Creative Direction, more specifically the design portion of the job, is often seen as this luxurious job, where an intern brings you a cappuccino, while you sketch out comps for a million dollar logo project. I often hear from friends and acquaintances how lucky I am to “just have to design all day”. They’re right. I am lucky, but my job is so much more than sipping coffee and drawing for eight hours a day.

Design is a chance to give back; a way to communicate, for your client, what they need to convey in the marketplace. Design is a chance to connect people together online and off, and before you can visually communicate to the world, you must first listen.

Many people in my profession (and really many professions) miss this all-too-important step! It’s easy to assume that one client is like another you’ve worked with in the past, whether it be because they are in the same industry or they have similar needs. When that assumption is made, it can lead to a sense of familiarity and the chance to get to know, understand, and listen to the client, is lost.

Learn about each and every client. Absorb their story, get a sense of their passion, sensibilities, and needs, because after all, they are the experts of their business. THEN go “design” your little heart out. But only after you Listen.

-Amber Caldwell