My Journey from Designer to Director of Marketing & Creative Strategy

A majestic hot air balloon soars under the stars of the Milky Way, over the desert - Mesquite Dunes of Death Valley National Park. Moonlight provides luminosity showing the patterns and shapes of the desert landscape.

image from Getty

By Kristin Baxter

I began my career in the creative industry just like many others: I studied design in college, worked hard to craft my concepting skills, developed an understanding of beautiful typography, and devoted myself to creating design solutions that thoroughly met the client’s needs.  

Early on, I worked in various design firms and agencies. I then spent over 8 years as Creative Director of my own design studio where I worked hand-in-hand with my client’s Marketing leaders to help them achieve their business goals. When my career landed me in the position of Creative Director for an in-house team, I continued to bring the same analytical approach to solving the Creative needs of my organization that I had developed running my own business.  I regularly emphasized to my senior leadership the need for solid strategy as the foundation for all creative projects.  Working in a non-profit, resources are always stretched and staffing multiple leadership roles is challenging.  This environment provided an opportunity for me to step up into the marketing leadership role, and I was promoted to Director of Marketing and Creative Strategy for the organization.

For me, the mental shift from viewing my role solely as a creative problem solver to someone who looks at the holistic marketing strategy wasn’t really much of a leap. Working directly with marketing professionals over the years provided the foundation which allowed me to take a step back from creative direction, examine a long-term strategy, and define metrics for success in relation to a comprehensive marketing plan.

I needed to embrace a new role a new role as Director of both Marketing and Creative, and that meant truly understanding multi-channel marketing strategies, deciphering relevant media approaches for our organization, and diving head-first into reviewing analytics to get the true picture of our current positioning and needs.  Digging through data on audience behaviors and product sales cycles isn’t nearly as exciting and fun for me as leading my creative team in developing concepts and visual executions for an event or other campaign. But, a good marketing strategy provides the fuel to develop creative solutions that lead to powerful results.   

Creative solutions and powerful results…  at the end of the day, Isn’t that what we all are really wanting?

If you want to learn more about the changing role of the designer, new opportunities to advance your career or grow your business or simply to recharge your creative juices you should be at HOW Design Live and you should consider purchasing a Big Ticket. if you’ve signed up for a 1- or 3-Day Pass, then you can upgrade to the Big Ticket. Find out more about the HOW Design Live registration options.  

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