Introduction to Creative Direction: Pitch Your "Big Idea" | Nancy Herrmann | Skillshare

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Introduction to Creative Direction: Pitch Your "Big Idea"

teacher avatar Nancy Herrmann, Creative Director and Packaging Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Project Assignment


    • 3.

      Defining a Creative Director


    • 4.

      Writing Your Creative Brief


    • 5.

      Developing Your Concept


    • 6.

      Creative Reviews


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Introduction to Creative Direction: Pitch Your “Big Idea”

Are you a designer, art director or copywriter who dreams of directing eye-catching creative campaigns, but don’t know how to get there? Creative organizations need leadership and vision, so if you’re ready to step up, this class is for you.

Join Nancy Herrmann, Creative Director at Stark Design, as she guides you through this introductory class. You’ll learn the tools to recognize and develop fundamental skills for becoming a Creative Director. In the time it takes to eat lunch at your desk, you’ll learn how to: write a creative brief; lead a team; project manage; generate creative concepts; edit and present your ideas.

While you don’t need specific skills in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign, this is an intermediate-level class. Students should have some experience with design, art direction or copywriting.

Also see: Kickstart Your Creativity: Introduction to Mood Boards

Meet Your Teacher

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Nancy Herrmann

Creative Director and Packaging Designer


Nancy Herrmann is a creative director, packaging designer and mood boarding enthusiast based in New York City. Leaning on two decades of industry experience, she teams up with leading beauty, fashion and lifestyle companies to reinvent their brand stories and design irresistible products. Her personal approach seeks to infuse design work with the same sense of adventure and daring that comes from a love of snowboarding, yacht racing, music, art and travel. At the same time, this spirit is grounded in formative work experiences at industry icons like Michael Kors, I.D. Magazine, Virgin Entertainment and L'Oreal.

