Coined in the 1990s, the term creative director was sparked by the increased use of the term ‘branding’, which greyed the boundary between design and advertising, argues Adamson.
‘Everyone was more than a design director or art director. We were all much, much more “creative”,’ he says. ‘There comes a point when a title ends up meaning nothing – or worse, it becomes a means to position yourself politically among your peers.’
Adamson argues that every client now wants a creative director working on their job, which is resulting in ‘design studios with two creative directors doing the same job’.
‘It’s as meaningless as Marks & Spencer having two chief executives or a Michelin-starred restaurant with two head chefs working in the same kitchen at the same time on the same food, shouting the same orders at each other’.
Adamson may feel dubious about the ubiquity of his current job title, but his last one takes the prize for length – he remembers his title at Interbrand as ‘global executive creative and strategic director’.
Read Adamson’s piece in the upcoming edition of Design Week, out tomorrow.