For brands to have an impact, marketing ideas need to make it out of the strategy meeting and into the real world. Fortunately, there are whole teams of people dedicated to creating the marketing collateral and other content for customers to enjoy.
But when you send something “to creative,” who are you sending it to exactly? In this article, we’ll go over some of the most important roles on creative teams, and how they shape a brand’s public image.
What’s a creative team?
In the marketing and advertising sector, creative teams are responsible for producing inspired, visually appealing content that serves a broader marketing strategy. They consciously shape a brand’s look, feel and voice to appeal to their target audience and stand out from competitors.
Typically associated with agencies, creative teams can also be found in-house at large companies. Some brands split their creative work, relying on in-house contributors for a deeper understanding of the brand, and agencies for a fresh perspective and new ideas.
Who’s on a creative team?
Creative teams bring together ideas and expertise from different areas, like design and copywriting. Large creative teams usually have a specialist (or several) in each area. On small creative teams, a handful of generalists usually cover multiple roles.
Here are some of the most common roles you’ll find on a creative team.
A creative director leads a creative team. They are responsible for shaping the overall direction of the team’s work, providing a creative vision, giving constructive feedback and ensuring the team’s output serves the brand’s marketing strategy. Creative directors also act as a liaison between the creative team and project stakeholders.
Being successful as a creative director requires artistic vision, but also strong leadership and communication skills.
Graphic designers are responsible for the visual aspects of a creative team’s work. They use color, imagery, font and layout to amplify a brand’s message in a visually appealing way. Graphic designers’ work requires creative expression, while also ensuring that the “look” of any design is consistent with the brand and its style.
Graphic designers specialize in a particular area of graphic design (like print media or product packaging), or work as generalists on many different types of collateral.
For most brands, a website is the most important piece of marketing collateral, and many creative teams have dedicated web designers. Web designers use a combination of creative and technical skills to design websites.
Web designers must consider not only whether designs will be visually appealing and on-brand, but also how users will navigate through the site and how developers will implement their ideas.
Copywriters write the words used in marketing collateral and other creative content. Their job is to convey a brand or campaign’s message in a way that is clear, persuasive and true to a brand’s voice.
Copywriters adjust their writing style to different formats and audiences. Ad copywriting, for example, must be creative, short and memorable. For longer texts like blog posts and eBooks, structure and storytelling are more of a priority.
Video producers create promotional videos, customer success stories, video tutorials and other multimedia content. Video production requires a wide range of skills, including script writing, videography, audio engineering, graphic design and video editing.
On small creative teams, one person might handle all these tasks. For large-scale projects, a video producer will often supervise a production team that includes dedicated camera operators, animators and video editors.
Brands that only occasionally need custom photography typically work with freelance photographers. However brands that need custom photos every day often include an in-house photographer on their creative team.
On some creative teams, content strategy comes from the creative director or a company’s marketing directors. On others, it’s a dedicated role. Content strategists examine a brand’s marketing goals to determine what types of content a creative team should produce.
Content strategists may also be responsible for supervising content production, planning editorial calendars and publishing or distributing content.
Web developers build and maintain the websites. Using custom code and working in collaboration with web designers, they create a website’s layout and features. Developers also monitor and maintain websites to ensure a good user experience and keep them running smoothly.
Other creative team roles
The roles above cover the most essential functions on a creative team. But no two creative teams look alike. Some combine roles – or split them up. For example, many creative teams have multiple designers, each with different types of expertise.
On other teams, niche marketing necessitates speciality creative roles, like illustrator, animator or podcast producer.
No matter how they’re structured, creative teams are all about collaboration. They bring people with different creative skills together to turn marketing strategies from abstract ideas into tangible content.