In her current role at Stark Design, Nancy oversees branding, packaging and retail projects for a client roster that includes Vichy USA, L'Oreal Professionnel, Nuance Salm... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Nancy Herman, a creative director at Stark Design and Boutique Branding and Advertising Agency in New York City. Here I oversee a range of projects, from branding and packaging to retail design and advertising. Throughout my career, I've worked for a range of companies, including lifestyle and fashion brands like Michael Cores and Virgin Entertainment. My real passion is beauty brands, and I've worked for Loreal Paris V. C. U. S. A. I've also done projects for Salma Hayek, nuance and advertising and store design and Maybelline New York. And we've also do hospitality and restaurant work as well. I'm also move boarding Enthusiast, and I have another class on skill share called Kickstart Your Creativity. Introduction to mood boards. This class is introduction to creative direction. It will give you the tools to recognize and develop fundamental skills that you'll need is a creative director, as an introductory class will skin the surface of many concept, so if you have additional questions, please feel free to post them or ask colleagues or even read more articles. If your designer art director, even copywriter, you may dream of designing successful campaigns, but dont know how to get there creative organizations need leadership. Envision. So if you're ready to step up this classes for you in this intermediate level class, you'll learn how to write a creative brief, lead a team of talented creative manager project, generate creative concepts, edit and present your ideas. Why you don't need specific skills in photo shop illustrator in design, it is helpful if you have experience in graphic design, our direction or copyrighting. 2. Project Assignment: as creative director. Your assignment is to direct and present a branding or marketing pitch campaign for a travel or tourism client. You'll be creating a campaign for the destination of your choice. I'll be showing you examples from our Bermuda pitch, but you may prefer Cuba, Iceland or your favorite vacation spot. Your final submission will include a combination of concept copy, photography illustration or graphic design, but we'll be breaking it down into smaller bite sized chunks or deliver bols so you can pace your project. Along the way, you'll find more details on the assignment in the class project, and there were also be additional reference materials you can download. You may be a star designer, a wordsmith, but this project is designed to put you in the driver's seat. For this project, you'll be working with other people, so plan to work with at least one or preferably two other creatives. For an effective pitch, you want to consider someone who is not just a great talent but is also a team player and willing to take direction. Managing your team is critical to successful creative direction, so I encourage you to embrace it and have fun with it. 3. Defining a Creative Director: in this lesson. We're gonna try to pin down what defines a creative director, and I say try because creative directors hold many different responsibilities. Some work in small in house startups and others work at large multinational agencies. Consider everyone from Jenna Lyons, J. Crew, DD Bees, Bill Bernbach to Fabien Baron and John J. And if you don't know who they are, I encourage you to look them up. Creative directors are often credited with the big idea. They identifying communicative vision, overseeing a broad range of creative activities from copyrighting and design to strategy and client presentations. Sometimes they become the figurehead for a company like many fashion designers, but more often than not, they worked behind the scenes to bring life to a brand or campaign. More importantly, they grasped the whole picture and try to walk that delicate line between creativity and meeting the client's needs. There are a lot of great technicians in design, but is a creative director. You'll need to go beyond your technical abilities and develop strong leadership skills and efficient processes. Unlike more conventional jobs in accounting or law, the patch of creative director is not always a clear a clear one or an easy transition. While a general path looks like designer toe art director to creative director or even copywriter to copy chief to creative director, it's usually not a linear one. My own path has been far from straight. I started with a degree in fashion and worked for several note well known designers in public relations. Eventually, I went back to school for architecture, er and digital design. For the next 10 or 12 years, I did everything from editing and design magazine and creating websites to to designing stores and cosmetic packaging. When I landed it start design, I started as an associate creative director and worked my way up. Also, depending on the size and the needs of the company, there could be several intermediate steps. Such a senior art director, associate creative director and so on. Often indirect career past make for diverse and valuable experiences. So don't worry. If yours doesn't match anyone else's, you can make your own way. So here are a couple of helpful tents for developing yourself. Invest in your own growth, continually broaden your skills and perspectives to stand out in the crowd. The landscape is constantly fluctuating, and you'll often need to turn on a dime. A broad range of experiences helps you stay flexible, curious and thinking outside the box. Certainly your enrolling in this class and other skill share classes can help open new doors. Stay engaged. Brands don't exist in a vacuum, so stay engaged with popular culture beyond. Just scrolling through blog's read books. Watch films, listen to music. Go to the theater, art exhibits and festivals and think beyond your own tastes. Be confident. Learn to trust yourself and develop your ability to make decisions. Try, fail and continually adjust your approach with time and experience will make more of the right ones at the right time. Personally, I develop a lot of this from snowboarding and sailing. Facing potentially life threatening situations helps me trust myself when I need to put my neck on the line and finally build your team. Don't wait until your creative director to think about building your creative team. Start now developing relationships and managing people. Look into your network of creatives across a range of disciplines and skill sets step up in direct projects both large and small, inside and outside the office 4. Writing Your Creative Brief: Now we're going to take a look at one of the most important tools you'll use as a creative director. The creative, brief, first and foremost, a great creative brief is a tool to inspire your team and get them excited about solving your clients particular problem. Any marketing tool has a goal of influencing a change in behavior. The second function is to get on the same page. Is the client regarding goals? Deliver bols approval processes, timelines, etcetera? The creative brief is a written document that's a bridge between the brand strategy and the creative execution. Ah, client may give you one, but you'll be better off if you feel in the questions yourself. Other important reasons to write a creative brief. It builds consensus among team and with the client uncovers hidden truce and insights. It forces us to think from the audiences point of view versus what the client wants to say , and it provides criteria for evaluation. Throughout the review process, The brief focuses on the desired results, not on the design aesthetics. It's tempting to skip the brief when you're strapped for time, but believe me, you only pay for it in the long run. I provided a blank template in the assignment section To fill out your own brief, you'll have to do your own research to complete it. But in this pitch project, some items air not given, however, you can make them up if you want more structure or challenge. The key to a great brief is both clarity and brevity. In other words, you want to be direct. But in his few words as possible at this stage, you don't want to prescribe design solutions only define the