What is Creative Direction and Why Does Your Brand Need it?
Creative direction can be the difference between a successful brand and one that never takes off.
Creative direction is a powerful tool, capable of helping you to connect with your audience on a much deeper level. But many business owners don't understand its value, or see it as something necessary for their brand's success.
One reason for this is because the question of what is creative direction is one capable of producing a plethora of answers. After all, creative direction combines design, strategy, technology, and art, so answers vary greatly depending on the area in which it will be applied to.
However, understanding and utilising creative direction can empower your brand development, help to connect with your audience on a deeper level, and boost brand awareness and value. All whilst keeping your creative team working in unity, and solidifying both your creative and strategic vision.
So what actually is creative direction? We’re glad you asked.
What is creative direction?
Creative direction is best defined as an area of brand development that primarily deals with the creative concepts that surround a brand. Part creative and part strategy, creative direction turns ideas into reality in the form of advertising campaigns, logos, and marketing collateral.
Creative agencies and designers, and web design companies sometimes struggle to define creative direction because it has such a broad scope. After all, creative direction uses the following elements to create deliverables:
- Art, referring to the visuals of the brand, including colour semiotics and any line drawings
- Design, referring to graphic design principles applied to the initial art concept
- Strategy, referring to how that design concept will be perceived by your audience and how your brand is perceived because of it.
So whether it’s to create a flyer, a new logo concept, interactive presentations, a new website development, a new campaign concept, an email design template, or just bringing an idea into the market, creative direction can be the missing core component needed to drive brand awareness across your project from conception to completion.
Why do brands need creative direction?
Every successful brand you can bring to mind has used creative direction. That’s what makes them instantly memorable, and sets them apart from their overlooked competitors.
Creative direction builds brands and connects them with their audiences by guiding, owning and nurturing concept creation and completion in a way that reinforces customer perception throughout their entire customer journey, and the brand’s own lifecycle.
Without having that winning concept supported by creative direction and its mix of both strategy and creativity, the visual presence and marketing activity of a brand will become inconsistent and subsequently, ineffective.
But it’s not just big brands who can benefit from creative direction. Big brands got to their memorable stage because they repeatedly took a strategic and thoughtful approach to their branding and creative concepts.
Brands of any size should utilise the thoughtful approach to branding that creative direction offers to begin to drive that brand awareness. Whether it’s just consistently using a colour to reinforce an idea to your audience (orange will ooze feelings of confidence and creativity, for example and you can find out more in our blog on colour semiotics), or coming up with a concise and memorable proposition, creative direction can work for any brand if it is used time and again to build creative momentum.
How to execute creative direction
Creative direction is usually led by a creative director because of the training and expertise needed to ensure its success in both the design and strategy areas.
However, to get started with thinking creatively and strategically about your brand concepts, initial questions to consider may be:
- Who are your customers?
Identifying both your desired target audience and your actual audience can help you to distinguish what types of people buy your products or services. This then enables you to design a creative concept that resonates more deeply with them and is synced with the active time of your most popular audience.
2. What do you want your customers' perception of your brand to be?
What do you want your brand to tell your customers? Are you innovative? Creative? Market disrupting? Nostalgic? Warm? When aligned with your strategy, your art and design can communicate this image to your customers.
3. What are your brand’s long-term aims?
Identifying your long term aims can help you to build a strategy capable of reaching your objectives and delivering results. Goals could be as simple as selling more products, or as complex as repositioning your brand.
What do creative direction services include?
As a branding agency, at Huddle, we’re familiar with using creative direction to empower brand awareness. Our team has the skills and experience to enable concepts to transform into strategic and powerful creations that are capable of enabling brands to achieve their goals.
Our approach has always been collaborative, which means that together our creative direction can devise a branding concept capable of achieving your brands objectives across your:
- Logo design
- Colour semiotics
- Graphic design
We don’t take on a project without deploying our creative direction skills, so no matter the size of your concept - whether marketing materials or a full website revamp, we’ll apply creative direction and strategic design in every step of your concept creation. Just take a look at our previous successes.
To sum up:
Often misunderstood and overlooked, creative direction is a key factor that should be implemented in every project to guarantee its success.
Creative direction can help to keep a team unified by defining a clear purpose for the project, can supply strategic brand direction throughout concept creation, and can solidify a creative vision to turn it into an effective reality.
Creative direction is applicable to anything: whether a brand refresh, a revamped logo design, or an overhauled website, creative direction will work for you in the animation, video, imagery or even music you choose to use.
It’s the sweet spot where ideation, planning, strategy and delivery of your creative and strategic vision meet. The use of a content marketing platform simplifies the process of all your new projects and facilitate communication between teams.
However, creative direction does often need to be led by those with experience in both design and strategy. So, if you’re looking for a truly creative partner to ensure that your next concept is driven by creative direction, Huddle can help elevate your project from a simple idea, into a brand defining experience. Use our free brand audit to gain professional insights into your brand and get started today.