My Job Title

  • Posted in: Career
  • On: 21 January 2021

For years I have been wrestling with my job title. There has been no clear blueprint for me, I have adapted to the industry, usually ahead of where standards have been defined.

Let me explain. When I left more of the advertising world, I focussed on digital product design. Design Director was barely even discussed and design lead was not even considered as it translated into a level of seniority beneath me. I settled on remaining a Creative Director, which brought with it its own challenges within the corporate world.

After lots of back and forth, when defining my role, where I was the most senior person on the 100+ design team I built, all sorts of options were thrown my way. They refused Chief Design Officer, I was told there is only one chief, who was the CEO. So I got them to sign off on Executive Creative Director given that I had a team of Creative Directors reported to me.

While in a designer’s career, this all makes perfect sense, in the product design world, this role might be seen differently. It should possibly be the Design Director. But I avoided that as some traditional agency roles had design directors who reported into Creative Directors. Agency structures still seemed important as we had working relationships with traditional and digital ad agencies. We also did more than design, I was influential over more than that and even our own internal marketing team respected traditional agency structures more than design, which they treated like a DTP department only there to execute their bad ideas.

Head of Design is another term used, but it feels too, head of creative/department, which in agencies is a junior role to Associate Creative Director. While I would accept a Head of Design role, because it’s becoming more common, it sounds a lot more of a managerial role, which is only a small part of how I contribute to a design team.

Theres one other thing, I’m an executive, for whatever that means. Traditional senior Creative Directors, who run the department are usually Executive Creative Directors (ECD) or Chief Creative Officers (CCO). But given I am design focussed, I prefer Executive Design Director (EDD) or Chief Design Officer (CDO). Jony Ive, former CDO of Apple had this title, while I have not made my way to Apple, yet. I do still believe in my ponds, it’s fitting.

Given where I have focussed my efforts and the responsibilities placed on me, the ideal would be, Chief Design Officer – failing that Executive Design Director is more appropriate.