July 19, 2010 Off

The Creative Team

By in Design

When art directors and copywriters work as a team, it’s important that they work well together. But it’s hard to say where one’s role ends and the other’s begins. Of course advertising is an industry full of big egos, and creatives don’t usually appreciate their work being critiqued. As a copywriter, I want to be the one doing the writing. If an art director comes along and says “hey that line is alright, but how about if we said it this way instead?”, my gut reaction tells me that this person is just an art director and doesn’t know what they’re talking about. But if we can learn to silence the egotistical voices in our heads and listen to what our team members have to say, art directors and copywriters can work together quite well.

There are some pieces that a copywriter can easily write on his or her own, without much input from others. But for other projects, especially if they feel less knowledgeable about the material or if it’s for a new client, a brainstorming session can be really helpful. That way they can get a good handle on the direction and message of the writing, without the art director putting words in the copywriter’s mouth.

By brainstorming and talking together ahead of time, the art director can decide what the look and feel of the ad should be. This helps narrow down design options immensely, giving them an idea of the kind of images, typeface and layout that would work best. Even though the art director is the design expert, the copywriter should always take a look at the ad as it’s being created. Some copywriters are more visually inclined than others, and some will have an idea of the designs and images that would go best with the copy they’ve written.

As much as writers hate to have their writing criticized, I think it’s necessary. I would love for my writing to come out perfectly every single time, but that’s just not practical. Some days writing comes easier than others. Some days it’s a struggle, and other days it feels effortless. On those days where the writing isn’t flowing as it should, showing the first draft of copy to the art director is a must. While not everyone has a good sense of how to write well, most people have a good sense of what sounds funny or off and what sounds good.

Still, tensions can run high when someone who considers themselves to be a design expert is having their work criticized by a copywriter. We often feel threatened by the critique, as though we expect our work to be inherently flawless simply because that is where our talent lies. If we can stop thinking of ourselves as strictly copywriters and art directors and just start thinking of ourselves as creatives, the lines begin to blur. We stop feeling like our talents are at odds with each other and start thinking of how much talent we have combined. We start to truly work as a team, ignoring our damaged egos and instead focusing on creating the best possible ad that we can.

About: Ian:
Hi, I'm Ian T. I'm a York grad and a copywriter for Eden Advertising. I'm the master of procrastinating. I like to use parentheses (sometimes). I love the LCBO because wine makes me happy. I don't blog, I capture moments in time.

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