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As the head of a creative team your position and experience requires a mix of creative, people and business skills – to mentor and inspire great creative work from every team member, managing the team dynamics and leading by example in energy, creativity and output; to work closely with your Bus Dev, Strategy and Ops partners to ensure the effectiveness of your team’s ideas and profitability of your accounts through good team time management and awareness of costs, and by employing a good balance of efficiency and creative space; and to constantly grow your understanding of marketing and communication to inform your decisions and enable you to engage with colleagues and clients.

Creative Directors

To share our team’s love for vibrant Africa and our mission to do authentic work that has the power to enrich lives by entertaining, educating and adding value to peoples’ lives, uplifting communities and contributing to environmental sustainability whilst growing our and our clients’ businesses.





a) Creation of great design concepts and work

This is what you trained for, what you are passionate about and your main reason for being here. The following are expectations of your role:

  • Be self-motivated to develop a true understanding of the brief and ask relevant questions.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the end users and understand as much about them as is practical and relevant to the brief.
  • Freely contribute ideas, styles and concepts that show your grasp of the requirement and discipline to ‘stay on track’ but also your creativity, your insights and experiences, fresh perspectives, originality and your design knowledge.
  • Co-creation – your work will in most cases be a collaborative effort, so you must collaborate with the business manager, strategist, writer, DTP artist and production team involved to mould the work into the best it can be. This requires your interest and flexibility throughout the process.
  • Review, sense check and reality check concepts with the Creative Directors of Design & Motion as required.
  • At the beginning of a design project consider your choices, discuss or explain your decisions to get buy-in to your directions, styles, elements, etc.
  • Produce meticulous, well thought out concepts and work that are well designed for the format or medium, visually impactful, engaging and that communicate well.
  • Design for multiple media platforms, understanding the user experience and technical requirements of each medium.
  • Design each piece of communication as part of the greater visual story of the brand which together will create a cohesive and value-adding user experience.
  • Adhere to the brief, strategy, any mandatories and the brand essence that may be agreed.
  • Explain thinking, discuss and present concepts and creative work to your creative director and other team members.
  • Since you are responsible for the overall creative output, read and work with your team’s copy as it is an equally significant part of the communication.

b) Expert use of design tools

  • Knowledge and expert use of relevant design programmes to efficiently produce exceptional design for presentation.
  • Technical understanding of the production methods and constraints on each job.
  • Actively keep up to date with latest design tools through tutorials, knowledge share sessions with other team members, self-learning or self-driven motivation for formal training.
  • Raise awareness of new technologies and global trends you find amongst your immediate team and the greater team.

c) Knowledge of design applications

As an Art designer you are expected to have knowledge of the media for which your design work will be created, to ensure the best quality experience for the end user, including the following:

  • Repro and various print methodologies.
  • Materials and substrates.
  • Packaging production methods and constraints.
  • Resource libraries.
  • The design requirements for multi-media, web, presentations and video.

d) Creative thought leadership

We want ideas to come from anyone. Whilst creativity is an innate talent that you luckily possess in greater proportions than most, it can be developed and stretched to greatness. We will support your efforts to be your best creatively and ask that you invest in this too, for the good of the agency and yourself.

  • Inspire yourself to create your best work consistently.
  • Be on the pulse of design trends.
  • Follow trends in design technology, media and marketing that may have an impact on your role and our work.
  • Explore new styles, experiment and practice new methodologies, and display your ability to implement different creative directions.
  • Display energy and excitement to find disruptive new ideas and innovations that will benefit our work and processes, our value to our clients and our growth as individuals and a team.
  • Network in the industry and design fraternity but always with professionalism and with the reputation and integrity of the agency in mind.
  • Share your opinions and learning with management and colleagues.


Our work is done to add value for our clients with ideas, communication strategies and creative solutions that impact positively on their businesses. This requires that we understand their business, customers, markets and trading environment, and can propose ideas that can be executed within their realities of budget, timing, etc. The more we can achieve this the greater our value is to them.

We are also in business to provide wealth and growth for our people, and to this end we need to work within our own realities of time, budget and beliefs.

