On Hiring a Creative Director

I recently wrote an article on The Iron Yard’s blog about hiring a creative director. You can read the full story, complete with background, but here are a few highlights:

Nathan’s work on the brand was great, but when I interviewed him about this experience, several statements and perspectives caught my attention:

…so that The Iron Yard will have a visually stable identity system…

One sign of a mature designer is value of things that don’t often get the spotlight. A ‘visually stable identity system’ doesn’t sound that exciting, but is one of the most important components of a brand.

…I spend a lot of my time drawing and sketching.

I’m not an expert on design, but I’ve worked with and around designers long enough to have observed that, more often than not, creatives who begin by iterating with pen and paper tend to have a deeper approach to problem solving than those who immediately start pushing pixels in a software program.

…it definitely has set the stage for any future courses that come along.

The ability to solve an immediate problem is good, but finding solutions that solve future problems is invaluable. The fact that Nathan accounted for additional iconography entering the picture and building a system that could grow is expressive of a seasoned professional.

If you have a degree from…Yale University, that goes miles. People won’t even question it. This is the right moment in time to jump on that aspect of this company and make it as strong as possible and build it the right way.

Creating brand guidelines for a small, six-campus school is neat, but it’s not necessarily earth shattering. Seeing Nathan look at the equity that name-brand educational institutions had built up over long periods of time and incorporating that thought into The Iron Yard was inspiring.

Nathan took a small project incredibly seriously and had a vision for The Iron Yard brand that was deep and forward-thinking. By the time we’d wrapped up the brand guidelines project, I’d contracted him out for almost all of our design work and the thought of not working with him was painful.

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Practicing the art of bringing guns to a knife fight.

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