What Makes a Great Creative Team?
Putting your finger on exactly what makes a great creative team can be surprisingly complex. Of course, creativity is a must, but having a team full of creatives with no standardized way of working or leadership can quickly lead to chaos.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at how digital agencies and businesses can harness the creativity of their teams. From creative team roles and responsibilities to the importance of a workflow, here’s everything you need to know to build a standout collection of creatives.
What is the Creative Workflow?
As is the case with any project, you’ll inevitably encounter plenty of speed bumps once the creative project kicks off. That’s why it’s so important to have a process in place that you can rely on.
A creative workflow standardizes the process of starting, developing, and approving any work. It enables your teams to be simultaneously creative and efficient, able to deliver successful projects on time and within budget, time and time again.
Many marketing agencies routinely use project management software for their creative teams to track and steer their work. Others use a more unwieldy system of emails, spreadsheets, meetings, and continual communication to keep their projects in check.
However you choose to keep track of your tasks, there are usually four phases involved in a typical creative workflow.
Phase 1: Definition and ideation
This phase is all about nailing down the overall goal of the project, including the target audience, budget, deliverables, and timeline. You should define roles and responsibilities for each team member, determine the metrics you’ll use to track your progress, and set clear milestones to make sure the project is delivered on time and within budget.
Phase 2: Creation
Now the real work starts. This part of the process is about creating what your client has asked for, whether it’s a product design, an ad campaign, or a new website. The steps involved in this part of the process include:
- Generating ideas through brainstorming and other collaborative techniques
- Creating prototype versions with the creative team
- Building a schedule to make the project successful
- Deciding on the tools you’ll use to make sure the project runs smoothly
Phase 3: Review and approval
The third phase of the creative workflow process is all about gathering feedback on what you’ve created. That means having it approved by internal stakeholders and the client. Feedback should be tracked to make sure the product reflects the brief created in the ideation phase, with changes made as necessary to perfect the final product.
Phase 4: Product/campaign launch
This is the final and most exciting phase of the creative workflow. The website, product, print materials, or ad campaign – whatever the finished product is – can be sent to the client along with digital files and the final invoices. You can keep your client satisfied by responding to any queries they have, as well as providing any necessary follow-up communication.
The Creative Team Structure
Now we have an idea of what the creative workflow looks like, we need to put a team together to deliver it. The first job is deciding how to structure that team.
A creative team will look different depending on the type of organization it’s in and the products or campaigns it produces. Primarily, there are three creative team structures that you can choose from.
1. Centralized creative teams
This type of creative team structure involves all of your creatives being in the same physical location, with decision-making abilities falling on one or a select number of individuals. This ensures a focused vision across all projects and well-defined roles within the team. However, it can also lead to silos that can hinder the creative process.
2. Cross-functional creative teams
In this structure, the creative team still has regular meetings but individuals are embedded in teams throughout the organization. This means that, instead of only working alongside other creatives, they operate within major business functions across the organization to get the job done. This type of structure can help to foster collaboration and increase trust between departments.
3. Flexible creative teams
These are creative teams that can be assembled according to the demands of the project. For example, if you have excellent designers but lack copywriters, this structure gives you the flexibility to bring in external resources to fill those gaps. That allows you to meet surges in production and take on larger products when they come in.
Creative Team Roles and Responsibilities
Creative teams bring together ideas and expertise from many different disciplines. In larger agencies or in-house teams, there tend to be specialists in each area. In smaller teams, it’s often the case that each individual covers multiple roles.
These are some of the most common roles and responsibilities within creative teams.
This is the person who leads the creative team. They shape the direction of the work, giving guidance and feedback to members of the team, and acting as a liaison between the creative team and the project’s stakeholders.
- Creative vision
- An interest in social and cultural trends
You’re most likely to have an art director on larger creative teams. They are responsible for defining the visual style of a product or campaign. That includes the look and feel of graphics for adverts, and the style of images for print publications and product packaging.
- Highly creative
- An excellent understanding of photography, typography, and printing techniques
- Leadership and interpersonal skills
They are responsible for the visual aspects of creative projects and create concepts based on the direction of the art director. They use colour, type, imagery, and formatting to get messages across and develop the overall layout for everything from brochures and advertisements to digital graphics and websites.
- Creative problem solving
- Visual ideation
- Design software
- Print design
A web designer must have a combination of both creative and technical skills to design websites for brands. Their focus is mainly on the front-end of the website to make them visually appealing, functional, and easy to use.
- Visual design
- User experience (UX) design
- Design software
- HTML and CSS coding
The copywriter writes the text that will appear across the campaign, everywhere from products and websites to promotional campaigns, adverts, and billboards. Their job is to create copy that is clear, persuasive, and sales-focused, while remaining true to the brand’s tone of voice.
- An eye for detail
Whether one or both of these roles are required will depend on the campaign and the size of the creative team. In smaller teams, one person might handle both of these tasks and take responsibility for everything from videography and audio engineering to producing custom photography.
- Creative problem solving
- An eye for detail, software
- An understanding of print and digital production
No two creative teams are alike, so while the above positions are essential for most projects, teams may also include illustrators, digital marketers, a social media manager, an image retoucher, and more.
What Makes a Great Creative Team?
Once you know the right structure, workflows, and roles and responsibilities for your creative teams, there are a few remaining puzzle pieces that will empower them to work efficiently and deliver great projects every time.
1. The right tools
Scoro’s project management software is an end-to-end solution that provides structure amid chaos that might otherwise reign in creative teams.
It allows you to oversee everything in one place, from project planning and creative workflows to time and task management, invoicing, and reports. Unlike rigid systems that aren’t built with creative teams in mind, Scoro’s solution is fully customizable, not only telling you how your team is spending their time but also whether it’s worth it. That makes it the only fully interlinked work management platform that enables teams to plan, manage, and sell their time most effectively.
2. The right environment
Inspiration can be difficult to come by when teams are divided, isolated, or restricted. That’s why creative teams need workspaces that inspire creativity. For example, you can transform a stuffy or unused conference room into a bright and flexible collaborative space or structure your desks differently to create a more open working environment.
It’s not just the physical environment that may need to change. Giving your team access to the best tools and software can provide a creative boost. The same can be said for giving staff the flexibility to work from home and access local information wherever they are. That lets them get creative whenever inspiration strikes.
3. The right leadership
The way creative teams are managed has a tremendous impact on the success of the team itself. The best leaders are humble and approachable, but also decisive and able to inspire others to create while keeping the team focused on milestones and goals.
Creative team leaders should focus on:
- Fostering a safe-to-fail environment where creativity can thrive
- Using team-based approaches to problem solving whenever possible
- Encouraging open communication between team members and management
Time to Get Creative!
Now you know what makes a great creative team, it’s time to let those creative juices flow. But before you do, take the time to optimize your creative workflow. Sign up for a free trial of Scoro’s project management software and turn your creativity into demonstrable results.