by Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd

Whether you have hired an agency, or are working with an in-house department, there are ways to get the best work from your creative team.

You have expectations of getting ideas brought to life for the betterment and profitability of the product, and your creative team wants to unleash their power on your product to make it worthy of their portfolio and bragging rights. It should be a win-win thing, right?

Yet how many times have I spoke with a business owner or product manager who felt like their previous creative team just didn’t produce their best work?

Over the years I have noticed that the best work is usually not produced for one glaring reason: The process broke down.

Maybe the creative team didn’t communicate any kind of process at all, maybe the client didn’t abide by the process, or maybe it was a “make it up as we go” thing.

The common thread in any scenario is that the process was broken, and so it’s the elements of the creation process I will be tackling over the next 5 posts.

How This Benefits You

Ok, ok… enough about us, the creatives. You’re the one paying the invoices, so let’s get on with how reading the next 5 posts is going to benefit you.

Just as you want to get the most out of anything else you invest in, this is no different.

Yet I’m willing to assume that you can easily wrap your mind around how to get the most out of energy efficiency in your office building, or an office printer that doesn’t waste ink, or even a CPA that offers tax prep services too.

However, when it comes to managing a team of professional creatives, there are few prior experiences that can prepare you to get the best work from them.

Over the next 5 posts, I am going to share what I know to be true about getting the best work from creative teams so that you can get the best possible ROI.

Where I Am Coming From

I want to preface everything by sharing my favorite quote about my profession. It comes from Walter Gropious, founder of the Bauhaus school of design in the early 1900s. Gropious said, “Art is self-expression; Design is problem-solving.”

Did you catch the distinction?

As a professional creative, I am not an artist.

My team and I do not create “art” for our clients.

Art is what we do on our own time to keep us creatively sharp, our self-expression. It’s the music we write and perform, the photographs we take, the paintings we paint, the poetry we write, and so on. That is art.

Design is where we set out to solve a problem. The product isn’t selling. The product is new and needs a brand identity. The service needs a better website. The product needs to tell a story with video. That is systematic problem-solving, aka, design. We solve the challenges by design.

We create by a process of design.

All of this is shared so that you know where I am coming from as a professional creator, agency owner, and creative director.

I hope you will gain a lot of helpful tips to put into action from this series.