I didn’t foresee that my whole little life was going to revolve around this object, this computer. That’s worth exploring to me, not simply being critical of it. If you’re going to have a movie about people my age in L.A., they’re going to have to be online a lot of the time or it’s not realistic. But for anything to happen, they have to stop being online. All of those little moments throughout the day when you’re like “What am I doing? Who am I?” I just check my e-mail, or I go online. That sort of mini-lost feeling isn’t new, but I’m curious what happens when you don’t really have to see it through, ever. There is always a distraction.
It is still a bit odd for me when I see the title of “Creative Director” on the labels of mail and packages that are delivered to my office desk. I won’t deny that so many years ago, sitting in graphic design class at the university, I dreamed of being a creative director. But now I look at that designation, that job title, and wonder.
What does a creative director creative director do anyway? It is too reductionistic to say that a creative director is the primary enforcer of consistant brand and mission of a company. The job is more nuanced. One professional states that the “job doesn’t come with operating instructions.”  That is absolutely true, at least, in my case. There’s more I could write about the path to a creative director or even the role of a creative director, but that may be for a different post.
What makes me wonder about the designation of job title of creative director is what it means. Is it my identity? Yes. No. Does it matter? It seems that the title is more of a way for other people to catalog and/or judge me, but it is not who I am as a person. Does that make sense?
Hugh Graham writes that “design is too often about the transitive and the temporary.” (Transitive—the word comes from the Latin and means “passing over”) Consider how quickly designers have to change and adapt to generational demographics.
Brand Noise offers this:
“According to Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow in a new book titled After the Baby Boomers the key differences between Gen Y and Baby Boomers include that the younger generation is ‘spending more time in school, remaining financially independent… and changing jobs more often.’” Link
Now consider the Baby Boomers (again from Brand Noise):
“They comprise nearly 24% of the population, have a buying power of $3 trillion, and include many of the country’s current business and political leaders. But marketers misunderstand—and inefficiently target—this country’s 78 million baby boomers.” Link
Designers, by the nature of their craft, are communication experts and should be able to articulate ideas, brands, and identity to various changing demographics successfully providing they are supplied with reliable research. Hugh Graham agrees that change is the new norm, but pushes beyond that and proposes that “there’s a new form of change on the horizon; we’re heading into a constrained environment where the designer’s artistry and craft will have to encourage what lasts, what matters, what sustains.” Link
Can design be both transitive and sustainable? Only time will tell.