Typical ID Design Director?

So I’ve been out of school for three years…have worked at two ID consultancies in that time…one of which I still work at. In both cases the # of employees have been small…with just a few designers, engineers…and usually one main “Design Director” calling the shots.

I’m not sure if its just my situations…but each design director seriously suffers from ADD, lack of commitment, patience, and sloppyness. I’m curious if these are natural traits that ALL directors display in one form or another?

Has this happened to you?
Concept presentation due in two weeks. Design director is in and out of the office during this time. Keeps saying “good good good”… Day before presentation to client…director totally transforms the direction of the project. Designers stand by their ideas…but must make sacrifices. In the end the client goes with the initial concept of the designers.

I do understand the design process is stressful…especially with time/money on the line…as well as lack of client feedback. But so much indecision translates into wasted effort and money within the consultancy.

The messed up part is I find myself becoming more and more like this. Indecision of concepts…apprehension, etc…which I hate!

I’m sure a everyone experiences the stress of the office…but is everyone’s Design Director like this? Does this only happen at small consultancies?

Not every design director is like that, not even in all small consultancies. I’ve had some good ones, some bad ones, and a couple of great ones.

My advice would be to learn what you can from this place and move on. Try to learn to sniff out the tell tale signs of a bad director at the interview stage so you can avoid it happening again if possible.

I’m in a similar situation and would follow yo’s advice to learn from the bad experiences and move on.

I’ve worked under two design directors at my current job and neither of them know what they are doing. They tell us about how much experience they have and how many clients they have but if you mention some design fundamental taught the first week of school they give you this confused look like you just spoke to them in a foreign language.

One of my directors actually told me that my design degree was a waste of time and that all that design school crap about “understanding the client” was useless. Actually I was told that a degree is an “anomoly”.

Thats about the time that I started looking for another job. God help me.

…peter principle…

…design director is an oxymoron…

Hmm… a bit confused here.

There’s chief of design ( head of the ID department)
There’s design manager ( not exactly what they do)
There’s project manager ( doesn’t have to be IDer, just a person who’s incharge of that particular project)

So of which of these are you guys talking about? Maybe it’s something else?

The terms are different at different places. Most design firms have a Design Director to head up the studio. In automotive companies they would be called studio chiefs.

A design manager typically deals with more of the day to day design leadership. Conflicts in the work place, are people coming in on time, is the work getting done on time, writting up anual reveiws. This allows the creative director to focus more on the creative direction for the whole team, if the team is big enough to have both of these positions.

What if there is a studio with 1 designer? should there be a design manager and design director.

Seems like too many chiefs and not enough indians…

Is there such thing as trying too hard to fit a model that should not really exist in a particular establishment. Sometimes people get titles in a particular organization because they complain to HR that there is no room to move up the ladder. As a reaction, HR gives them a fancy title and throws more cash at them so they dont leave.

“most people try to change the world…very few try to change themselves”

That sounds like my office.

I had a guy tell me that I shouldn’t leave because the company was so great and I would be able to advance “up the ladder” much faster than at a design firm. The problem is that there are only two positions in the company design office:

  1. Junior Designer(s)
  2. Creative Director

There is no such thing as senior designer cause there aren’t enough people to even warrant that position. So hmm if I’m gonna move up either the creative director has to go or I’m moving to the sales department.

That sounds familiar…haha.

One thing i used to do on a regular basis was read the heck out of human resources books. I lived next to a top notch, well known university that had an excellent human resources program. Anyway, the things that i would read in that library were amazing; hr goes by certain models of creativity research that were never even touched on in design school. There is a whole set of personality traits and pigeon holing that is done based on this research as well. I think, once a designer reads this info he/she will understand how they are viewed as a whole by the organization an begin to manipulate people to get what they want creatively and organizationally.

can you point to some of thoses reference you mentioned?

Thanks for the input guys…

I have to agree with Yo in that every company/situation is different as far as office heirarchy goes.

I guess my main point was directed towards the frustrations of dealing with a sloppy director/senior designer…or whoever might be above you. And wondering if all design directors make designers run through hoops…sometimes for no reason at all.

I realize sometimes you end up traveling down the wrong path for a concept direction…and understand its not the approach to take. But when you are led down that path over and over…it gets to be inefficient.

all that design work is only bamboozlement, intended to keep the workers in their places.

the first concept is the best one. Thats why good designers get the good money and projects. because professional status goes beyond getting paid, it also encompasses doing awesome stuff all of the time, everytime instantainiously.

some people undermine inspirationally conceived things with process over-dose ideals.

where did the fun go?
who sucked out the feeling?
where’s the beef?



before the design breif is communicated, the design should be acheived. otherwise the ramp-up is a waste.

chances are, deadlines and time to market bull-shit is what has killed our human race potential as industrial-oriented human beings.

that is the reason for scattering the concepts direction as the deadline gets closer.

most of design is busywork monkey biz anyway. Interesting, if you know the conversation the director is having with the sales manager. The flow of value data must be controlled to aviod insentive side-lineing. creativity isint where the numbers are. Check please - there wouldnt be any numbers without it. So creativity is expensive, big deal, so is sales training.

chances are, the best sales person and the best designer of the organization, with certian information (clients # needs/wants) could easily make a babey that could come back to slap the organization in the face with qualitys previously un-reached. Then again, that babey might just grow up and run away from home. or worse yet, get sent to its room in order to set an example.

when in the end, the product is something one can easily replicate by reviewing the experience in their mind. The magic cannot be patented.

perhapse this magic should be set free to inspire a conversation, based in a reality, free from progressive competitive do-right “cool”-scales.

if you are so busy checking all the “right way” data then how is it possible to enjoy the focus neccesary make things :stuck_out_tongue: nexcellent? :stuck_out_tongue:

and if you arent one of those jhonny on the spot, pants on fire people, dont worry its not about that either.

you need Tran-zen-dance