I was enjoying a few fizzy apple pints the other evening as the sun settled over my local West12 watering hole.

In the company of some friends old and new, the inescapable topic of people’s jobs came into early conversational focus. Moaning and groaning could be heard from all four corners of our wooden, crisp-laden bench. I always keep quiet about what I do and when I do open up, it’s always with a wide-eyed openness, exuberance and a confidence that I am as lucky as I am to have the job I have. However, describing what it is that I do is often harder, and to the uninitiated the title of Creative Director can sound a bit, well let’s face it, wanky!

To those of you who need clarification on what the job entails and to save you from yawn-inducing detail Dear Reader, a good enough explanation exists on wikipedia.

It was only whilst thinking more about the role, that I was struck by a parallel that I thought good enough to share!

A Creative Director is like a Conductor – the musical kind rather than one that permits the flow of electrical current (although positive charge’s are vital in every creative department!).

Let’s investigate the similarities.

In building the very best creative department within an agency, a Creative Director’s prerequisite is to form a band of highly talented and skilled creative performers across a number of differing disciplines, from designers to digital artists, writers to photo retouchers. In the case of a Conductor such as André Previn, he or she invariably finds an orchestra filled with comparable talents, albeit this collective of notably gifted creative performers are all about artistry in music rather than the visual high notes of an agency’s output.

Conductor and Creative Director alike stand at the head of each ensemble, baton (or Sharpie) in hand, ready to preside over soulful symphonies and branded promotional arrangements on behalf of clients and composers for expectant audiences.

Whether standing on a podium or in the case of some Creative Directors sitting on oversized space-hoppers, both are highly-tuned and understand just when to ‘bring-in’ the all important photographers, percussionists, trumpeters and typographers to harmonise and blend with the fellow artisans and virtuosos.

Both orchestra and creative department players should know full well that at any given point their Creative Director or Conductor could ‘solo’ on any instrument within the philharmonic or crack out a barrel full of award-winning, till-ringing ideas – vision, leadership and deftness are fundamental to the roles after all.

So to all you other Creative Director’s who require a little more performance from your department, may I suggest getting a bit more Brahms and Liszt together!

John Fairley 12th August 2014


1 Comment

  1. Love you lots John Fairley x

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