when to flex your creative muscle and to know when to make sure the user is happy.