Creative Feedback vs Creative Direction

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  • cannonball1978

    This is one thing I've noticed in my years as a creative person. There is an important problem that comes from not being able to distinguish between these two.

    Creative direction - you are directed to make these changes.

    Creative feedback - suggested improvements in the form of constructive feedback. To be taken as suggestions because it is based on the viewer's impression.

    The problem now is that spoken or written language tends to be cowardly and indirect in a typical office setting, making it nearly impossible to distinguish one from another. Hack creative direction often takes the form of suggested feedback that is implied to be actual marching orders (so that the issuer isn't as culpable if the idea backfires).

    This is a problem for juniors, who often come up with concepts and then assume any old idea gets to bed down into their project. Not having a clear delineation cultivates bad work.

    Anyone else have any experience with this subtlety?

  • freedom0

    "in my years as a creative person"

    All people or at least children are creative, but you have a job that requires more creativity than most.

    • while that is true, I didn't distinguish myself as an "other"cannonball1978
  • utopian0

    Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one but they think each others stink.

    • what if you put polo colone on it and people like the smell?yurimon
  • freedom0

    Most of the time people don't know what they want and feedback can be terrible ideas.

  • Continuity0

    'Anyone else have any experience with this subtlety?'

    Oooooh, yeah.

    I think the problem doesn't stem from hack CDs trying to cover their arses (most of the time).

    Rather, the problem is the staff being directed. On the one hand, they want clear direction and all of this, but on the other hand they get butthurt when someones tells them what to do.

    I had this experience in an agency in which I worked last year. I noticed my own ECD not being all that clear about what he wanted, his direction taking the shape of this nebulous 'feedback' approach. I didn't like it, so I decided to be direct and to the point with my own team, so that they clearly understood what I expected from them.

    It only took a couple of times for me to say, 'This isn't good. Please do it this, that and the other way so we can show it to the client' for me to be the bad guy. My job description was that I was to direct that team to crank out good work; when I did what was expected of me, the team got their noses out of joint and started complaining to my ECD because they didn't like being told what to do.

    Just can't win.

    • I've been told before that I work too fast, sigh...GeorgesIV
    • Haha. Too fast = 'you're coming in way too low under budget, and we can't bill for the big bucks'Continuity
    • exactly, I'm so sorry I want to finish my shit by 6pm and get the fuck home, nope gotta stay till 9 because we're creatives..GeorgesIV
    • try throwing a bit of praise in. Tell them you like it so far, but it's just not finishedProjectile
  • doesnotexist0

    i think it comes from lack of experience—whether it's the jr who can't take it or the lead who can't give it. sometimes other issues come into play, like when you're at an agency and there's a lot of ego and job descriptions aren't clearly defined.

  • Morning_star0

    A good brief is the answer. If the work ticks all the requirements of the brief the argument then essentially becomes one of subjectivity. In this situation the CD/Client is always right, that's their job. Precious creatives are worse than an ignorant client.

    • a good brief isn't necessary if you ask enough and good questionsdoesnotexist
    • The brief should have considered and answered those questions.Morning_star
    • in my experience a brief is never perfect that's what questions are fordoesnotexist
  • Projectile0

    I'm all for bluntness. I can't stand it when people suggest things as a maybe, and then are surprised when it's not done to the letter. Similarly, when they are just thinking aloud "what about maybe, I dunno, something more dramatic and like that other thing we did" okay, fine... suggest what you want, but then at the end of the conversation, make it clear what you want.

    This is why after a chat about where I'm at, I always end with "hang on before you go, a few points got lost. So what are the changes I'm doing, 1:that image needs to be the close up version, 2:the type needs to go here.. hmm but hang on that new image won't leave as much space for the type... blah blah"

    If I don't do this, I usually notice a bunch of new problems as they saunter away. And in these "conclusion chats" I usually find out that I was gonna spend loads of time on something they were jut thinking aloud about and aren't really sure they want.

    It's up to both parties to be ensure clarity. (but with juniors they can be a little on the nervous side)