We recognise the value of proactive thinking as a growth driver.

a) Project management

  • Understand the client’s business dynamics and the realities of the brief so we can deliver on time, on budget.
  • Appreciate the process and parameters set internally to ensure we can do a great job but also commit the right resources to each project or piece of work.
  • Prioritise work as agreed and help manage the logic of the job by collaborating with other project team members, agreeing on the stages and key dates and keeping your creative team focused on the tasks at each stage.
  • Know at any time what each of the team has to do, what time is allocated to do it, how far they have got, what approach and methodologies they are applying, and overseeing their progress.
  • Intervene timeously if any concerns on quality and timing crop up or are raised by the others on the project.
  • Understand the costs and profitability of the choices we make to ensure the health of the agency and the accounts you oversee creatively.
  • Budgetary responsibility (adherence to time/cost allocations).
  • Driving teams’ profitability by ensuring best use of time allocations and team capacity.
  • Flagging problems timeously and proactively to Creative Director.
  • Working closely with Management, Strategy and Operations heads and Bus Dev Director to ensure best outcomes.
  • Maximising my own efficiency.

b) Business Growth

  • Support the delivery of new business into the agency through leadership or involvement on pitch project work and delivery.
  • Identify areas of growth on existing business and actively pursue cross selling opportunities together with the Strategy and Bus Dev partners.
  • Be instrumental in exploring and facilitating proactive creative forums.


“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” –Peter Drucker

a) Creative inspiration

Our best outputs are the combined efforts of a team of people with different roles, experiences, views, perspectives, talents and skills. We believe that ideas can come from anywhere but that it takes experience and talent to guide the creative process to the best outcome effectively and within the parameters of the project to achieve the best result. As an Art Director we look to you to:

  • Inspire and guide your team’s activities and outputs whilst collaborating with the greater creative team.
  • Know your team – their personal and work lives, their interests and motivations, their personalities, their habits and critically their work strengths and weaknesses.
  • Inspire them to collaborate to generate great work, guiding rather than imposing direction.
  • Grow their knowledge and abilities, give them a variety of work, challenge and guide them to be better and advise and motivate them in difficult situations.
  • Understand the workload and fairly assign responsibilities and tasks and to their strengths to get the best results but also to grow each team member’s skills
  • Discuss their progress and share your ideas to make your team the best it can be with your senior manager..
  • Teach others what you know and encourage them to explore and share ideas, useful information and skills.
  • Fairly assign responsibilities and tasks to get the best results and grow each team member’s skills.
  • Freely collaborate with all internal skillsets – strategy, production, motion, bus dev, etc – to ensure efficiencies and best results.
  • Continually explore, identify and collaborate with outside sources of ideas and skill that will be of value to the agency.
  • Anticipate and discuss with management any concerns or opportunities regarding the people in your Pod.
  • Value feedback and adopt a proactive learning approach during critical review.

 b) Contribution to team unity and learning culture

  • Take accountability to communicate, professionally, efficiently and effectively
  • Proactive collaboration with the key people regarding progress and challenges you face
  • Actively maintain a healthy, co-operative, respectful relationship with team members
  • Adopt a willingness to learn, grow and welcome feedback
  • Share knowledge and encourage discussion
  • Be a self-starter and take the initiative to make things happen
  • Address concerns with other team members and management in a solution-oriented manner
  • Align with the business values and strive for the vision set out: be a “point of light”
  • Share successes with the agency.

c) Manage the client relationship and focus on their customer experience of us

As part of a team that does work for our clients your aim is to do your best work but also to make the client happy with the agency. This can be achieved if we understand their business, their objectives and their expectations. We must, with the help of the bus dev team, understand them and see the agency through their eyes. You can do this by:

  • Take a personal interest in making what you do a success, as measured by our customers’ standards.
  • Show genuine interest and take the time to truly understand our clients’ business, their industry and trade, and the metrics that affect their success.
  • ‘Crack’ concepts and work by balancing attention to detail and commitment to understanding with an incredibly efficient customer experience ethic.
  • Be passionate about satisfying and delighting every client and exceeding their expectations.
  • Be ‘on the ball’ with quick response service to internal and external customers.
  • Contribute to building lasting relationships with all our customers based on trust, integrity and reliability.

d) Presenting to Clients:

Internally our ability to communicate well with colleagues is critical to our ability to do great work and complete it efficiently. Presentation skill, whether to our team mates, a larger internal audience, or to clients is a great asset and adds to your personal skillset and value to the business.

  • Great spoken and writing skills in all correspondence.
  • Present your work with real understanding and pride – there is no gap between the creative, strategy and client service teams and our client should see it in every aspect of the work

C2C commensurate with experience.

If this is you, send your motivation, CV and porti link to craig@whalley.co.za

About the Author craigrafferty

Creative Director for the Whalley Collective Durban

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