problem. The first section is brand profile and objectives. Here. You want to gather information on the company product or service. In this case, it's the destination. What are its strengths? Weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Describe the problem to solve. How is it currently being solved or communicated? Here, you can look at existing campaigns that the destination is done. Dig deep and go beyond the obvious answers. You also want to write a specific, attainable objective. It may start with. The objective of this campaign is for the audience to understand and believe that, and fill in the blank. The target audience who is the target audience? Identify one clearly defined in narrow target. What other concerns about vacation travel, lifestyle, etcetera. What do they think of the destination? Dig a little bit deeper and define them as people, not just in age and income bracket. Find at least one consumer insight like a true confession. Competitors who were the key competitors? What are they saying and what differentiates them from our client? The promise. What solutions are you offering? Keep it easy and say it in a single sentence. How will it benefit the audience or the customer? And what's the reason to believe? Support for promise? What are the features or details of the product, which delivers on the promise? The key messages? What will we say and how will we say it? What are the best vehicles to communicate the message and reach the intended audience? Will you use print ads or social media? Maybe billboards or TV ads or even trade shows also include the call to action. So what action do we want people to take for each type of message? Do we want them to visit a website like a Facebook page or etcetera measurements for success? Normally you would use the clients metrics, but In this case, you may want to have your own for your project. Success, for example, likes and comments in the project gallery and last but not least, the timing and parameters. You want to include funds functional specifications such as media sizes, but you also want to note approval, process timelines and budget. A few do's and don't don't use marketing speak and meaningless language. Write it as if a 10 year old was going to read it. You also don't want to rely on basic demographics. You really want to dig deeper to provide a well rounded picture of the target audience. Do keep it brief, but identify and include the most critical points to communicate So your team stays focused . And also remember to review it with your team. Discuss and let them ask questions and add to it. You may want to involve them in the research, but in the end, the creative director is responsible for the brief and its contents, so make sure you trust your own judgments here. I've also included a slight of the RFP, so you may run across our peas in your work, and they're also known as requests for proposals. It's used more often in an agency structure where clients are requesting proposals and bids to win an account against other firms. They tend to be very formal and extremely detailed. In any case, I still recommend that you create your own brief toe, uncover real insights. Now you're ready to submit. Deliver verbal one and uploaded to the project gallery. You want toe, identify your creative team, and you also want to complete your brief and upload that as well. 5. Developing Your Concept: Now that you've written your creative brief, let's dive into the concept development you'll also hurt here. This referred to as the big idea. A marketing or advertising concept is a briefly stated or clear idea around which a campaign can be created. Here are two of our concepts for our Bermuda pitch so you can see here that there's some research on the marketplace and we've come up with a preliminary idea of travel less and play more. A great concept is a reflection of your clients. Unique brand distilled into words and images. Ideally, it can't be mistaken for any other brand. It's clever and memorable and evokes a strong emotion. It's driven from the audiences perspective and relevant to them. So how do you create a concept for a campaign? First, write down the most obvious concept, then throw it away. It's likely to be tired and boring. Then write down all the most obvious benefits and next, all the ideas associated with the benefits. Write down all your insights about the target audience and the marketplace, then start brainstorming from there. What are some appropriate positive or attention getting visuals that you can think of and then edit, edit, Edit your ideas over and over. It's often said that a confused buyer doesn't buy. So remember that the best concepts are clear and simple, refine and write. One concept at this point is a great time to upload deliverable to to the project gallery, which is one concept summary. Once you've done that, you want to move on to the next step, which is creating concept sketches, doing graphic design layouts and writing some advertising copy, and you'll want to brief your team on what the next delivery bles are and the timelines. 6. Creative Reviews: as you move through the creative process, you want to schedule creative reviews with your team. 2 to 3 should be sufficient for this pitch process. I recommend that you schedule them in advance and manage your time with a specific deadline in mind. Bring together all your concept sketches, advertising or branding copy, um, illustrations, photography and even rough layouts. Let your team present their ideas and then ask questions as to how and why they arrived at their solutions in reviewing the team. Creative, you want to ask yourself, Does it tie back to the creative brief? Does it evoke a strong emotion? Does it make you sweat or squeal with excitement? If you don't get pumped, how do you think it will land for your audience? Is it simple and direct? Think about some successful campaigns like Got Milk and Nike's Just Do It. Does it encourage a behavior and move people to action? Does it highlight the clients unique brand promise if a similar brand could claim the same ad than go back to the drawing board. So here's some rough sketches that we did for the Bermuda campaign, and you can see that everything is very, very rough copy and the idea, and here's another iteration of it. Here's it full getting fully developed and then another execution on it. Now you want to upload, Deliver Verbal three to the Project gallery, and this should include your rough concept sketches, any branding or marketing copy, as well as sample photography illustrations and graphic design layouts. At this point, you'll rinse and repeat the review process a couple of times until you have a solid concept and execution. Continue to edit your ideas down and give your team constructive feedback. Certainly, you're encouraged to share your work throughout the project. It's a valuable way of getting feedback from your colleagues, however. Is creative director, you'll make the final decision and submit one pitch campaign. Once you're done refining your campaign, you want to upload the final pitch to the Project gallery, and here's a version of one of our executions for the Bermuda pitch. Then go out and enjoy your successful completion with your team 7. Final Thoughts: So we come to the end of the course, and I'd like to recap a few key points As a creative director, it's your job to continually develop yourself in your team. This is a great time to reflect on your own performance and skills and adjust your approach to future projects. A creative reef can be your most important tool to inspire your team and stay on target. Develop concepts that are clear and simple. Make sure to think from the audiences point of view and focus on what's important to them. Use your creative reviews to map the big idea back. Teoh the brief and remember that a good leader always takes responsibility for the outcome and shares the credit generously. Now that you've got the basics down, I hope you won't be shy about rolling up your sleeves the next time a juicy project comes into the office and I really look forward to seeing your pitch campaigns in the Project gallery. I hope you found this class valuable and that it will help your portfolio and move you forward in the next step in your career. Thank you